If I happen to be away on vacation, or in an unfamiliar area, there are always two things I look for to get my bearings, and to get a feel for what life is like there – public markets, and farmers markets. On this particular date, we were in Logan at the Inn at Cedar Falls, so making the trek down to Athens to visit a market with a reputation for being so good that we hear about it all the way in Columbus seemed like a no-brainer.
Athens Farmers Market comes by its reputation honestly. Located in a large parking lot, the size of it is massive. Think Worthington but bigger. There are all kinds of things – prepared foods, produce, artisan cheese, baked goods, meat – the possibilities for making good, clean, and fair meals are endless. This place is Slow Food heaven.
This is just a single example of a vendor at Athens – see the beauty of that produce? Yeah, I know – I’m weird. I find produce beautiful. Think that it’s one of the best things to photograph, think that the nuances that nature puts in each type of fruit or vegetable are what macro photography is made for. The beauty was overabundant, since we were in the height of the growing season at the time.
But this – this will make me come back down to Athens again. If this is the only thing I get, it was worth the 90 minute trip each way. Crumbs Bakery’s Veggie Pizza, a thick crusted (for a good reason!) slab of yeast goodness, topped with all manner of veggies and cheeses. If it grew in the ground, it’s in there, and topped with cheese. Oh. My. God. We scarfed this in the car, and went back to look for more and were so sad that they had sold out that quickly, as they did with most of their goods.
Did you all know that Crum’s sells down there too? Neither did I.
One of the places I was told to absolutely not miss was Integration Acres, with their fresh goat cheeses. We got a selection to take home with us, because we were totally impressed with nearly all the samples.
It was here that I saw the first shell beans of the season.
One of the prepared food stands, Ali Baba’s, has absolutely wonderful beef & potato kofte. We’re planning on going again this weekend, and hope they still are selling these.
And we saw a lot of stuff that’s available to us locally here as well. Like grapes, although they seemed to have more selection there.
While it’s not practical for us to go to Athens every week, we were so impressed that we’ll be going at least a couple of times a season. Including tomorrow. More about that later.