Michelle White is the third market manager in the 12-year history of the Clintonville Farmers' Market.

Michelle White is the third market manager in the 12-year history of the Clintonville Farmers' Market. It started, back in 2003, as a result of its first manager, Lynne Genter, and Colonial Candy Shoppe owner Michelle Goodrich, whose store still sits in the middle of the market area.

In its first year, there were six markets and six "producers," as the vendors are called. Now they host 43 markets over Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings in the spring, summer and fall, and have around 65 producers bringing their locally grown produce and farm products. Uniquely, all of its producers have to grow or make anything they sell: There are no "middle men" at this market, so families can meet and talk with the actual farmers and bakers selling those wares. They also offer music performed by local bands and kids' craft activities at nearby Wholly Craft.

The market has become a popular and quintessential part of C'ville life.

"I only moved here a year ago," White said, "but Clintonville is kind of a grassroots place where people are already interested in sustainability and natural living. I think that made it a really fertile place, so to speak, to have the market."

Education is also a big part of the market's mission, White said. The organization, which obtained nonprofit, 501(c)(3) status three years ago, partners with the Clintonville Resource Center to provide annual $50 vouchers to lower-income senior citizens to spend at the market.

"Clintonville's (primary) zip code - 43214 - has the highest percentage of seniors in Franklin County," White said. "A lot of people don't realize that."

The market's producers also are able to accept coupons from WIC (the state's Women, Infants & Children nutrition program) and they also have partnered with five other local markets for the city-funded Veggie SNAPS program, which enables lower-income families to purchase fresh produce at a reduced cost.

As local residents know, things can get a bit crowded each market day. While many of the locals ride their bikes and park in the free bike corral set up at Baer Wheels bike shop (on the other side of North High Street from the market), White said those driving will find that the Columbus Mennonite Church (35 Oakland Park Ave.) generously opens up its parking lot to visitors.

-Jane Hawes