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1st Butler City Farmers Market harbinger of summer

Betty Hinderliter, center, relies on the assistance of her grandchildren, Cameron Szish, left, and Autumn Zacherl, right, to set up and sell the cookies at the Butler City Farmers Market each Saturday. This week’s event marked the first of the 2024 season. Paula Grubbs/Butler Eagle

The bird were chirping, the leaves softly blowing, and the sun shining over the first Butler City Farmers Market of the 2024 season on Saturday morning, May 25.

As in years past, the tantalizing aromas of ethnic foods filled the unique Farmers Market building at the intersection of South Chestnut, Race and Shore streets in Butler.

Many booths sold vegetable seedlings for agricultural-minded visitors to add to their gardens, and early crops brought to the market by local farmers provided fresh vegetables and fruits to shoppers.

Handmade soaps, a purveyor of lamb meat, a tempting cookie table and other booths filled the market on Saturday.

Sarah Pawloski, co-owner of Gabriel’s Gardens, manned her family’s fragrant booth at the Farmers Market, which sold strawberries, romaine lettuce, herbs, beets, unique hanging baskets and individual annual flower seedlings.

Gabriel’s Gardens has been a fixture at the summer market for at least three years, she said.

“It’s nice that it’s under cover, and it’s extended through the fall,” Pawloski said.

She said tomato seedlings were a big seller on Saturday, as were strawberries.

“Next week, we’ll have kohlrabi,” Pawloski said. “People love that.”

Christina Edwards, of Penn Township, visited the farmers market for the first time on Saturday.

“I moved here in 2019, and I’ ve always wanted to come check it out,” she said. “It’s a nice setup, because you have all these local people and fresh food.”

Edwards bought free-range eggs and a variety of vegetables at the market.

“If you can build community, people can support each other,” she said of the importance of venues like the farmers market. “I’m all about community.”

Her friend, Lauretta Galbraith, of the North Hills in Allegheny County, said the venue is important because it brings in farmers who sell their local products.

Those who visit can learn about the farms and handcrafted items made in their county, she said.

“And I like that it’s inside,” she said. “It’s nice an cool.”

Danielle and Jason Fannin manned the Penn State Master Gardeners of Butler County booth, which sold garden-related items like gloves and hats as well as perennial plants aplenty.

Proceeds from the booth fund the educational programs and eight community gardens planted and maintained by Butler Master Gardeners.

“It’s centrally located, has great parking, is spacious and it’s undercover,” said Danielle. “The City Farmers Market is a great venue.”

She said the booth is set up each Saturday at the farmers market, where the flora- and fauna-curious can asked questions of the Master Gardeners who man the booth.

A favorite booth at each City Farmers Market is Grandma Betty’s Homemade Goodies, which is owned and operated by Betty Hinderliter.

She bakes all day for six straight days leading up to each Saturday’s City Farmers Market.

Hinderliter said she brings 25 different kinds of cookies, biscotti, bar cookies and more each week, and bakes multiple dozens of each kind.

“The orange cookies are my bestsellers,” she said. “It’s a nostalgia thing. People say ‘Oh, my mother, or grandmother, or aunt used to make these.’”

She made more than 200 orange cookies for Saturday’s farmers market. Other cookie varieties included jelly thumbprints, date coconut, chocolate covered cherry, and pineapple pecan.

“I love it here,” Hinderliter said of selling her sweet treats at the City Farmers Market. “It’s the people and the atmosphere. It’s just fun.”

Larry Sassone, of Butler Township, has been a regular at the City Farmers Market for years.

“I love the market,” he said. “You can support local people. I bought soap, lamb chops and some soup today.”

Sassone appreciates being waited on by the very people that grow, raise or produce the product he is buying.

“This guy who I bought lamb chops from, he told me how to cook them,” he said.

Barbara and Russ Thomas, of Butler Township, also browse the items at the City Farmers Market on many Saturdays each summer.

“It gets you out, and you see people you haven’t seen in a while,” said Barbara, who bought warm and saucy meatballs from a booth just outside the farmers market building.

She also loves the flowers available for purchase, as well as Hinderliter’s cookies.

Russ summed up the thoughts of all who appreciate the Butler City Farmers Market each Saturday during the summer.

“It makes the community nicer, I think,” he said.

Flowers, produce and seedlings were the main items sold Saturday at the Gabriel’s Gardens booth at the first Butler City Farmers Market of the 2024 season. Co-owner Sarah Pawloski, left, poses with family members Izzi Pawloski, middle, and Joslyn Pawloski, right. Paula Grubbs/Butler Eagle
Danielle and Jason Fannin man the Penn State Extension Master Gardeners of Butler County booth Saturday at the first Butler City Farmers Market of the 2024 season. In addition to selling garden-related items at the booth, master gardeners will answer gardening questions from those who stop by. Paula Grubbs/Butler Eagle

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