Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Farmers Markets in Cleveland

Cleveland is a great city, period….   There is so much to do and experience here.  In addition to the world class events that it puts on, Cleveland has a vibrant and real food scene.  We have so many great restaurants, breweries, wineries and distilleries.  Food runs from local celebrity chefs to, outstanding international restaurants and food trucks galore.  But what about vegetables and fruits?  Who out there doesn’t like fresh fruits and vegetables?  Did I say like?  I’m talking love, obsession and addiction.  Those heritage tomatoes that are so fresh you can smell them five feet away are an example of what I’m talking about.  Peppers that are bursting with flavor and heat.  Cantaloupes and other melons that taste like candy they are so luscious!!  We are in the midst of one of the best times of year for foodies, health conscious people or just people looking for some great tasting food.  In Cleveland that is between July and September.  You know why?  This is the time that all the local farmers start reaping their bounty.  There are dozens of Farmer’s Markets and Fresh Produce stands that pop up in Cleveland and the surrounding suburbs during these months.  It doesn’t matter if you live downtown or in any suburb, you will be able to find them everywhere.  There are over seventy five in Cleveland and the surrounding area alone.  I’ve been to many of them and one thing I notice, besides the incredible produce, is that the farmers and people that are selling at these stands are so friendly.
Below is a list of a few farmer’s markets and food stands in the area, however, if you do an online search for Farmer’s Markets in Cleveland, you will realize how big this scene is.  How do you pick your favorite one?  Is it location, personality, bounty?  We’ll I’ll tell you about my favorite one.  It’s a roadside market on Sprague Road in Strongsville called My Garden.  It is run by Penny and David who have been growing and picking vegetables and fruits for fourteen years.  They are so friendly that every time my wife shows up to buy our weekly load of fruits and veggies she also gets hugs.  You have to check them out.  See the pictures below to get an idea of what many people experience every day at their market.  Because we are such huge fans of Penny and David, we asked them to give us a little story about how they got the idea to start My Garden.

Like many people who have home gardens David and Penny decided to plant some tomato plants one summer, twelve to be exact.  What they quickly found out was that twelve tomato plants were more tomatoes than they needed, more than they could eat, freeze or give away.  What to do with all these extra tomatoes?  See the answer in their wonderful story below, told from Penny’s point of view.

David decided after he retired that we should start a little garden, so we planted twelve tomato plants only to discover there were far more tomatoes then we could ever eat, freeze, or give away. We put the picnic table down in front ,right where the wagon sits today, filled some baskets with tomatoes, added a Maxwell house coffee can with a sign telling folks to take what they want and leave whatever they would like in the can. I was personally getting quite a kick out checking the can and watching the tomatoes flying off the table. One day we came home to find a note in the can with a rock on top of it. Some kind person said they were worried the can would fall over and the money would fall out so they placed a rock on top. 
Well from that year on, David decided to take up a notch by growing a little bit of everything. However the picnic table would never do for that many veggies. So he found this old wagon frame from an old timer, brought it home and began to build a wagon. Our first wagon was less than half the size it is today. As the gardens grew so did the wagon. It has been taken down to the frame a total of three times, each time David extends the frame out to accommodate the bigger size. I think it has now reached its max. We had the awning made for it and it does make a nice appearance for our customers. 
We have just finished our fourteenth year and we are still amazed that the good folks still look forward to seeing that old farm wagon every year! It has been a very rewarding experience, we have met people from all walks of life and all ages. We know so many of them on a first name basis and see them year after year. I guess to sum this all up, it makes it all work worthwhile when someone says how much they appreciate our effort to give good veggies and how much they look forward to seeing that wagon every year! We have just the best customers anywhere, well yes, and a few stinkers but the good far, far outweigh the few! There are a precious few that have touched my heart and I will never forget them. We do realize that all good things will come to an end, David is now seventy - five and I'm ......well I'm not too far behind. We will take it one year at a time. I think we still have another year or two left in us, the Good Lord willing, will see you next year!

This story was given at the end of last year. Here we are back in July and ready for more fresh fruits and veggies.  Timing couldn't be better!!  As you can see David and Penny love what they do and have made many friends from their veggie stand.

Besides My Garden on Sprague Road in Strongsville, here is a list a few others in all areas of Cleveland.  We can’t possibly list them all so leave a comment and tell us about your favorite Farmer’s Market, you know which one mine is!!


Strongsville Farmers Market
Strongsville Town Commons
Pearl & Royalton Rd.
Thursdays 2pm-6pm
August 7 - October 2
(440) 580-3276

Willie's Farm Market
7136 Pearl Road
Middleburg Heights
Daily 10am-6pm

Crocker Park Market
North Union Farmers Market
See website for additional details
Oberlin Farmers Market
85 S. Main St., 
Oberlin, Oh
See website for additional details

Tremont Farmers Market
Lincoln Park
West 14th St. Between Kenilworth and Starkweather
See website for additional details
North Coast Harbor Farmers Market
Across from the Old Stone Church
See website for additional details

Cleveland State Farmers Market
1930 Euclid Ave Cleveland
See website for additional Details
Broadway Farmers Market
Dan Kane Gardens
See website for additional Details

Shaker Square Market
13209 Shaker Square
Shaker Heights
See website for additional Details

Chargrin Falls Market
North Main Street & North Franklin St
Chagrin Falls
See website for additional Details

First Baptist Church Farmers Market
3630 Fairmount Blvd
Shaker Heights
See website for additional Details!about
Geauga Fresh Farmers Market
5205 Chillicothe Rd
South Russell
See website for additional Details

Coventry Market
1824 Coventry Road
Cleveland Heights
Thursdays 6-9
Coit Road Farmers Market
15000 Woodworth Ave
See website for additional details