It didn’t take much to convince Jim Yakley to take part in .
The Dover resident and owner of Big Papa’s Compost Tea saw the vendor opportunity on OhioProud.org, the Ohio Department of Agriculture's marketing website that promotes Ohio-grown foods and products, and decided to set up a stand from June through October. Why? It was free, and it would give his company and his products some great exposure, he said.
And, after the market’s final day Oct. 15, Yakley still is glad he did it.
Market organizers will start charging vendors to attend next year, but that still won’t make a difference in whether Yakley participates, he said.
“I would absolutely pay a fee to set up a stand there,” he said. “I've definitely had the best reception and sales from the people at the North Canton market for sure."
Dan Tullius of Tullius Designs organized the farmers market alongside Larry Owens, owner of , and . They hosted it from 8 a.m.-noon each Saturday from June 18 to Oct. 15.
Tullius said it’s necessary to charge the vendors next year so the market will have money for advertising, which will bring more vendors and more shoppers to the market. He's still unsure what the fee will be, although he says it will be competitive with other nearby markets.
He said the number of vendors ranged from nine to 16 and foot traffic was steady throughout the summer, but he suspects lack of produce early on turned some off from the market.
“It seemed like the first couple weeks there was a lot of interest in the market,” Tullius said. “We started before the produce was really available and I think a lot of people came looking for produce and they were disappointed and some of them didn’t come back.”
One vendor supplied much of the market’s produce, but the vendor didn’t arrive until around late July, Tullius said. He’s hoping to get more produce this coming year and help shoppers understand that although the market will start about the same time in the year, good produce won’t be available until later.
In addition to charging vendors, Tullius said the market also will see another change.
“We’re considering a different location for the market, someplace that’ll give us better visibility,” he said. “It’s not OK’d completely yet.”
Yakley agreed the market may have been difficult to spot for motorists traveling through downtown North Canton.
And while his product is still sold at and the Zoar Market, Yakley is looking forward to his next farmers market in North Canton so he can interact with shoppers and educate them about his compost tea.
“I've had three or four different women in the middle of the summer buy the tea just on a whim to put on their gardens and stuff around their house,” he said, adding the women all were in competition with their mothers in having the better garden and always came up short. “This is the first year their moms have come over and said, ‘Well, look at your garden.’"