Day of Operation: Saturday, 8am-Noon
Number of Vendors: 60-120 (depending on season and weather)
Address: 13209 Shaker Square, Shaker Heights
Parking: Free behind CVS or metered on the Square
Special Payment Methods Accepted: SNAP, Produce Perks, WIC and Senior Coupons
Why Go This Weekend? Strawberry season is almost over so get some more while you can! And Larchmere PorchFest is happening on Saturday, June 22.
Today, my travels bring me to North Union Farmers Market on historic Shaker Square. Twenty eight years ago Donita Anderson, Executive Director, biologist and trained chef, had a vision for bringing food into her Shaker Heights neighborhood from the farms east of Cleveland. Today that has blossomed into several markets throughout Northeast Ohio with–in my opinion–the Shaker Square Market being its crown jewel. This family friendly, community spirited market is a bustling hive of economic activity every Saturday morning.
With the Rapid Transit light rail train trundling through the center, along with an internationally diverse group of patrons, this market has a European flair with Midwestern hospitality. Vendors and customers have forged friendships and can frequently be seen giving each other a welcoming hug or chatting about food and family. There are between 60-120 vendors each week providing local, in season fruits and vegetables. You will want to get there early to have the best chance of procuring what’s in season now like fresh berries, asparagus, radishes, greens, broccoli and brussel sprouts. There is also a variety of artisan baked pastries and breads along with homemade jellies, jams, maple syrup and honey.
If you have not tried grass fed beef I suggest you mosey over to the Snake Hill Farm booth. Louis and his wife are happy to tell you all about the benefits—they might even invite you out to their farm to see the herd. Oh, and by the way, don’t leave without visiting the Spice of Life booth where trained chefs are cooking up some of the biggest and best breakfast burritos in town!
What’s unique about all North Union Farmers Markets is they are certified, producer-only markets. This means they have been certified by North Union personnel through site visits to ensure they grow what they sell. To my knowledge it’s the only market in the area that performs this type of rigorous research before allowing a vendor to sell at market. Emma Anderson, Market Manager, says “ This is one of the best parts of my job. I’ve been fortunate to visit some beautiful farms and amazing greenhouses this year.”
Bring a cooler for your perishable items and make an entire day of your market going experience by getting acquainted with the area. Have brunch at independently owned and operated fire food and drink. Afterwards take in a matinee at the renovated art deco Colony Theatre or grab a coffee from Dewey’s Coffee House on the corner. Just a block north is the Larchmere Neighborhood which boasts the largest art and antiques district in the city of Cleveland. A short drive away is Coventry Village. Once home to the areas “hippies” its now an eclectic blend of eateries, vintage toy stores, vegetarian restaurants, book stores and shops. Also nearby is Little Italy and of course, University Circle, home to the world class Cleveland Museum of Art, Botanical Gardens, Western Reserve Historical Society, Natural History Museum and Case Western Reserve University.
North Union operates six other markets in Northeast Ohio as well as two indoor markets at Shaker Square and Crocker Park during winter months. They have received awards such as being one of the Top 20 Farmers Markets in the United States by American Farmland Trust and best Farmers Market in Cleveland by Cleveland Magazine. They are proud to participate in the SNAP and Produce Perks Incentive Programs. WIC and Senior Coupons are also accepted. Some vendors may be set up to handle credit/debit card transactions but I would bring cash to make things easier. If you run short there are a few ATM machines conveniently located at nearby bank branches. There is close, metered parking along the perimeter of the square and plenty of free parking behind CVS.
For information on all North Union markets, times and locations visit: www.northunionfarmersmarket.org.
Rebecca Cole, Edible Cleveland blogger, will be traversing the city this summer to bring Northeast Ohio Farmers Markets up close and personal. Be sure to check back often to see where she has been. For more information on weekly happenings at all Northeast Ohio markets follow her at www.clevelandmarketmaven.com