One of my goals for this year is to find more local sources for food, and to step outside of my normal routine in regards to which farmers markets I go to. After all, each market has its own look and feel and set of vendors, and I just might be missing out on something good.
With that in mind, my goal today was to stop at three (relatively) local markets, just to get a feel for them.
First up was Westerville, where I saw a few familiar faces (Flying J, Mockingbird Meadows). There weren’t tons of vendors, maybe 7 or 8 total, but I was able to pick up a few things – some spelt flour at Flying J, and also some radishes and a Rhode Island Red Heritage chicken from Frijolito Farms.
Another standout at Westerville was Rohini’s Chutneys, who offered about 10 different types and many different spice levels of chutney – I started with the mildest of the the three, mango, cranberry, and tomato, and plan on working my way up from there on each subsequent visit. These will taste lovely with some goat cheese and/or brie.
From there, it was off to the farmer’s market in front of Whole Foods in Dublin (since I had to go to Trader Joe’s to pick up something anyway), which while very small (only 3 vendors total), gave me the one thing I was looking for – strawberries (yay!!). I’ve been eating these mostly out of hand, because they’re so sweet and juicy. I got 2 quarts, and doubt if they’ll last until the markets on Saturday. Ohio strawberries are my favorite part of spring.
Right next to the guy with the strawberries, was a vendor who had these huge juicy grape tomatoes that I couldn’t resist. I ate them last night with some fresh mozzarella balls, thinly sliced onion, and a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Pure bliss.
Thinking that we were going to hit the jackpot as far as sourcing new local products (just look at this list of vendors), we took a road trip about 1/2 hour or so south of Columbus to Lancaster where we hit the farmers market there. We were a bit disappointed with this one – it was a bit of a drive (although not too long), and only 3 or 4 vendors were there. We did pick up a few baked goods (pepperoni roll, mini pecan pie), and some green onions and easter egg radishes. They tell me that more vendors attend as the growing season progresses and then mainly on Saturdays. So now we know for the future that we’ll have to hit this one on a Saturday, in August or so.
So which of the weekday markets are your favorites? Which one should I hit next? I’m thinking of going to the Athens market next Wednesday, anyone want to come along for the ride?