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Grow Ohio Valley Opens Market On Main Street in Wheeling

Photo by Robert A. DeFrank Three-year-old Cora Koegler of Wheeling finds a pumpkin during the Saturday opening of Grow Ohio Valley’s new public market in Wheeling.

WHEELING — Local farmers had their harvest bounty on display and up for sale during Saturday’s grand opening of Grow Ohio Valley’s public market at 1401 Main St., in the middle of downtown Wheeling.

Grow Ohio Valley is a non-profit organization devoted to promoting agriculture and providing food access to people in need. It opened the food market and held a harvest festival in conjunction with the Wheeling Nailers’ first home game of the season. Eleanor Marshall, special projects director, was she hoping for a big showing of attendees.

“We’re roasting local pork for 2,000,” she said.

“I have been so excited,” Marshall said, adding that about 50 farmers from the tri-state area are bringing produce, dog treats, baked goods, preserves and other items. She said the turnout was encouraging.

“I’m so excited to see so many people out here enjoying local foods, celebrating a space for community health. I’m real excited,” she said.

Marshall said she hoped the future would see more local farmers selling their items in downtown Wheeling and more people shopping for natural food.

“It’s local food, natural and health food,” she said.

In a few weeks, she hopes to see a deli open on the site.

“We’re especially excited to have so many local farmers represented in our store,” she said, noting Cross Roads Farm, Ross Farm and Harlan Farms and others were present, with cheeses, meats and produce, as well as freshly-baked bread from the Center Bakery. “There’s tons of local farmers and vendors represented in the store, and that’s real exciting to us. We’re really grateful.

“It’s also been a community effort, so the city of Wheeling … has helped us get this amazing central space. We’ve had a committee working on the public market project for almost seven years now. We’re grateful for their persistence and excited for everybody,” she said.

They are open six days a week, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

The day included a yoga demonstration at noon, followed by live music from 1-7 p.m. Heritage Port was active with games, a puppet show, and pumpkin patch.

“We just wanted to see what it was like down here,” Alma Cross of Wheeling said. She and her husband, Clyde, enjoyed the food and treats.

“They have some very nice-looking produce in there. Very, very good stuff,” Clyde Cross said.

Drew Manko from the Ross Farm in Pennsylvania said he sees potential in the market. He had his farm’s beef, pork and lamb cuts up for sale.

“I think this is the first local market of its kind, especially in the tri-state area here and I think it’s got a lot of potential. I think the number of people that are in here just a couple of hours into their first day opening really attests to the need and want of the local consumer market,” Manko said. “Looking into the freezer right now, a lot of our stuff’s already gone.”

Carol Stryker of Wheeling said there was excitement in the air and sees herself making frequent shopping trips to the site.

“Just the excitement of a new market downtown, bringing vitalization,” she said, adding that she found some choice berries from Wellburg farmer Eric Freeland’s farm. “I think the variety of vegetables and the variety of the farm products is really impressive.”

“It’s really nice that they’re opening something close to our apartment,” Alex Pavlovic of Wheeling said.

“As someone who grew up in Wheeling, then lived in San Francisco and came back, this is a breath of fresh air,” Jason Koegler of Wheeling said.

“I am so excited to see this kind of diverse experience in Wheeling,” Gabe Hayes, Belmont County businessman, said. He said he has purchased a building in Wheeling. “We’re developing it for a coffee shop and for apartments, so now that there’s this kid of grocery experience in Wheeling, I feel it will be easy to rent apartments and for people to live and enjoy downtown Wheeling.”

The Belmont County Humane Society also had cats up for adoption.

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