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Church parking lot houses more than a market

Every Tuesday during the summer months, the farmers market at the First United Methodist Church on 428 Kenwood Ave.

brings out growers, florists and barbecue stands to attract locals into buying locally grown produce and handmade goods.

This is our social life, said Chaz Martel, a farmer who has gone to the market for the past four years and who belonged to the church before relocating to Greenfield Center with his wife.

Martel brings his Blue Moon salad dressings and marinades to the market as well as homemade soap, honey and vegetables. He started growing produce to make use of the waste left behind by the horses he and his wife own, and it quickly became a way to make money on the side.

"They [the church] are very generous to let us use the parking lot," Martel said.

The Delmar Farmers Market started at St. Thomas the Apostle Church at 35 Adams Place in the 1970s. After gaining popularity on Fridays, the market expanded to include Tuesdays. Later, the market moved to its location on Kenwood Avenue and is now held only on Tuesdays.

The mid-week afternoon was picked because it is the more productive day, according to Gretchen Geurtze, who runs Geurtze Bar-B-Q, which has been at the market since the beginning, when the company was still being run by her father.

"I have weekly customers that have come to me since we started. I know 90 percent of my customers' names," said Geurtze, a Delmar native. She said she has some customers who have been buying from her since the days her father was still selling eggs at the market. She sells about 175 barbecued chickens per week and until recently used her own chickens until the demand became so great she had to buy them separately.

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