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Out & About in Cleveland

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Local Farmers Market Brings Family and Community Together

The reason you haven't heard much from us this week (July 1-6) is that there just wasn't much going on in the Cleveland area in terms of events we normally frequent, due to the 4th of July holiday. 

We did have an opportunity to march with Ohio State Senator Michael Skindell (Democrat-District 23) in the annual Lakewood 4th of July parade as we usually do, but due to last minute complications our plans fell through, which was a shame because Senator Skindell has always done all he can to make foreign-born people feel welcome in his district and in Ohio as a whole. Fortunately, however, although Senator Skindell was term-limited out in terms of serving in the Ohio Senate, he did win the primary in his area for Ohio State Representative (District 13), which means his wonderful service will continue and we will have more opportunities to march with him in parades.

Searching for something to do, we decided to accompany our good friend, Ms. Tracey Schveder, a health insurance broker, to the Painesville Farmers Market that takes place in Veterans Park on the Square (May 24 to October 11) where she tabled on Thursday, July 5. Due to a stormy weather report, there weren't as many vendors and customers as there normally are, but there was still a wide variety, so we decided it might be worthwhile to talk with a few of them.

First of all, we spoke to Mr. Terry Mowery, President of the Lake County Juvenile Diabetes Walk, which had an information table there. He wanted to let people know about activities his organization was planning and to take suggestions as to how it could perform its function even better. Helping him out was Mr. Tom Pescha of the Painesville Railroad Museum, who was there with his parrot Spanky, a favorite with everybody who frequented the Market, and perhaps even its mascot. 

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We learned the Painesville Farmers Market has been going on for a long time now and Wayman Farms and Rainbow Farms have consistently been present for perhaps 13-14 years offering excellent produce. 

Not participating for as long, but still there consistently for the past five or so years, was  Natural Excellence Farm & Gardens staffed by Ms. Rosemary Taipale. From just across the way, Mr. James Nemecek (Ms. Taipale's son) serenaded us via guitar with some beautiful compositions he mainly wrote himself.

Likewise, we talked with Ms. Catherine Chula, a socially-conscious raiser of livestock. She takes pride that her firm G.A.R. Horizons, LLC offers "pork, beef, and poultry products raised with care." Just a few short feet away was a table for a business called Spoiled Dog Boss, wherein Ms. Dawn Defrank sold dehydrated dog treats that humans have occasionally sampled and enjoyed.

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On a more crafts-oriented pathway, Ms. Elizabeth Vilka was selling soap she carefully made herself in small batches so she could guarantee it was high quality. Next to her was Ms. Sara Cervenka of Sara's Sweets and Treats, who made use of the maple trees on her property to create various candies and turned the endeavor into a small business she runs in addition to raising her young family. 

We bought a peach pie and some cookies from Abi's Sweets and Treats, which were baked by Ms. Abi Kurian, a young entrepreneur who soon will be entering the 7th grade. Miss Kurian explained to us how her grandmother taught her how to bake and her mother taught her how to run a business. Her sister Chloe is her assistant. All of the proceeds from the business go into Miss Kurian's college fund. 

Since we were going to a gathering Thursday night, we bought some banana bread from Mr. Darryl Bryant of Black Walnut Bakery, who explained to us that in addition to running a business for income, he likes the Painesville Farmers Market because he loves working with his fellow vendors, appreciates the client base that he has established there, and his participation makes him feel more connected with the community.

The above-mentioned viewpoints were echoed by all of the vendors with whom we spoke—all small business people.  

Ms. Vilka, for instance, considers her fellow vendors to be her companions and Ms. Taipale told us, "Your customers become your friends."

In addition, participating in a family-run business has been known to strengthen family bonds in both immigrant and in U.S. born families. We have observed this frequently with our clients at Margaret W. Wong and Associates, LLC.

Along these lines, Mr. Bryant grinned as he motioned at his two boys who were there helping him and said that he had a wonderful "quality control team."

 

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison

Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC

 

 

Aimee Jannsohn