Hamilton's Historic Farmers Market
Food + Drink

Hamilton’s Historic Farmers Market

This gathering around the Butler County courthouse dates back to 1875. Here’s what you'll find there on Saturday mornings, May through October. 

Nancy Greene’s father, Dennis Bowling, used to go with his parents to the city of Hamilton’s downtown farmers market to sell live chickens. It was 1937, and he was just 8 years old at the time, but years later he returned to the weekly gathering on the courthouse square to sell his own homegrown produce and flowers.

In 2009, he invited his daughter to join him, and today she and her husband, Doug, carry on her father’s flower-selling legacy with Bowling’s Greene Thumb Gardens, which also offers tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, garlic and pineapple zucchini bread,

“I feel a sense of pride knowing that I’m not only carrying on this tradition, but I’m actually [growing] flowers from his seeds,” Greene says.

Hamilton’s Historic Farmers Market has been a seasonal fixture on the city’s courthouse square since at least 1875, although the roots of the weekly gathering reach back even further. Details are spotty, but local historians believe a different location along the banks of the Great Miami River housed a farmers market as early as 1820.

Gary Dittman, who operates his family’s three-generation Dittman’s Garden Farm stand, has been a part a part of the market more than seven decades, if you count the times his mother brought him to the square before he could even walk.

“All four sides of the courthouse were taken,” he recalls of his youthful visits. “All the stands were made out of wood with canvas tops. There was a vendor that sold eggs, homemade soft pretzels and all kinds of meats. [There were] live chickens and live rabbits.”

Dittman says his grandparents would drive their horse and buggy to the market to sell butter, vegetables and fresh fruits from their orchard. His parents continuing the market tradition with Dittman and his siblings helping sell vegetables and flowers. The stand now offers produce, cut flowers, woodworks and crocheted items crafted by Dittman’s wife, Kathy.

These days, around 20 vendors set up around the Butler County Courthouse each Saturday morning between May and October. You’ll find local honey from Home Field Honey, beef from Springboro Pasture Farm and sweets from Hamilton! Just Desserts. Other market items include decor made from recycled wine bottles, paper crafts and jewelry.

Mary Donnell, both the market manager and a vendor as owner of MAD Art Creations, says the best part of the experience has been bonding with fellow vendors and loyal customers.

“Each of our vendors offers something unique and different,” she says. “There’s history [behind] the stories we can tell and the relationships our vendors build with customers.”

The market runs on Saturdays from 8 a.m. until noon May through October. 101 High St., Hamilton 45011, hamiltonshistoricfarmersmarket.com

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