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Celebrating community and culture

Owen County Farm & Craft Market returns for its 19th season


BY AMANDA ANDERSON MATTHEWS

Sweet Owen Contributor 


KAREN DENGLER, ABOVE, is just one of the Owen County Farm & Craft Market’s many vendors slated for the 2024 season, which kicks off at 10 a.m., Friday, May 10. Now in its 19th season, the market continues to adapt and thrive over time while maintaining its core mission of offering locals access to fresh produce while serving as a community hub.

Since its inception in 2003, the Owen County Farm & Craft Market has traversed several locations—from its beginnings at the former New Horizons Medical Center to the courthouse square and beyond, the market has maintained its core mission for over two decades: to offer locals access to fresh produce while serving as a community hub. 

The market’s roots trace back to the inaugural Leadership Owen County class. Focused on a community service initiative, the group opted to establish the market as a platform to highlight the bounty of local farmers and offer a space for area artisans to exhibit their creations. Now celebrating its 19th season, with a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic, the market persists, adapting and thriving over time.

In 2011, grants from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and Kentucky Farm Bureau enabled the market to erect a pavilion behind the Owen County Farm Bureau premises. The pavilion has become the market’s permanent home with essential amenities like electricity, water, and public restrooms. 

Judy Hetterman, the former Owen County Cooperative Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Science, highlights the pavilion as a significant milestone for the market. Additionally, securing grant funding in 2017 for the Double Dollars program stands out as another noteworthy achievement. This initiative empowers shoppers participating in WIC, SNAP, or other Senior Farmer’s Market Nutrition programs to double their vouchers, enhancing accessibility to fresh, locally sourced produce. 

Double Dollars isn’t the only way the market works to support the community. Each year, the market starts with the Judge/Executive’s Cookout, a partnership with the Owen County Drug Prevention Coalition. Kids Day, held once a month, encourages the participation of the county’s youngest residents in purchasing and eating fresh, local food. On Kids Day, the market gives out $2 to each child present to purchase items independently and offers activities like petting zoos, bouncy houses, and face painting.

Vital to the market’s makeup each week is the presence of food vendors such as Big Tricky’s Catering, Sisterly Touch, Fast Lane Foods, and BubbyQ, offering a respite from the day-to-day fare. 

Several of the market’s original members, including the Ayres family, Jim Bush, and Patty Petzinger, remain active participants to this day. Throughout the market’s journey, some farmers have departed due to various reasons, such as relocation or pursuing different paths. Despite the inevitable changes, which can at times be poignant, such as the loss of Ken Hanson of Hanson’s Baskets, the enduring presence of the market is a testament to the steadfast support of the community.

The anticipation among vendors is palpable as the Owen County Farm & Craft Market gears up for another season. 


Kelly Rodamer, Baked Provisions 

“I have great expectations for the upcoming market to provide Owen countians a way to support their local community. From fresh produce to homemade bread and handcrafted items, a lot of time and effort goes into each product and it’s a fantastic way to pump into the local economy.

“The goal of Baked Provisions is to provide a fresh, quality product that sparks joy. Each of our treats and loaves gets prayed over as we bake and again as we package. The community matters so much to us, and we want the very best for all who frequent the market.” 

Karen Dengler, Dengler Family Farm

“My family has owned farmland in Sweet Owen since the 1970s. We moved here permanently in 2023 and are happy to call Owenton our forever home. We want to help be part of this wonderful community and share our knowledge of herbs and the benefits of herbal and native plants through the products we make and sell.” 

April Swope, Astro Pantry

“My partner, Joshua Doane, and I, started our business in April 2023. We sell freeze-dried candy and snacks. We are new vendors for the Owen County Farm & Craft Market, joining in 2023. We love how close-knit all the vendors are at this market. It’s our favorite place to setup. It really is like family. I’m an Owen County native and love that I get to see all the familiar faces.”

Raye Scott, The Field Farm

“We are so excited to be attending the market this year as regular vendors of produce, soap, wooden kitchen utensils, artwork and more. The Field Farm is family-owned and operated and we’re going into our third year of existence. We are excited to meet customers, make friends, and provide the community with delicious locally-grown produce and handmade soap.”

Elijah Ayres, Ayres Family Orchard

“I’ve always enjoyed attending and working the market. It’s a great sense of community, not only among the vendors, but the customers as well. We have very high hopes for the market and hopefully growing it to attract more vendors. As for the orchard, we are planting more apple trees this spring, and we are expanding into the Christmas tree business! I also hope we can host more events like the trick-or-treat held in October, which is fun for everyone.” 

The 2024 season will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Friday, starting May 10 and continuing through Oct. 5. Market organizers are excited about the potential return of the Farm-to-Table Dinner. This event has previously served as a fundraiser to support initiatives like Kids Day and pavilion maintenance costs. Stay updated by following the market’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/owencountyfarmandcraftmarket.

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