In the nearby town of Hartville, Ohio, there’s a mainstay – Hartville Marketplace and Flea Market – that I like to visit occasionally.

Mike Freeze

PHOTO BY JAVIN LEONARD

The marketplace started as a two-acre lot purchased by Sol Miller in late October 1939. With the lumber from his father’s farm, Miller built a structure to sell and auction off livestock. Soon after, an egg auction was added and rented space was offered to other local vendors.

As the auction grew, Miller’s wife opened a lunch stand on the building’s second floor for the weekly patrons. Passed onto Miller’s son, Howard, then his son-in-law, Marion Coblentz, the small, family owned business developed into a town staple: a 12-acre location with a 3-acre, climate-controlled building with more than 125 vendors plus restaurant and hardware store.

I first heard of Hartville Marketplace years ago when our next-door neighbor, “Smitty,” would knock on our back door to hand deliver a quart of Ohio maple syrup every month. He would rave about how convenient it was to have a group of farmstands that provided locally grown produce and delicious maple syrup.

It’s so much more than a commerce destination. It’s a hangout for many of the county’s residents; a place to shop, eat and meetup with your neighbors or visiting family. Even in the lasting chill of April, people still flock to the marketplace to get their weekly supply of ingredients.

You can’t help but to respect the idea of involving yourself in one of the oldest forms of exchange. The experience itself is worth more than the produce that you’ll leave with.

PHOTOS BY MICHAEL FREEZE 

In this issue, we celebrate the farmstands that thrive thanks to the April showers in Hartville, the southwest heat in Arizona and even the indoor environment in Colorado. You’ll be able to learn more about this in our farmstand issue starting on page 8. We’d love to hear your feedback.

Speaking of feedback, make sure to share your recipes with us on our Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/growingmagazine) and join in on the conversation on Twitter (@growingmagazine) and http://FarmingForumSite.com.

Until then, support your local farmstand!