Monday, September 1, 2008
Last Fall I traded a gallon of cider and two Buff Orpington pullets to a neighbor for six bantam chickens. We have had chickens for years but never bantams. I have fallen in love with the cute little birds (One Cochin and the rest Japanese Bantams). They seem to be smarter than full size chickens, and are especially prolific. While I lost one to a fox, the remaining two roosters and three hens have given me 18 new chicks this year. I kept back two pullets and gave two roosters and two hens to a neighboring youngster to start his flock. We also had some excess cockerels from the Orpington Hatch, and already have a freezer full of chicken. I decided to take some of our excess to the market in nearby Rogers Ohio.
Rogers is hard to describe; part carnival, part farmers market, part auction, and part flea market. Every Friday this sleepy little Ohio town attracts a thousands of buyers and sellers in a day of pure capitalism. There are city folks from Youngstown and Pittsburgh; recent immigrants from Latin America, Asia and the middle East; many Amish and Mennonites, and my own people (upper Ohio Valley Rednecks). There are usually dozens of produce dealers; three or four Amish bakers; large buildings with used books, car parts, hardware, and knick-knack dealers. There are food trailers with the usually carnival food. People often sit near the main restroom area and offer free puppies. Others sell purebred puppies. There are pony rides for the kids. The flea market outside has hundreds of dealers on a good day.
I went with a shopping list:
A wooden sheep crook to replace one I broke
Chocolate walnut fudge for my lovely bride
zinc jar lids for our old time canning jars
I found everything but the jar lids, and also got a good deal on some Roma tomatoes, (which we did not grow this year) a few pounds of green beans (ours are played out),
a military first aid kit (Useful for chainsaw accidents), An Amish shoofly pie and some scented soap for my wife. Prices are usually well below stores. If we did not garden but wanted to preserve food, I would make the trip to Rogers several times a season for this purpose. A young family could save considerable money on their groceries if they lived nearby.
What I find most remarkable about Rogers is how Americans of very different backgrounds meet in the market place on equal terms. There are buyers and sellers of every race. I overheard an older Italian man ask a Latin American produce vendor his nationality. The vendor replied "Italian" The older man began joshing him , and accusing him of "swimming the River" This was in jest on both of their parts, and in the equality of buying and selling, differences are set aside. I talked with a Coptic couple from Egypt who sell copies of Egyptian antiquities. Urban black families meet Amish ones. I am sure you can find trouble at this large market, but I am often amazed how so many different people actually get along so well. I have never seen any security or police there.
The poultry Auction starts at 6:00 pm. I would guess they sold about 300-400 head of poultry, 75 rabbits and maybe 40 goats. The birds range from poor old worn out leghorn laying hens to well started and well bred young stock. Many people buy chickens there for butchering. The average seemed to be $2,00 to $4,00 per head, dependent upon quality. Rabbits bring about the same. Young turkey were brining about $10.00 each. A few of the bantam pens were bringing $35.00+;especially young chicks and a mother with chicks. I need to exercise restraint around poultry sales. I was tempted by a pair of American buff geese (Winning bid $36), a pair of tufted Roman geese and the bantam call ducks. I confined my bidding to a trio of Red Cochin bantams which I did not win. However, since I was actually going to SELL chickens, I am not too sorry I did not BUY any more. However, Seeing all the different Bantams for sale did feed my interest in breeding and expanding my flock of these miniature chickens.