On the hottest day of the year, in the third week of June, I stopped in to check out the happenings at the Media Farmers Market. Located in the semi-shaded parking lot next to the Media Theatre, this small market features an eclectic mix of produce, baked goods, cheeses and meats, and more. They are open on Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m.
How hot was it? It was so hot that Allison Messick, owner of “A Sweet Mess” made special versions of her cupcakes for the day. She had small glass jars filled with layers of cake and frosting – they looked decadent and were simply called Cake in a Jar. “Because it’s so hot I need to keep the buttercream cool somehow,” she explained. “I made cake and layered it in the jars. This is just for today really – because the buttercream would have melted so quickly!”
Allison is fairly new on the scene. A Sweet Mess started in January, and she custom bakes cupcakes, cakes and whoopie pies. She works out of the licensed kitchen at Bevan’s Candies a few blocks away. This is her first summer at the Media market. “In the beginning it was slow, but it’s been picking up as summer has gone along. The town is really receptive to local. It’s a good town to be in.”
When asked what her most popular item is, Alison reflects for a moment. “Car bomb cupcakes is what all the adults really get into. It’s chocolate with ganache and Bailey’s frosting.”
A few feet away, shaded by the side of the building, stands Joan Gaul of Birchrun Hills Farm in Chester Springs. Joan works for the Miller family, selling their cheeses, pork and grass-fed veal at several local markets, including Headhouse, Phoenixville and East Goshen markets. These cheeses are also sold at Talula’s Table and DiBruno Bros. “This is my second year at media market – it’s good, it’s very good. I’m surprised on a hot day like today we’ve had so many customers. They are here to get their goods and get home to the air conditioning!”
Ben Endicott from Burlap and Bean, the awesome coffeehouse in Newtown Square, makes his only local market appearance at the Media Market. “The vibe is great here,” he says. “The community comes out and the locals come out. It’s nice to see the returning faces.”
A few steps away, two young women are filling produce orders under the tent for Hillside Farm at Elwyn. Jessica Cummings finishes bagging an order and takes a few minutes to tell me about Hillside Farm. “We are the most local farm here – a lot of our staff live in Media and we’re invested in the market. We’re a CSA farm primarily and this is our only market and we’re very committed to it.” She tells me a bit about their methods on the farm. “We use organic practices, we are not certified because it’s a long expensive process, but we do everything as it’s organically defined.”
One of the interesting things about visiting several local markets is seeing that certain vendors make the rounds. Such is the case with Jatin Batel, who sells his Beyond the Spice Indian sauces at several markets. I first met Jatin in Kennett Square and picked up a bottle of his Tikka Simmer Sauce, which proved to be an excellent and easy way to make some fiery chicken. I simply mixed his sauce with plain yogurt and heated it with chicken and served over rice. Jatin said he enjoys visiting Media. “It’s a fantastic market. My product is an ethnic product but people here like to try it, so they love to try different things. People here are cosmopolitan.”
The Media Farmers Market is located at the corner of State Street and Gayley Street.
The market is open Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m., through November 15th. Visit the market online at mediafarmersmarket.com.