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New Renzie Market Adds ‘Festival’ Atmosphere

By Jason A. Mignanelli
The Tube City Almanac
June 30, 2023
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Submitted photo courtesy City of McKeesport Mayor’s Office via Facebook)

A new “festival-type atmosphere” is designed to attract visitors to the farmer’s market at Renziehausen Park this summer.

The relaunched Renzie Market is now being held on the first Thursday of each month through September from 5:30 to 8 p.m. behind Fire Station No. 2 on Eden Park Boulevard. The next market is Thursday (July 6).

“We wanted to try something different. It allows us to have food trucks, entertainment and it creates a festival-type atmosphere,” said Kelly Doyle, director of the Renzie Market and co-founder of the McKeesport Agape Center. “Each month there is different food, vendors, and entertainment. There’s even stuff for the kids.”

The new Thursday night market launched in June, replacing the previous market that operated on Saturday mornings. “Last month, Mayor Cherepko’s office provided free face painting for the kids,” Doyle said.

The primary draw is the local handcrafted goods and fresh produce.  “It’s a great community event for all ages and it’s dog friendly,” said Doyle.

A new vendor next week is J&J Smokehouse. Organizers also will be giving away a La-Z-Boy recliner, Doyle announced on Facebook.

Fresh markets like the one at Renziehausen Park are growing in popularity. According to the USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) the number of farmer’s markets nationwide have grown roughly 7 percent per year since 1994.

One of the vendors that has been a reliable fixture at the Renzie Market — in both of its incarnations — is CCR Gardens of McKeesport is providing just that.

Kevin Resnik, co-owner of CCR Gardens, describes it as a market garden — a small-scale producer of fruits, vegetables and flowers typically sold directly to local consumers.

“We grow fresh vegetables of all types on less than one acre of land here in McKeesport. Our number-one seller is our spring mix,” he said.

Resnik is no stranger to agriculture. He has a degree from Penn State in agriculture and bioengineering, but it wasn’t his education that secured his love for farming it was his grandparents. His grandparents grew large fruitful gardens every year.

“My wife and I both came from families where our grandparents loved to garden,” said Resnik.

Kevin and Megan Resnik. (Submitted photo courtesy CCR Gardens via Facebook)

Resnik’s wife Megan is co-owner in the garden business and the couple acknowledged she does more of the work because Kevin Resnik still has a full-time job as a civil engineer.

The couple started CCR Gardens — named after their two boys — back in 2018.

“It all started by chance really — we used to grow a garden and it just got bigger and bigger every year. We could no longer preserve or give the produce away, so we thought, why not sell it locally,” said Resnik.

CCR Gardens brings a wide variety of produce to the Renzie Farmer’s Market on the first Thursday of every month.

“We love the market. We just want to see it grow and we’d love to see the support continue to heighten. It was our goal to keep this fresh produce right here in McKeesport. We grow it here and we want to sell it here,” said Resnik.

CCR Gardens grows all its food naturally without using harmful chemicals. Anyone who misses CCR’s stand at the Renzie Market can visit on Saturdays and buy directly from the farm, he said.

Jason A. Mignanelli is a freelance writer from Pittsburgh’s North Hills and a student at Duquesne University. He may be reached at mignanellij@duq.edu.

Originally published June 30, 2023.

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