January, 2010

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Welcome to the Winter Bounty!

Monday, January 18th, 2010

2010 may one day be recognized as the year winter markets became a serious reality in Northeast Ohio! Of course, Coit Road has been open on Saturdays throughout the winter for many years. And North Union opened indoors at Shaker Square in 2001. But this winter, across the region, farmers markets are going inside to keep the local products available and sustain the community. (Check out your market on localfoodcleveland.org for hours and locations.) Looking outside on stark, dreary snow mounds makes one wonder just what could be available from local farmers in January?

Here’s a sample from farmers market newsletters: goat cheese, eggs, potatoes, apples, parsnips, milk and butter, cider, greenhouse lettuces and arugula, honey, syrup, beef, lamb, breads and pastries, sunchokes, mushrooms, spices, breakfast burritos, garlic, onions, shallots, nuts, winter squashes of all shapes.

And that’s just food! How about thick warm wool blankets, beeswax candles, jewelry, hand thrown pots! And then, of course, there’s the music, the knifesharpening, and the demonstrations (depending on the market.) Finally, there are the friends and neighbors to greet and spend some time with over a cup of coffee or hot cider. It almost makes winter tolerable.

Meanwhile, only four more months until asparagus and ramps greet us at the outdoor markets!

Thanks for the Season!

Monday, January 18th, 2010

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.

Mother Nature 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 Ohio Department of Agriculture, 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 on May 4 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,

Jody Lathwell, Market Manager