HARTSGROVE TOWNSHIP —
Rhonda McElroy has been dreaming the same dream for 25 years.
“I grew up on a farm in Hartsgrove and I always saw that people here on these farms are doing great things, producing real quality in their food and being good stewards of the environment at the same time,” she said. “But I also saw that those very talented people had trouble translating that talent into businesses.”
To help local farmers turn produce, products and livestock into profit, McElroy has founded the Artisan Farm Fest in Hartsgrove Circle. The festival, to be held Sept. 15 at routes 6 and 534, will represent local food growers, producers and creators of local food products in Ashtabula County.
“People here have the land to do things with and they have the desire and the talent, but they don’t know how to take the next step and make it a business,” she said. “The farm fest is about helping to make the connections between the growers and the vendors — taking the quality food from the farm to the restaurant.”
Exhibitors are needed for the farm fest, McElroy said. Anyone who produces, makes or vends food or farm-based products are welcome to sell goods. Cost is $10 per vendor space.
“We want people who grow produce, raise livestock, make soaps or other items from the livestock or by-products to come and show their wares,” she said.
The festival will also include a presentation by Jungle Terry, the Hartsgrove Township Volunteer Fire Department pig roast, a presentation on the history of the Western Reserve by Ashtabula County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau director Mark Winchell and presentation by chefs Jim Blevins and Mike Nowak.
For more information or to book booth space, contact McElroy at 645-5059 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by the Circle Creek Cabin (behind the gas station) in Hartsgrove Township, just off the circle.