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Our Story

The following news article was written in 2010 before we reopened…

Mad River Farm Market to reopen May 1
Written by Joshua Keeran
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 14:39

WEST LIBERTY – For several years, one thing has remained the same for those who make their daily commute between West Liberty and Urbana on U.S. Route 68 – a glance at the dormant Mad River Farm Market that at one point in time attracted a steady crowd of locals and other sightseers.

On May 1, one local family is hoping to bring the landmark back into prominence when Mad River Farm Market officially reopens its doors. For some time, Michele Hess of West Liberty and her mother, Donna Oyer of Urbana, have dreamed of owning their own market, and with a little help from their husbands, Mark Hess and Dennis Oyer, that dream became a reality back on March 13 when the four closed on the 10-acre property, which includes a storefront, barn, orchard (peach and apple trees), strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb and asparagus. “It’s something we’ve always wanted to do and finally we got the opportunity to take advantage of this property and bring something to the community,” Mrs. Hess said.

“Basically, we are just rookies trying to figure our way through a family-operated business,” Mr. Hess added. “We are not business people by any means. We are basically farm people taking a chance and hoping for the best.”
Sara, daughter of the Hesses, and Mrs. Oyer’s mother, Gladys Anderson, are part of the family business, although not property owners.
“We have four generations working real hard in this store, which I think is kind of neat,” Mr. Hess said.

What the farm market has to offer
Mad River Farm Market may be reopening under new ownership, but former patrons to the establishment can expect the same type of services and products as before.

“We are offering basically the same things as the market did in the past, just in a different, more primitive and country style,” Mrs. Hess said. On the garden side of things, the market will be selling plenty of fresh produce, along with flowers, mulch and various trees like pine and spruce. The bakery section of the market will feature Der Dutchman products. One area of the market that will be new is a deli case with meats and cheeses from Walnut Creek in Holmes County, said Mrs. Hess, citing that bulk foods for sale will also come from Walnut Creek. “Plus, we are trying to work with as many local producers and suppliers as we can,” Mr. Hess said. Another item that will be sold that wasn’t available in the past at the market will be peat moss.

Mr. Hess, whose late father ran a peat bog, said the peat moss sold is coming directly from his father’s estate in Champaign County.
As for business, Mr. Hess noted the store has seen its fair share of visitors over the past few weeks, so the family is hopeful the community will embrace the market once again.

“It seems like there is a lot of excitement about the doors opening back up,” Mr. Hess said. “The feedback has just been nothing but positive, and I think a lot of people in the area were questioning what was going to become of this place.”

Starting May 1, Mad River Farm Market will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday as well as from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

“We would like everybody to come and visit at least one time,” Mrs. Hess said.
“We plan on having fun with it and see what we can do with it,” Mr. Hess added.