It's finally time to start talking about hitting the farmer's markets on a regular basis. This is just a look at the Central Ohio markets I frequent, along with a brief description - as I get more information on start dates, I will update.
If this is your first year as a marketer, or if you are looking for some guidance, you might want to check out my weekly market and CSA reports from last year. I always find it helpful to look back, so that I have an idea what will be available on a weekly basis, just so I can have some sort of menu in mind. Here's also a general list of what's growing when, also for menu planning.
- North Market - as I mentioned before, this weekend's Cinco d'Ohio marks the official opening of the North Market's farm market. The North Market, of course, has a huge indoor market as well as an extensive farmer's market outside. I love the Market, both parts - you can seriously do all of your shopping for the week and be sure you are buying 90% local products - I love the meat at Blues Creek, and like to hit them before hitting the fruit and veggies to help me round out my shopping. I was also notified that one can indeed purchase basics such as milk (from Curds & Whey) and paper towels (from the Good Earth). Here's a secret about the market - don't tell anyone. Skip the market parking lot! Unless it's raining, it's a nightmare trying to get in and out. Instead, opt for street parking (High street meters). If you don't mind walking a little and you can get to the market early, there is always a lot of metered parking in the Short North, and there is also a free lot (between the Burgundy Room and the Yukon building). Of course, the earlier you go, the easier it is to park.
Some of my favorite North Market farmers: Toby Run Mushrooms - hands down the best shitakes I've ever had. I have to buy these every week and try to get to the before Husband. Dearsman Farms - a conventional farm who grows everything - the basics we all need like broccoli and onions, as well as loads of different beans and the like, greens, and of course, sprouts. Also they sell tons of things for canners, small cucumbers and lots of peppers. Prices are beyond reasonable. Quiverfull Farms - locally grown and milled oats, wheat and corn, plus granola. Toad Hill Organics - can always be counted on for a vast assortment of greens (including lots of interesting Asian greens including my favorite Mizuna) in the Springtime, tomatoes in the summer, and potatoes in the fall. The variety of potatoes alone is astounding; each has a description. Just This Farm - garlic and garlic scapes galore. Wayward Seed Farm - growing unusual and hard-to-find things (salsify, anyone?), especially for foodie types who are looking for that unusual ingredient. And of course, Elizabeth Telling Farm, my CSA provider - always has lots of good-for-you greens which are picked small and delicious. Also fabulous eggs which are reserved for the CSA subscribers, alas.
- Clintonville Farmers Market, located just North of North Broadway on High Street at Orchard. The Clintonville market has a mix of non-produce and produce vendors, food vendors (granola, bread, cookies, etc) as well as the occasional art and jewelry vendors. The market takes place on Saturdays at 9am and will commence on May 19th.
Some of my favorite Clintonville vendors: Sippel Family Farm - always have the basics, plus fun things like personal size watermelons. Magik Granola Company - love the blueberry.
- Worthington Farmers Market takes place at the just south of the intersection of High Street and route 161, in picturesque Olde Worthington. Like the North Market, this can be a crowded market and it pays to get there early. Parking is more readily available, however, as there are lots of free public lots around. The Worthington Market is probably the largest, most spacious in the Central Ohio area, and it's my favorite for strolling (something I rarely have time to do). Vendors sell everything from produce and meat to preserves, sweets and dog treats. The Worthington Farmer's Market will kick of on Saturday, May 12th with the annual plant sale.
Some favorites at the Worthington Market: Zemnicki farms sells lots of basics, can be counted on for onions, peppers, leeks and things. Pop & Judy's farm sells kohlrabi and red popcorn - two favorites of mine, as well as great catnip sachets, which the cats love. Sundog Organics grows giant flowers to brighten your house. Gillogly Orchards keeps in me in nectarines all summer long, and Garden Patch Produce sells really great tomatoes and tomato plants.
- Westerville Farmer's Market will begin Wednesday, May 9th - another good weekday option for those of you who can't make it through the week. The market is located in charming uptown Westerville at the intersection of Home and State Streets from 3pm - 6pm.
- Another weekday option is the Pearl Alley market, downtown on Tuesdays and Fridays, 10:30 - 2pm beginning June 1. The Market is located on Pearl between Gay and Broad streets. Park on Gay at meters - bring lots and lots of change, a nickel buys you one minute and the meter maids are vigilant, to say the least - or in lots on Long Street. Or walk over from your office. Farmer attendence can be spotty, but I always find lots of strawberries in June. The other bonus is being right next to El Arepazo, my favorite lunch spot.