The main reason we go to farmers markets is, of course, the food: heaps and heaps of crisp produce, sparkling honey, farm-fresh eggs, and baked goods hours out of the oven. Most of it is sustainably and organically raised to leave a light footprint on the earth, and almost all of it is grown or produced within easy driving distance of our home. But these days, you’ll find more than food cropping up at your local farmers market.
If your bicycle needs attention, Two-One-Fix Bicycle is at your service at the North Union Shaker Market and the Tremont Market in Lincoln Park. Proprietor Zack Klein- Stefanchik provides mobile bike maintenance, adjustment, and repair services. You can drop off your bike at the market and pick it up the following week, which saves you a delivery fee.
The year-round Coit Road Farmers Market, located in an economically challenged area on the Cleveland-East Cleveland border, looks after its customers’ health in a way that goes beyond providing access to fresh food. On the second Saturday of each month, the Care-A-Van is there from 10am–1pm with health screenings, free healthy snacks, arts activities, and connections to community resources. And both the Kamms and Tremont markets have weekly representatives from health care providers with information on how to look after your health and where to get care.
Another service you’ll find at many markets is knife sharpening. Pack those dull knifes (carefully!) and take them to Garth Proctor Knife Sharpening at North Union Farmers Market at Shaker Square or Chagrin Falls; or to Countryside Market in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, where environmentally friendly Noon Sharpening will get them kitchen-ready again using a refurbished 1923 treadle to power their wheels. All their equipment is American-made.
Many, if not most, area markets hold cooking demonstrations, showing patrons new ways of using that huge zucchini you’re going to have in August. But Coit Market’s weekly demos are special in that they are participatory and hands-on. You don’t just get to sample; you (and that means kids, too!) can help roll that pizza dough or fill those pierogies. And the market’s new test kitchen is up and ready to go just in time for the summer season.
There’s plenty of local music talent to check out at the market, as well. Some of the area’s best singer-songwriters and bands entertain shoppers. Local folk star Alex Bevan will be making appearances at the Kamm’s market this year, and you can also catch Hollywood Slim’s blues and Cats on Holiday’s swamp pop there. The Tremont market hosts singer-songwriters, such as Nate Jones and Brent Kirby, and bands, such as the Craic Brothers and Show Wagon, in its newly rebuilt gazebo.
Here’s one that maybe some of you animal-loving softies might look out for, lest your family numbers increase. All summer long, the Geauga County Dog Warden’s Shelter will be bringing adoptable animals to the Saturday morning Geauga Fresh Farmers Market. Will there be a new friend on your bed Sunday morning?
For a list of Northeast Ohio farmers markets, see our Farmers Markets resource. Be sure to check out weekly vendor lists at your favorite market to confirm who will be offering services throughout the summer.