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As Summer gives way to Fall our focus at the Farmers Market turns to Christmas Candy. Although not quite time yet to stock the shelves, we are busy getting it ordered. There are a few changes this year in what is available to us.

Two more small candy companies have gone out of business. While a couple of items can be replaced from elsewhere there is one that cannot be replaced. Earlier this year Necco Candy Co. closed up. How does this effect you? They are the ones that made the Clark bars, but for us this is where we got the mini peanut butter logs and without peanut butter logs you can’t have chocolate covered peanut butter logs either.

The company that made the Chocolate Opera Creams is gone too. We have found a replacement although we won’t know how they work out until we get them and can try them. Keeping our fingers crossed.

A few surprises in store as we try to fill in for the empty spots that were created by these closings. I’ll post that as we get closer. Normally Steve starts getting shelves stocked in Nov. with the goal to have all candies available and ready on the shelves by Thanksgiving. Until then enjoy Fall before we all get into the rush of the holidays! 

The tradition will continue at
The Farmers Market in Slate Mills

Farmers Market has a wide variety of Christmas Candy, over 50 different kinds, many kinds that aren’t found in other stores locally, especially not in any big box store.

Don’t Wait
Shop early in the season for the best selection!

We will be closed the following days thru the Holiday season
Closed Thanksgiving    Thursday      Nov. 22
Christmas Day              Tuesday         Dec 25
 New Year’s Day           Tuesday         Jan 1

Don’t forget Small Business Saturday Nov 24th
Support your local businesses!

Sundays 9:00AM – 9:00PM
Mon – Sat 5:30 AM- 9:00PM

Christmas Candy has been a family tradition at Farmers Market since the mid 60's. This was started by John Thomas and is being continued by Steve 50 years later, hopefully Joe will continue the tradition in the future. 

As the Christmas Candy season grew, John was able to start buying direct from the manufacturer, to this day I still buy direct whenever possible.  At one time we sold over 30,000 lbs. of candy in a season. There was a company out of Massachusetts that John would buy 56 different kinds of chocolate candy from. Borden’s bought that company in the 70’s and 2 years later it was closed up.  Most of the candy manufacturers we dealt with in the past have sold out to larger corporations. Unfortunately there is only a few of these small companies left here in Ohio.

Steve has many memories thru the years; he started out as a teen coming in to help his dad bag up the candy.  As he got old enough to drive, his dad would send him in the old truck to manufacturers that were here in Ohio and Indiana.  The peanut brittle is still handmade right here in Ohio.  To this day he still makes the trip to northern Ohio to go after the peanut brittle himself; it would never make it through shipping. Going to these places enabled him to watch many different kinds of candy being made. He watched as one company took delivery of chocolate from a chocolate maker, inside the box was a solid piece of chocolate that weighed 1000 lbs.  It was perfectly square and shiny.  A chocolate lovers dream!  The funniest thing he ever saw was at a manufacturer in Ft. Wayne, Ind.  As he walked through the factory to get his order, he passed an area with four women filling gift boxes; he noticed as they worked, two pieces went in the box the third in their mouth. I hope they didn’t work at that pace all day.  I might mention also that factory was the cleanest he’s ever seen. The worst candy he can ever remember them having was a Peanut Cluster with Peppermint filling (an accident on the company’s part).  His dad bought these from a company in Columbus that they always got great tasting clusters and gum drops from.  John paid 20 cents a lb. for them, they were so awful, and they ended up selling them 3 lbs. for $1.00 just to get rid of them.  We package everything ourselves with FDA approved bags made right here in Ross Co. and the tags are printed here in Chillicothe.  Many things have changed in the time that we've been selling Christmas Candy but I can say that we are still proud to offer some of the finest, freshest chocolates, and confections around.  I think we still have the great taste you remember; hopefully our Christmas Candy will bring back memories from years past.

Farmers Market in Slate Mills
The Thomas family
Steve & Maureen
Joe & Jenn

 

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Family owned & operated by John B. Thomas from 1964 until 1980, Steve & Maureen Thomas from 1981 to the present, and then Joe Thomas joined us in 2010.

John B. Thomas started selling plants at Farmer’s Market in 1968. His aim was to supply his usual customers with vegetable seeds, vegetable plants, and annual bedding flowers. At that time vegetable gardening was still a big source of produce for families. When he started he had limited space so he just lined the flats along the side of the store and on tables at the front of the store. Seeds, onions, and potatoes were sold inside the carry out. In the beginning he dealt with Hahn’s Greenhouse in Columbus on High Street to supply the plants.

About the mid 70’s John started getting plants from Wards Greenhouse in Hillsboro, OH. At one time John sold nursery stock for a while. This was something Steve vowed he would never do, too time consuming and a lot of maintenance. As the years went by Farmers Market was becoming known for its plants. We were very fortunate that John had found good growers to deal with. John started going to another greenhouse in Columbus to keep stocked.

In the spring of 1984 Steve had the pole barn built to house more of the plants in the spring and to be used as our sales building. By this time Steve was making daily trips, 6 days a week, to Columbus and Hillsboro to keep us stocked with plants. It was also about this time that Steve started bringing back new and different varieties of bedding plants and hanging baskets. It got so

from year to year that many customers would come in just to see what Steve had come up with that was different.

By the early 90’s, Maureen joined in the business working in the sales building. This enabled Steve to just concentrate on stocking. Steve got to where he was making 2 trips a day to three different greenhouses in Columbus, by this time Wards in Hillsboro had closed down. In the mid 90’s a covered outside area was added at the back of the pole barn. We were able to put cool weather plants outside making more room for other bedding plants in the pole barn.

In the end of spring in 2007, we learned that we would be losing two of our suppliers at the end of the season. After much thought we decided that if we were going to continue selling plants every year, we would need to do the growing ourselves. We hoped that all the years of Steve’s experience and knowledge gleaned from the various greenhouses through the years would be valuable assets. So we took a deep breath and jumped in feet first. By January of 2009 a 10,000 sq. ft. greenhouse had been built (small in size compared to many) and a new sales area was added.

The retail area has enabled us to have all the bulk seed, potatoes, onions, and gardening items all in one space. In addition we were able to add gardening tools, fertilizers, and pots to this area. The pole barn is still used but as a storage area, growing the ferns (they love the environment), incubating, growing, and planting plugs once the greenhouse is full.

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