Fresh Finds at Local Farmers Markets

I love the start of a new outdoor farmers market season. Not only does it motivate me to get me up earlier on beautiful sunny Saturdays but I also enjoy discovering the array of new vendors that have cropped up since the prior year.

There’s no shortage of great markets in the area, and this summer I am aiming to get to more of them. Sure, we all have our favorite and familiar market stops, but it is equally fun to branch out and have a little adventure every now and then. That’s why road trips were invented!

In fact, our two summer interns are planning to hit a new farmers market every week and post about what they find. You can follow along all summer long.

For now, here’s a sampling of some of the new local vendors you’re going to see on your market explorations.

FullSizeRender-4The Countryside Conservancy Market at Howe Meadow features several new vendors this year. Europa Charcuterie offers dry cured meats and sausages made in old world style. Avant Gardens has exciting varieties of cultivated mushrooms and mushroom logs, for those who want to grow their own. And who can resist a cute cupcake from Floured Apron served up out of an even cuter turquoise and white trailer affectionately named “Rosie?” (Hint. Not me!) And at their Thursday night Highland Square Market, you’re going to want to stop by Oak Tree Farms Hydroponics for fancy lettuce and herbs.  Stop at the information tent and ask about Countryside Kids, an eight-week  program for kids to learn and engage with the markets.

unnamedA drive to Geauga County is always a beautiful thing, but head to the Geauga Fresh Farm Market in South Russell for some new offerings. Harvest Bell Farms will offer pastured pork, turkey and eggs. As the demand grows for gluten free products, those with a sweet tooth will appreciate So Sweet cookies, caramels and brownies. Soon to arrive will be fresh cut local flowers from Sue’s Local Flowers. The Geauga Fresh market is also offering three farm tours this summer that depart from the market lot that allow you to meet the farmers and see some nearby farms.

PandysNew to the North Union Famers Market at Shaker Square are the delicious, cold pressed fresh juices of Fruit Vibe, a business started by three childhood friends-turned-entrepreneurs. Pandy’s Garden Center, an established family business familiar to many in Lorain County, is new to NUFM’s Crocker Park Market , and Lake Erie Pet Food is a new vendor to both markets.

Frostville Farmers Market is prime for exploring as it is situated within the Rocky River Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks. New vendors this year include Tyler’s Farm of Oberlin, bringing their famously large hydroponic lettuces, herbs and other greens. Breadhead’s Breadery offers an array of  homemade breads and pretzels. KO Pro Farm brings heirloom tomato plants and some of the hottest pepper plants in the world, including the Carolina Reaper, as well as locally grown ginger, lemon grass and stevia.

unnamedBay Arts Farm and Art Mart, located on Lake Road within the Cleveland Metroparks Huntingdon Reservation, will begin its second season June 16 and is adding with eleven new vendors including The Bom, an artisan truffle maker, and Backattack Snacks, makers of flavored almonds and beef jerky. Backattack Snacks owner Brian Back donates a portion of of sales to fund research conducted at Johns Hopkins Heart and Vascular Institute on a rare, progressive heart disease. This business was also the winner of the 2016 Heinen’s Sharkbank competition.

We’d like to wish a couple of markets a very happy birthday: The Hudson Farmers Market, opening Saturday June 4, will celebrate 10 years, and Kamm’s Corners Market also hits a 10-year milestone, and will open June 12.

And special congratulations to Greenfield Berry Farm on 10 years of farming in the Cuyahoga Valley! Find Daniel Greenfield’s ever-expanding harvest at The Countryside Market at Howe Meadow on Saturdays.

— Lisa Sands