400 Farmers Market started in October of 2012 with 12 vendors. Since then, the all-ages event has grown to include 30 vendors offering a diverse mix of produce from urban gardeners and traditional farmers, baked goods, jewelry, soap, paintings, sculptures and a lot more. The market also hosts performance artists, gallery exhibits and musicians. There’s even a bar with a full cocktail list, and early risers can throw back a Bloody Mary or mimosa.
Amongst a background of exposed brick and street art, market goers are encouraged to mingle with vendors. The last market featured sundries like homemade Nutella marshmallows, Ohio-shaped earrings, raw honey, mozzarella, slabs of soap, paintings, canned fruit, guitars, granola, organic chocolate and sourdough bread. You never know what you're going to find, and that's part of the fun of it.
“It's a very eclectic market,” said Kris Howell, organizer of Market Saturdays and General Manager of Strongwater Food and Spirits. “I love just seeing what happens. Last market, The STEAM Factory collaborated with two colorblind artists and presented about the construction of the eye while the artists painted. On the other side of the room, someone was selling ukuleles, and around the corner an artist was building furniture from scratch with nothing but hand tools. The room was filled with entrepreneurs who lugged their handmade wares from home through a snowstorm just to be there.”
Howell and the other market organizers are currently recruiting a board of directors to help manage operations. The board will represent a collaboration of 400 West Rich studio artists, Ohio State students and community-minded local organizations. The goal is to keep expanding the market by adding more farmers and arts-based activities.
Strongwater is located just down the hall from the market space. It recently began serving food and is working on a brunch menu incorporating produce from the market. This Sunday, Strongwater will host Winter Flea from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m.
“The market is welcoming and fun,” Howell said. “It's always changing and growing, so there's always a reason to come back.”
400 Farmers Market takes place on the second and fourth Saturday of each month from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Free on-street parking is available all around the building. For more information and to inquire about becoming a vendor, click here.