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April 29, 1999

OSAP to Open Farmers' Market May 8

Media Contact: Betty Gabrielli



OBERLIN, OHIO--On Saturday, May 8, the Oberlin Sustainable Agriculture Project (OSAP) will open the fourth Oberlin Farmers' Market under distinctive blue and white striped canopies on South Main Street.

New features this season include recipe flyers; occasional performing-arts events for all ages, such as face-painting, theater, music, and poetry readings; provision of Oberlin Dollars to OSAP shareholders; food stamp acceptance; and subsidized low-income shares.

The Market will be located on a city lot formerly owned by the Clark Lumber Co., opposite McDonalds, on Route 58. Saturday hours will be from 9 a.m. until noon. Beginning in July, the Market will be open each Tuesday from 4 to 7 p.m. Sales on both days will continue weekly until late October.

"OSAP operates a community-supported agriculture farm in New Russia Township, providing an ecologically and economically sustainable alternative for Lorain County, which loses 2,500 acres of agricultural land yearly," says Ken Sloane, OSAP president and Oberlin city councilman.

"The Oberlin Farmers' Market is part of OSAP's involvement in the Lorain County Sustainable Agriculture Program in partnership with Oberlin College's Environmental Studies program, Ohio State University Extension and Second Harvest Food Bank. We are working to enable area residents to support a thriving local agricultural economy and reduce the loss of farmland to urban sprawl, through a visible and useful model for community farming."

Among the Oberlin Farmers' Market's first offerings will be organic lettuce, spinach, and turnip greens; goat cheese; radishes; seedlings for herbs and vegetables; asparagus and rhubarb; and free range eggs and roasting chickens. New and/or more unusual vegetables to be offered later will be New Zealand spinach, okra, dried beans, garlic and strawberries

The wide range of vegetables and fruits available to the general public as well as OSAP shareholders is grown on the Project's farm and certified as organic through the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association. Also on sale will be specialty food items such as herbs and cut flowers, plus produce from a number of area small-scale farmers.

Farm projections for 1999 are available from OSAP; however, prices and quantities will vary according to weather and market conditions.

Holders of OSAP shares, which are exchanged for produce, automatically receive a 20% discount on produce below regular market rates. Still available for purchase, the shares are used to help operate the farm and range in price from $135 for a small household to $400 for a large family. "This year we also are accepting food stamps and offering subsidized low-income shares at $45-$50 to expand low-income outreach activities," says Sloane

To make purchasing simpler, on May 8 shareholders will receive packets of scrip called Oberlin Dollars. The scrip will be redeemable only at the Market and must be used during the 1999 growing season. For more information, contact OSAP Treasurer Brad Masi at 440/775-8409 (Brad.Masi@oberlin.edu).

"Our fourth season is off to a good start," says OSAP grower Gerry Gross, who has developed a comprehensive program for organic disease and insect control that ensure greater production. "We expect a greater range and quality of produce at the Market this year, as we intensify production and extend the seasonal availability. Many crops are being planted in smaller amounts but over a longer period of time, such as tomatoes and sweet corn, to ensure a consistent supply of vegetables throughout the growing season. We should have more fresh vegetables both earlier in the spring and later in the fall. Also, last year we could not keep up with the demand for herbs and cut flowers, but we should have enough this year to satisfy every one."

"Based on buyers' 1998 preferences, production of many vegetables--such as onions, carrots, potatoes, lettuce, spinach, arugula, cauliflower, beans, broccoli, green peppers, eggplant and winter squash--have been increased. Sweet potatoes and cucumber production will equal last year's, while the output of radishes, watermelons, turnips and hot peppers will decrease."

Gross stresses that volunteers contribute greatly to keeping OSAP's operations thriving and healthy and are a vital part of its success. "Volunteering allows residents to pool their resources and talents with a growing community of residents, college and high school students, Master Gardeners and others concerned with the health of the food supply and the viability of local agriculture."


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