Category Archives: markets

Hellwig Farm Market

I found a farm market run by a wonderful person just 10 minutes from my home in New Albany, OH: Hellwig Farm. As a member of Slow Food Columbus, I’m learning how to connect more directly to the food and farms that feeds us. This visit helped feed my mind and soul as well as my body.

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I had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer Bell Bowen at this year’s Fête en Blanc Columbus. She took a terrific photo of me at the event and I drove out to get a digital copy of that photo from her. I was surprised to find that her farm is as close to my home as my local Wal-Mart.

Jennifer is from a farming family and she is as charming and friendly as she is beautiful. A recent article in Edible Columbus provides a nice write-up on Jennifer and her work to provide free food for needy families in the area, so I won’t repeat that story here, but it’s heartwarming to know that there are people like Jennifer who care so much about her neighbors to help meet their needs with dignity. It’s wonderful that the proceeds from this year’s Fête help support these efforts.

We chatted while I copied Jennifer’s photos and she boxed up some produce. Then I started selecting various items for myself to take home, piling them on her counter. She gave me a  price for the lot. I don’t recall what the total was, but it was very little. Jennifer explained that she wasn’t looking to make a lot of money on her produce and that she doesn’t participate in the local farmers markets because she doesn’t want to undercut the prices of others there.

Only after I got home did I realize how much I had bought for so little money! And it was so healthy and delicious! Fresh sweet corn; young kale leaves (so tender that I just quickly stir-fried them like spinach); local honey made in New Albany (that should help ward off my hay fever allergy); raspberries (for only $2 for the pint!); mildly hot peppers; and heirloom tomatoes (so beautiful and delicious!). This load kept me eating fresh food for a week!

Two weeks later, I went back for more. I made a note of what I got this time: 6 ears of corn; 2 3/4 pounds of heirloom tomatoes; 1 1/2 pounds of beets; a 2 pound butternut squash; a 4 3/4 pound cabbage; 10 oz of fresh garlic. The cost: less than what I would have paid for the tomatoes alone at my local farmers market!

I’m a big supporter of the New Albany Farmers Market – it’s one of the best in central Ohio, with a wide variety of local offerings and friendly vendors. But while the season lasts, I’ll be heading out to Hellwig Farm first to see what Jennifer has to offer. And I’ll be eating very healthy for about the same price as supermarket food.

Hellwig Farm is open Wednesday to Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm until August 31st. “Friend” Hellwig Farm on Facebook to be informed of her limited opening hours after that.

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Knife Sharpener in New Albany

New Albany Farmers Market

Our little community of New Albany, Ohio has a wonderful farmers market every Thursday afternoon during the summer. I’ve gotten quite spoiled being able to get grass-fed beef, chicken feet, pork tongues, local wildflower honey, vegetables, corn, and wonderful peaches from local farmers and have been awaiting its season opening, June 27th. I was delighted to find a new truck there on Thursday: a knife and tool sharpener!

Knife-sharpener's truckAny chef will tell you how important it is to have really good, sharp knives. I have a Chef’s Choice Diamond Hone Electric Knife Sharpener, but I put it away a couple of years ago and haven’t taken the time to find it. Meanwhile, my knives have been losing their edge. But also, my decades-old curved Cuisinart chopping blades have never been sharpened and they are noticeably duller than they were.

So I popped my head into the open rear door of the sharpening truck and asked the woman there – Rebecca Lyon – if she could sharpen a curved Cuisinart chopping blade. I told her it was not removable from its plastic hub and had been told by a knife sharpening service I had called on the west side of Columbus that they couldn’t sharpen it. She said she might, so I drove the 3/4 mile home, picked up the 2 chopping blades I have, and drove them back to show her.

Belt sander, on the leftRebecca took one look and said she could sharpen them. Using a small vertical belt sander – one of several machines she had on counters around the inside of her truck – she delicately hand guided the curved blade edges along the sanding belt a few times on each blade. Then she reached into one of the many storage drawers in her truck, pulled out a finishing stone, and deburred the back edges. I was impressed. I asked how much I owed her and she said it would be $5 for the two blades. When I asked her why it was so little she replied that I had been her first customer of the day. I told her I had more knives to be sharpened and she said she’d be back at the New Albany Farmers Market the 4th Thursday of every month. I told her I’d see her next month.

Recalling how dull my cooking knives had gotten, I decided I could be late to our little neighborhood cocktail party and gathered up some of my main kitchen knives and took them back for sharpening, rather than suffering for another month with dull knives.

Rebecca sharpeningRebecca got right to work, using a dual-headed blade sharpening machine. She made several passes with each blade and tested the sharpness by cutting a paper towel that she had folded over several times and sprayed with water. She adjusted the speed and separation of the sharpening discs as she sharpened each blade.

My chef’s knife was in pretty bad shape, with some dings in the edge and a blunted tip, having been dropped on the floor. She sharpened up the tip with the belt sander and took several more passes with the sharpening machine to get it into shape.

It took about 15 minutes for her to sharpen the 4 knives. When Rebecca told me it would be $13, I complained “What??! That’s too little!” She was a little startled. I told her I’d be back again next month so she could take care of more of my knives.

Sharpened blades

So here are my sharpened blades. They work beautifully. Nicely honed blades have a special feel to them: As they cut, they are much more precisely controllable, and hence, much safer to use!

If you’re in the Columbus area, do yourself a favor and get your knives, scissors, and tools sharpened! The Sharpening on Site website has a schedule of the various farmers markets and other sites at which they’ll appear. I’ll see you next month, Rebecca!