Five years ago it began as a seed of an idea that a group of City of Orange neighbors pondered at backyard gatherings and around their kitchen tables. How could they start a local farmers market? Where would they put it? How would it run?
Today, Orange Home Grown’s Saturday Farmers and Artisans Market has grown into a mainstay of weekend life in Old Towne Orange and a robust community nonprofit. Help celebrate that milestone on Saturday, May 7. The anniversary celebration will feature giveaways, cake, music and its Scholarship Awards Presentation. The market runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the historic Villa Park Orchards Packing House on Chapman University’s campus. The packing house is at 304 N. Cypress St. The scholarship presentation will be at 11 a.m.
“It feels incredible to hit this five-year milestone,” said Megan Penn, executive director of
Orange Home Grown. “It has been such a pleasure working with our OHG Board members, who have not only become friends but who have also become family. The passion and dedication the Orange community has shown to get this market off the ground has been incredible.”
Each Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the market comes to life at the packing house on the campus of Chapman University, which makes the site and restroom facilities available free to Orange Home Grown for the market. Early-bird shoppers are treated to first-come, first-served coffee and pastries from Sodexo, the University’s food service contractor.
Volunteers from throughout the community manage the logistics. In addition to locally grown fruits and vegetables, shoppers can find locally produced organic milk, meats, eggs, honey, olive oils and breads, as well as artisan crafts and gifts.
Thanks to community and University support and the work of its board, as well as its farmers and vendors, Penn said the organization has been able to give back to the community by providing scholarships to local students and launching a seed-lending program at Orange Public Library. The market has also made space and fundraising opportunities available to the Future Farmers of America (FFA) students from Orange High School.
In addition, the board now is planning to create a small education farm where it will host programs to help the community learn more about home vegetable gardening.
“We have only just begun and we can’t wait to see what this community, OHG, and our passionate volunteers can accomplish in the next five years,” Penn said.