Farmers markets bountiful in Akron
By Kathleen Folkerth
GREATER AKRON — Farmers markets bring the farmer to the buyer, and this year, Akron area residents are going to be able to meet a lot more farmers.
Five farmers markets will be up and running this season, with two of them set to open June 2.
That day will see the Cuyahoga
Valley Countryside Conservancy (CVCC) starting its fourth
year with its market at Heritage Farms in Peninsula,
which will be open every Saturday, June 2 through Oct.
13, from 9 a.m. to noon. And new to the area this year
is the North Union Farmers
Market in the parking lot of the Mustard Seed Market
& Café in Montrose, also open on Saturdays,
beginning June 2, from 9 a.m. to noon.
The North Union Farmers Market
is a 14-year-old Cleveland nonprofit organization that
also runs markets in Shaker Square, Parma, Lakewood,
Westlake and at the Eton Shopping Center on Chagrin
Boulevard in Woodmere. The organization has partnered
with Mustard Seed to bring its farmers to the parking
lot of West Market Plaza, at 3883 W. Market St.
“We think Mustard Seed
is doing wonderful things and serving a lot of people,
so we’re in a partnership,” said Danita
Anderson, executive director of the North Union Farmers
Market. She added that Phil Nabors, owner of the Mustard
Seed, approached the organization about setting up the
Nabors said he sees the farmers
market not as competition but as a way to promote supporting
“People don’t get
why we would allow competition,” Nabors said.
“Well, there’s competition everywhere. We
need people to recognize the importance of locally produced
He said the average bite of food
travels more than a thousand miles from farm to plate.
Increasing gasoline costs will affect the price of food,
he added, making it important to take advantage of local
“It makes sense for us
to support local growers whether we’re directly
getting the benefit of the sale or not,” said
Nabors, who added he’d like to host a farmers
market at the Solon store as well.
Anderson said the organization’s
farmers markets are modeled after those in San Francisco
and feature more than just produce.
“We will have good cheeses,
milk and cream, all the wonderful things that
Ohio has to offer, like grass-fed
beef, along with spring greens,” she said.
As the season progresses, tomatoes,
sweet corn, melons and tree-ripened fruit will be added.
The CVCC’s Heritage Farms
market, at 6050 Riverview Road, will actually begin
at 8:45 a.m. this week as it holds a special kick-off
to the season, said Beth Knorr, market manager. Knorr
said the first weeks will feature lettuces, radishes,
sprouts, apples and strawberries. Baked goods, goat
cheese and organic beef also will be for sale from about
“Everybody that was there
last year is coming back,” Knorr said.
Cleveland TV personality Fred
Griffith and his wife, Linda, will be on hand this week
to sign copies of their cookbook. The market also will
feature cooking demonstrations and music.
The market in Peninsula is the
only farmers market in the country to operate in a national
park, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Knorr said.
The CVCC also operates a second
farmers market that this year will move from Downtown
Akron to the grounds of Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens,
located at 714 N. Portage Path in West Akron. Knorr
said the downtown market just wasn’t attracting
as many shoppers as they hoped.
“Stan Hywet is a partner
of the park, so it was a natural partnership,”
The market will begin there July
12 and be open each Thursday through Sept. 27 from 3:30
to 7 p.m. Knorr said visitors to the market will not
be required to pay an admission fee to access the grounds
of Stan Hywet.
As the growing season advances,
there will be two more farmers markets in Downtown Akron.
The city of Akron’s Recreation Bureau is coordinating
its market at Cascade Plaza every Wednesday and Friday,
beginning July 6, from
8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Wednesday markets will tie in with
the downtown concerts held on the plaza from 11:45 a.m.
to 1:15 p.m.
Yvette Davidson, community events
coordinator for the Akron Recreation Bureau, said the
downtown market has just a few vendors, but the businesses
there really want to see it continue and grow for those
who work downtown.
“People want to do things
on their lunch hour, and there’s a lot of people
that work in that area,” she said.
The city also is planning for
the return of the Homegrown Saturday Mornings farmers
market to Lock 3 Park July 28 for nine weeks. The market
also will feature a weekly pancake breakfast and a live
remote broadcast of the Tom Dayton Show on WAKR. Farmers
and vendors will be at the site, adjacent to the Akron
Civic Theatre, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Akron Deputy Mayor Dave Lieberth
said the city expects to have between 12 and 20 vendors
at the Lock 3 market. So far, among those confirmed
is the bakery at West Point Market.
“We want to serve the people
in the central city but also bring people down to have
fun and do something different,” said Lieberth,
adding that there will be children’s activities
and whimsical events like a watermelon drop at the market.
Davidson said she is working
with farmers to help them become part of both downtown
Organizers of the markets said
the addition of the new markets is a good thing for
farmers and consumers.
“It’s about creating
opportunities for farmers,” Knorr said. “If
that’s being accomplished, then that’s a
Anderson, of the North Union
Farmers Market, said ultimately the buyers are the ones
who win when selecting
locally grown foods.
“Eating local is far different
than products you get that travel 1,500 miles,”
she said. “Even if something is labeled organic,
the same product locally grown will be fresher and have
For more information on the CVCC
markets in Peninsula and West Akron, go to www.cvcountryside.org.
For information of the North Union Farmers Market, go
to www. northunionfarmersmar
For more information on the city of Akron markets, go