FRESH: Farm markets open

It’s 21 days and counting.

That means three weeks – give or take a day or two – before the area gets its first taste of local homegrown sweet corn.

At least that’s according to the Wittens Farm Market forecast.

“In about three weeks, we’ll get into corn and tomatoes,” said Justin Wajda, 23, who is in his fourth summer working for the local business besides attending West Liberty University near Wheeling. “That’s two big things for summer.”

Bonnie Offenberger, 61, and her husband, Kenneth, 62, of 385 County House Lane, stopped by Wittens’ Pike Street location to check for produce that’s not available to them locally, such as tomatoes.

“We are looking for tomatoes and such we haven’t gotten yet,” Bonnie said. “We like to stop here to get produce.”

Among the produce available are cantaloupe, strawberries, tomatoes and other items not in season yet, shipped from farms in Georgia and Florida.

Customers at Lane’s Farm Market and Orchard, Ohio 676 north of Marietta, are awaiting the first of July when the market will be able to sell blueberries, yellow plums and peaches, especially the farm’s favorite sour, or Morrency, cherries.

Owner Ted Layne said the Morrency cherries are the best for pies, while one of the 25 apple varieties grown in the orchard – the Lodi- and other early apples are good for sauce. Layne said the beginning of apple season would come in late August and early September.

One of the main varieties of peaches Lane grows is the Saturn, a white fruit and the first to ripen.

“It’s as sweet as it can be,” Lane said. “Once we pick those, we can’t keep them in the store.”

Elsa Fulmer, 60, and her husband, Philip, 62, of 210 Pebble Drive, also were looking for produce Wednesday that isn’t quite in season in southeastern Ohio at Wittens on Pike Street.

“We’re looking for Tennessee tomatoes because ones in Ohio aren’t ready yet,” Fulmer said. “The flowers are always beautiful.”

Stacy Family Farm, B.F. Goodrich Road, and Hensler’s Town & Country, 1020 Pike St., have had strawberries for a few days.

Hensler’s co-owner, Candy Hensler, said the market is featuring rhubarb in addition to local strawberries. She is co-owner of the market with her husband, Travis. She said the farm is a family operation and supplies most everything it sells.

“We try to sell all Ohio produce if we can,” she said.