Some of the best smells, tastes, and memories of summertime in Ohio comes from cooking fresh corn on the backyard grill, and sinking my teeth into juicy plump tomatoes from the produce stand on the side of the road. Organic and locally grown foods are on trend now more than ever, and luckily, Ohio’s booming agricultural industry leaves us with no shortage of tasty fruits and veggies to help satisfy our needs.
Not only does buying from local farmers markets help add flavor and nutrition to our lives, but it helps sustain our local economy. Plus, taking a trip to your neighborhood farmers’ market can make for a fun day full of social interaction, fresh air, and fun, all of which are good for the soul.
So what are some great farmers’ markets in Ohio? There’s a lofty list to sort through, and there is no way to rank them. Instead, I will share with you some of my personal favorites and recommendations from others that can help you plan a visit this summer.
Findlay Market, Cincinnati
Even on a Sunday afternoon, the Findlay Market located in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood is booming with activity. As Ohio’s oldest public market (having been established in 1852), the Market shows no signs of slowing down. With the brightly colored Italian-style architecture, you’ll immediately feel in a cheerful mood, ready to explore the Market head on!
On weekends from April through November, the Findlay Market in Cincinnati hosts a thriving farmers’ market with dozens of outdoor vendors and special events.
On a recent visit of mine, the hustle and bustle was in full force. Red picnic tables were overflowing with folks eating lunch, drinking local craft brews, and enjoying live music in the beer garden. Hundreds of people were perusing food and retail vendors located in both indoor and outdoor booths.
There are over 40 full-time vendors, and an additional 50 pop-up vendors on the weekends, offering a mix of grocery, prepared foods, and related goods. This is where local restaurants come to get their meats, local breweries come to get their spices, and the general public come to stock their pantries.
With 1.2 million visitors a year, the Findlay Market is the fifth most visited place in Cincinnati. It is also known to be the most diverse spot in city as far as careers, income, and background of vendors and patrons alike.
While in the Cincinnati area, consider traveling up to neighboring Butler County for the Hamilton Historic Farmers’ Market, located on the historic Butler County Courthouse Square.
West Side Market, Cleveland
The West Side Market is notorious for its world famous cuisines, and has even appeared on television programs such as Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and Man Vs. Food. The market includes a series of vendors of specialty foods, such as breads, seafood, meats, spices, produce, fudge, popcorn, and the list goes on and on and on AND ON.
The market is advertised as Cleveland’s Oldest and Most Trusted Market (with its origins dating back to the 1840s), and is on the National Registry of Historical Places. It was dedicated and opened to the public back in 1912 (just over a century ago!), and can’t be missed with its 137 foot tall clock tower! You’ll be in awe of this place!
Today the market is home to over 100 vendors of great ethnic diversity. This past weekend, I was able to see this firsthand for myself when friends and I explored the market!
Talk about an adventure for your taste buds! There were so many things to see, taste, and smell at the West Side Market. I could spend hours and hours there, but unfortunately we only had just over an hour to cover the entire locale! We started in the produce section, where we were approached by vendor after vendor selling their fruits and veggies to us. Let’s just say, we blew through a LOT of money that will keep our tables full for the coming weeks!
While in Cleveland, you can stop by other local farmers’ markets, including the Tremont Farmers’ Market for a small neighborhood experience.
North Market, Columbus
The North Market in Columbus is one of my absolute favorites, namely because I used to live in walking distance, but also because it is so diverse and is laid out so nicely. While I typically would stop here to stock up on spices at North Market Spices, or fill my belly with tastiness from Hot Chicken Takeover, the outdoor farmers’ market was always a major draw. The farmers’ market takes place on Saturdays and Sundays from June to October.
It’s one of the oldest and largest in all of Central Ohio, with not only plentiful produce, but great hand-made items like fine art, jewelry, and more!
Hennson Family Farm & Market
While also in the Columbus area, be sure take a visit to the Henson Family Farm & Market in Clintonville.
Plain Township Farmer’s Market, Stark County
I would be remised if I did not include a shout out to my neighborhood farmers’ market in Plain Township, Stark County. This market pops up in Schneider Park, which is home to my favorite dog park. I take my dog to run around, then peruse the many booths on weekends in the summer.
Plain Township Farmers’ Market
It’s proof that you don’t have to travel to one of the major cities to experience a fantastic farmer’s market. Ohio has a bounty of farmers’ markets right in your own backyard!
For more food-inspired travel, Find It Here at Ohio.org.