Annual Farmers’ Meal, Country Store Set For Nov. 6

By: 
JAKE DOWLING
Managing Editor

Sandwiched between Halloween candies and Thanksgiving turkey is Wayne Street United Methodist Women annual Farmers’ Meal and Country Store.

The decades-old meal of delicious homemade food will feed families, friends and the community from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. with patrons welcome to seeing the country store from noon to 6:30 p.m.

For at least 70 years now, the original meal acted as a bazaar and included items for sale that such as baked goods, crafts and other items members brought to sell and share with others and Nov. 6’s event includes homemade mashed potatoes, homemade noodles, chicken casserole, scalloped chicken, ham, corn and green beans. 

“This dinner goes way back and it has evolved into different things,” said Debbie Knox, one of the women helping plan the event.

Dixie Durkee, another church member who helps with the event every year, recalled helping her mother prepare for the event by bringing in cooked chickens for the main course of the meal.

“I remember my mom coming in with her contribution of two cooked chickens and then we’d pull the meat off the bones and start peeling the potatoes,” she said. “About 10 years ago, we changed it to the Farmers’ Meal and changed the menu to be more modern — we got rid of the noodles and mashed potatoes — and started offering ham loaf from Pantry Pride.”

Durkee said the church served 248 meals during last year’s event, which was the largest turnout in the history of the event.

“I think there were that many, if not more,” Knox added. “The ones who came early to the country store I saw come later because when they first come to the store, we are cooking at that point so they are smelling the food.

“Not very many people who walk in here for the dinner that don’t take something out with them,” church member and event helper Joyce Koenig added. 

The meal and store benefits hundreds more people through the United Methodist Women’s contributions locally and around the globe. 

Proceeds also go to the Children’s Camp Fun as well as the Family Life Center of Auglaize County and four missions in the West Ohio Conference.

The Farmers’ Meal and Country Store is the group’s only fundraiser for the year and involves people from all parts of the congregation — from the youth who carry trays and clean tables to the men of the church who do the dishes and clean up after the event. Durkee said there are three to four people scheduled to work each hour of the event, totaling around 30 or 40 people for the day.

The country store was always Koenig’s dream. 

Crafts used to be sold, but Koenig came up with the ideal to sell bake goods instead, hence the country store, and it has been successful at the annual meal.

“Everybody in this church is so generous,” Koenig said. “I’ll ask people to bake for the bake sale and the bake goods just appear.”

The country store sells mostly baked goods, including homemade noodles, cookies, fudge, cakes, pies, candies and more. Durkee said she is making the pies, which include pecan, grape, apple and cream pie. 

“I make the little half pies and people love that for just two people.

Knox said she is making angel food cakes, truffles and peanut brittle, as well as pecan and cream pies. 

Koenig said she will make cookies, brownies, upside down cake, pecan cake and German chocolate cake, among others. 

The store — which has been going on for about five years — is open from noon to 6:30 p.m.

Meals cost $8 for adults and $4 for children 10 and under. Each meal includes chicken or ham loaf, sweet potatoes or scalloped potatoes, green beans, salad, a dinner roll, dessert and a drink.

Carry-out is available. 

To place an order, call Koenig at 419-230-2192.

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