It’s only May 14th and already some farmers markets are bursting with products. Not just the piles of sweet asparagus, tangy ramps, gorgeous displays of annuals and lilacs you expect this time of year, but six inch long green beans and even larger zucchini! Farmers who have invested in hoop houses are changing our idea of seasonality and bringing more products earlier. So if you think it’s too early to find much at the market, think again. With the help of fresh pasta, barbequed ribs, chicken thighs, grass-fed beef, and mushrooms, I was able to purchase a week’s worth of delicious dinners that include an unexpectedly wide selection of vegetables and greens. I can’t wait to get started!
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Tremont Farmers’ Market has another year under its belt and the season certainly was exciting. With relatively few hitches, we made the permanent move to Lincoln Park after getting our feet wet last fall. Our little village has been transplanted, and we are taking root. Like the trees that provide us shelter in the park, we are getting grounded and strong, spreading our branches to provide sustenance for Tremont and beyond.
certainly did not fail to remind us who is really in charge, as we dodged branches, rain, hail, tents and lightening this year; fortunately no serious injuries!
Thankfully, the season closed with the weather that makes us love fall.
I’d like to once again pay homage to all the vendors who sold at the market. They put in countless hours of preparation year round to sell at markets, and mange to be cheerful and excited about their work after arising in the wee hours to harvest, pack, drive and unload and setup.
And we would be nowhere without the customers, the folks willing to come out, no matter the weather. It’s wonderful to have faces become familiar from week to week, and a pleasure to welcome newcomers.
In addition to the vendors and shoppers, I feel blessed to have the help and support of many folks in the community. Some extraordinary folks. First of all, a special, personal thanks to Kristen Trolio for handling market bureaucracy with good cheer. And for, well, everything. Ricardo Sandoval has supported the market in so many ways this year. He provided storage space for market stuff; had two sandwhich boards built; did a few cooking demos at the market; hung market posters. AND, on several occasions, has helped set up the market! Now that is dedication! Owner of three local restaurants (Fat Cats, Lava Lounge and Felice’s Urban Café), Ricardo also regularly supplies his kitchens with produce from TFM. More thanks go to my neighbor, Nancy Thompson has given me free range with her truck to haul market tents, tables, etc. Without her generosity, getting our stuff to market would be extremely difficult. Helen Bauman created the design for our bright and cheery postcards and fliers, and developed an official logo! Jenita McGowan helped with organizational details and also organized some dance performances at the market which were a big treat for all of us! Trish Supples communicated with and scheduled the folks who participated in the new Environmental Space. Camille George started a Kid’s Corner, where each week she had some form of creative enterprise to entertain the younger crowd. And the whole gang of folks that helped in numerous ways including getting postcards and fliers out there, brainstorming, internet advice, market setup and tear down, moral support: John Briggs, Trent Boerner, Nicole McGee, Marc Dorsey and Hope Schultz. Thanks to Sister Corita and the guys from St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church for allowing us to use their bathrooms and generally keeping an eye out for us! Muchas gracias to Jerry Guffey, Kate Sopko and all others at Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ who helped us with the screening of Polycultures: Food Where We Live. In addition, a big tip of the hat to Tom Kondilas and David Pearl, first for creating the movie and then bringing it forth to the community with such eagerness. Thanks to Susan Conover and Willie from WIC who helped us register more farmers and helped bring more folks to the market. Financially, our 2009 funding came from grants from Neighborhood Connections, the , Joe Cimperman. And many, many thanks to my husband, Jim Richards who helped with internet/computer glitches, helped gather stuff when I needed it, and generally put up with a zoned out wife when I entered into “market mode”.
This year we also branched out and held two holiday markets in November and December to test the waters and further our commitment to local food. The markets, held at Pilgrim Church were cozy and cheerful, and very encouraging for the future.
We are now preparing for 2010. The market will be opening our tents a bit earlier this year, our first market to be held in response to both vendors and customers to expand our season. I miss my market family, and am looking forward Tuesdays in Lincoln Park !
TFM: We don’t claim to feed the whole world, but we can certainly help to nourish and sustain our little corner. Food for the community, food grown and produced by folks with faces and names, not a corporate logo.
Peace and Happy New Year,
More and more farmers’ markets are using social networking to remind customers to shop for what’s in season and support the community of farmers and eaters. Check out what the Tremont Farmers’ Market manager, Jody Lathwell, is doing to help us get to know farmers: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cleveland-OH/Tremont-Farmers-Market/71372531712
Red Basket Farm in Ashtabula has wonderful products as you can see in the short video. And the Tremont Farmers’ Market is a lovely new addition to Tuesday evenings in Termont.
Underpaid and Overworked - the old adage applies to farmers, ‘cottage’ vendors and market managers alike. Farmers markets are full of folks working, not for the love of money, but in pursuit of lofty ideals. Be it ‘local food’, sustainability or self employment, all of us have our reasons for doing what we do; and we toil long and hard for what we believe in.
The struggle continues as well intentioned government oversights create unintended consequences for small scale, independent businesses and farmers. Cuyahoga County Health Inspectors are shutting down vendors at area markets in front of customers and damaging their reputations for violations which are subject to interpretation. The issue is the cooling of meat and dairy products. Inspectors can deem mechanical refrigeration necessary for any item containing dairy, even baked goods, at their discretion. However, some items can be kept at the proper temperature with simple coolers.
The mechanical refrigeration requirement affects at least a third of all vendors at farmers markets as well as the markets themselves. It is costly for vendors to purchase refrigeration units and it is costly for farmers markets to set up the infrastructure to provide electricity to these additional vendors. These costs may be prohibitive, cutting in to vendor’s already slim profit margins and market’s tight budgets. Perhaps inspectors could take these things into account as they ‘interpret’ the mechanical refrigeration requirement.
Jenny Burger, Market Manager
Kamm’s Corner Farmers’ Market
This issue is not new, nor is it going away. Those of us who love our markets and the great food they provide must stay alert and active in supporting our rights to buy the kinds of foods we know are safe from farmers we trust. Obviously, people have been selling meats, dairy, eggs, and bakery items safely for hundreds of years before there was electricity.
The City of Painesville is very excited to announce the return of the Main Street
Farmers’ Market. The Market started in the middle of May with the farmers featuring early greens, beddings, hanging baskets, honey, baked goods; pies & breads, organic teas, coffee & beverages, candles, maple syrup & candy, jellies, vegetable plants, annuals, perennials, strawberries (when in season), craft items, early produce, hand crafted soap, herbs. As the season changes from spring, to summer, then fall, an abundance of fresh, Ohio-grown fruits and vegetables will be added to the mix. This marks the tenth year anniversary for the market and it will run every Thursday from 2 to 6 p.m. The Farmer’s Market can be found in the parking lot of the Job & Family Services Building on Main Street between North State and North Saint Clair Streets through October 22. Come and support your local farmers.
For more information visit www.painesville.com.
In general my kids- ages five and two- are typical for their ages. They love a dish one day, and the next it is completely out of the question to think it would pass their lips. This time of year, however, it isn’t hard to find something that they are excited to eat. The snap peas are in full swing, and they are eating them with abandon. Earlier this week we took a trip to the farm where my husband works to pick enough for dinner, and they ate more straight from the plant than what I put in the bag. At home, I sauteed the remainder in a little butter, with salt, pepper and a bit of mint tossed in at the last minute. These, too, were gobbled up in no time flat. The carrots are beginning to make an appearance, too, and I’ve even seen my five year old jump up and down with excitement at the prospect of a fresh carrot! It makes a parent proud to see children eat vegetables without being goaded to do so, and fresh carrots and peas are surely appealing to many youngsters because they are so sweet and crunchy.
Farmers’ markets all over Northeast Ohio have booths over-flowing with snap peas right now. In contrast with those found at the supermarkets, farm-fresh snap peas are still crisp and full of life, bursting with flavor. Buy an extra quart or two now for blanching, and in the winter you will be glad you did. Local, freshly dug carrots are hands-down my favorite vegetable. Their commonplace appearance belies their remarkably sweet and earthy, full-flavored crunch.
The Countryside Farmers’ Market at Howe Meadow is in full swing, and our second market at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens opens for the season on Thursday, June 25th from 4-7pm. There is no entrance fee to come to the market, and you can also enjoy free access to the magnificent grounds before or after you shop.
Many other Northeast Ohio markets have recently made or are making their debut this week, and I’m sure there’s one close to you, with a container of peas (and perhaps a bunch of carrots) that has your name on it.
See you at the market,
A fantastic picture is emerging from the mosaic of farms in Northeast Ohio. Folks are connecting on the street, in their gardens, and online. Both gardens/farms and websites are popping up with incredible frequency, within Cleveland and in the surrounding region. Urban farms and farmers’ markets are also sprouting up at an amazing rate, and I have the pleasure of managing the young Tremont Farmers’ Market in Cleveland.
The story of the Tremont Farmers’ Market started in the fall of 2006 with a small group of urban growers who decided to create their own market in a neighborhood that craves access to fresh, healthy food. Most of the growers participated in the OSU Extension Market Gardener Training Program, met up in Lucky Park and delved into their first season of growing professionally. Fast forward to the present, June 2009, and TFM has expanded into Lincoln Park. The market has also grown to include farmers from outside the city, but still continues to be a venue for city farmers. This year’s urban growers include Redozo Farm, The Garden Boyz, TUFS (Tremont Urban Food System), and Wonder City Farm (which currently grows in urban and rural settings). We strive to make the market accessible to new growers as well as seasoned farmers.
Opening day is Tuesday, June 16 in beautiful, historic Lincoln Park, from 4:30-7:30 pm.
Available at the market this year are fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs, cheese, meat, eggs, bread and other baked goods including vegan baked goods, flour, brownies, honey, maple syrup, coffee, plants, cut flowers, repurposed art, wonderful jewelry and knitted pieces. Musical guests are market openers Lisa and Heather Malyuk. Chef Ricardo Sandoval, owner of Fat Cats, Lava Lounge and Felice’s Urban Restaurant, will be showcasing his amazing culinary combinations in a cooking demonstration.
Our stories may seem small at times, but added together, we are becoming a force Together we will gather to grow food, break bread and grow stronger. Together we will connect the plots and feed Northeast Ohio.
Peace and good eats,
Jody Lathwell, market manager
More info: www.tremontfarmersmarket.com
This is a very exciting season for us here at the Countryside Conservancy. We are celebrating our 10th Anniversary as an organization that supports community-based food systems. We celebrate our work over the past ten years, both within Cuyahoga Valley National Park with our nationally recognized Countryside Initiative program, and outside of the park boundaries with our FarmLink program (the only one in the state), farmland policy advocacy and technical assistance for communities, and educational opportunities for farmers both beginning and experienced. All of these programs are gaining popularity with the rise in awareness of the importance of food and how it is produced.
We are also celebrating our 6th year of managing farmers’ markets, and the continued growth of our markets over the years has led us to a new location for 2009. We see this as further evidence of the nationwide trend towards reconnecting with those that are responsible for growing, raising, or otherwise producing the food we eat.
Our new market location at Howe Meadow in Cuyahoga Valley National Park (4040 Riverview Road, Peninsula) allows us to extend our season until October 31st, expand and diversify the number of vendors (40+ this year!), and provide electricity to expand the services available to our customers. We remain the only farmers’ market within a National Park in the country!
Opening day at Countryside Farmers’ Market at Howe Meadow will include numerous local farmers and food producers. We are excited to have pea shoots, plant starts, jams & jellies, artisan breads and baked goods, award-winning cheese, locally roasted coffee, custom blended teas and much more. A few happenings for the day include:
- Live music by Lisa and Heather Malyuk
- A book signing from 10-noon with Laura Taxel, local food writer and author of Cleveland Ethnic Eats
- Chef Michael Fiala of LeFever’s River Grille in Cuyahoga Falls will be joining us for cooking demonstrations
- Knife sharpening by Pat Hartmann of Chef Sharp
- And, to celebrate our 10th Anniversary as well as our new location we are offering $2 in “Market Money” to the first 150 customers of the day- good at every vendor booth.
We are looking forward to a great farmers’ market season, and to another 10 years of supporting the good people in our community-based food systems throughout Northeast Ohio!
Beth Knorr, Market Manager
Over the next few weeks, farmers’ markets will be opening across the region and in addition to daffodils, ramps are becoming the true sign of spring for market goers. Here are ramps in the wild. But if you want to carmalize some for a quiche or shred some leaves into your omelet, your best bet is the farmers’ market near you (check out the map at Local Food Cleveland) where you can also get those free range eggs, local cheese, artisan breads to go with the meal.