Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Seasonal Pleasure

Nothing about this winter or spring has been weather-as-usual. The unexpected untimely periods of warmth left us people confused about what to wear and threw Mother Nature into a tizzy about when to sprout and bud. We’ve actually been picking kale, arugula, and chives from our backyard garden for a month-unheard of in all the years I’ve lived in northeast Ohio.

Happily there was one thing very much in season and on schedule- the annual spring opening last Saturday of the North Union Farmers Market at Shaker Square. As always, the sheep were on hand and the guy shearing them drew a crowd of fascinated onlookers. There were lots of familiar faces behind the tables and in the crowd and it felt a bit like a reunion. The energy as always was positive. Although so many more things will be available in a couple of months, vendors had plenty to offer including radishes, various salad greens, spinach carrots, and herbs plus eggs, meats, cheese, baked goods, cut flowers and bedding plants.

The husband and I scored everything we needed for an outstanding dinner. We bought a bunch of ramps, those garlicky wild members of the onion family and a true Ohio spring delicacy; a basket of very hard to find sunchokes- tubers that taste like artichoke hearts; half a pound of blue and brown oyster mushrooms from Killbuck Valley; and three handfuls of Ohio City Pasta’s roasted red pepper fettuccini. We also got a couple of big blueberry muffins from Zoss the Swiss Baker for Sunday morning breakfast.

Market photos courtesy of Susie Sharp

This is my regular go to market because it’s the closest to where I live. But here’s a short list of some others that I can highly recommend from firsthand experience. The temperatures may be unpredictable and the sunshine erratic, but shopping at our local farmers’ markets and putting a meal on the table sourced from what our own regional community can provide is a dependable pleasure.

North Union Farmers Market, six locations, each with own days and opening dates

Countryside Farmer’s Market, south of Cleveland in the Peninsula/Akron area, multiple locations with different days of opening and operation for each

Tremont Farmer’s Market, open April 17, then weekly in May

Kamm’s Corners Farmers Market, weekly starting in June

Coit Road Farmers Market, year round Saturdays, plus Wednesdays starting in April

Downtown Farmer's Market at Public Square, weekly starting June 1

Growohio has a handy easy to read chart on their website about what's available from local farms, month by month.

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