RIO GRANDE — Raised Around Rio will open their 2021 season with an ambitious schedule that includes a Mother’s Day edition to the Wednesday evening farmer and artisan market.
The initial opening is Wednesday, May 5th from 4-7 p.m., but this year organizers decided to include a Mother’s Day event on May 9th. That day the market will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with not only vendors, but musical guests Jamie Merry, along with Kendra Ward and Bob Bence. The highlight of the day is the attendance of the Wicked Lobstah, a roaming food truck that specializes in, what else, Lobster.
Rio Mayor Matt Easter said Raised Around Rio has grown into something he never would have expected, but credits market director Jennifer Littlejohn for her efforts in bringing the vendors together.
“Jennifer and all the vendors have worked really hard to make the market successful,” Easter said. “They have built such a community for everyone, both in and out of our town.”
He is pleased the market is bringing awareness to the special skills of area farmers and artisans.
An enthusiastic Easter said, “It is amazing the number of products that are produced in the Rio Grande area. We have so many skilled artisans and farmers. Those skills will be lost if we don’t encourage them, and the market is a way of highlighting and supporting our local talent.”
Littlejohn said the market, now in it’s fifth year, has added new vendors, and everyone is very excited to begin the new season.
“Every year we have added more local vendors,” Littlejohn said. “Now we have vendors and artisans bringing everything from vegetables to jams and jellies, goat milk soap and lotions, jewelry, and all sorts of baked goods.”
She said some of the vendors are there each week, and others on a rotating basis.
“All the vendors are dedicated to the market,” said Littlejohn. “But most have families and sometime that takes precedent, but that also makes the market work. Each week we have a diverse group and wonderful local offerings, with over 40 vendors we always have a good market.”
Easter said that from what he has observed, “It is just a perfect looking market that runs like a well-oiled machine. I think they see themselves as one vendor, they help each other with set up, everyone is supportive of on another.”
Littlejohn agrees and said the market’s success is due to the incredible vendors and artisans that make up the market.
“This is such a such a great and diverse group of people,” she said. “They are all good at what they do, and it is so great to have everyone bring their wares to the Market.”
The lineup for May 5th, with more being added daily, includes: Foglesong and McPherson Family Farm flower and vegetable plants; baked goods from Glassburn Farms, BabyGirl Bakery, Curly’s Place and Kelton Kreations; Honey Bee Hollow Farm honey; H&M Homestead jams and jellies; Grant Farms with everything elderberry; home décor by Allison’s Wreaths, Little Red Barn, and T&T Treasures; textile creations include Little Bird Designs, Soulhouse, Second Wave Creations, Sew Adorable, T Browning Creations, and Nicole’s Custom Designs; hand crafted items by Second Wave Creations and Perilin Creations; Eljay Designs jewelry and Lea’s Lemonade to quench your thirst.
Littlejohn said most of the vendors will also be at the Mother’s Day event, and she and Easter are expecting a large turnout with the inclusion of the popular Wicked Lobstah.
“We encourage everyone to come to our special Mother’s Day event,” she said. “I think it is going to be a fund day, everyone should come out to enjoy the music, eat some lobster, drink lemonade, and support our local vendors.”
Raised Around Rio is located on State Route 325 in Rio Grande, Ohio. For more information visit their Facebook page: Raised Around Rio Farmers Market.
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Lorna Hart is a freelance writer for The Daily Sentinel.