Countryside Farmers’ Market: The Best of Ohio’s Homegrown Bounty
What has so far been the Summer of Yard Weeds, Incessant Rain, Rampant Bugs, and Pale Legs, has left me searching for any redeeming qualities of the season. I mean, we’re approaching mid-July here, and my tan currently ranks somewhere between ‘glowing white’ and ‘Nicole Kidman.’ (Can you relate? Please tell me you can relate.)
So, I think it’s time to throw in the beach towel, go faux-tan, and focus on my other summer-season interests. Like exploring farmers’ markets.
My hands-down favorite farmers’ market in the area is Countryside Farmers’ Market at Howe Meadow in Peninsula, Ohio. It’s located in the middle of the picturesque Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and is open 9 AM-Noon each Saturday, May-October.
What to Expect
Besides their one-of-a-kind location, they have over 50 vendors providing a perfect mix of organic veggies, artisan cheeses, fresh-baked breads, gourmet pierogies, homemade honey and jams, grass-fed meats, and lots, lots more.
All vendors are required to be the actual producers, so you’re assured items are top-quality. (Items can also be top-dollar; ‘artisan’ ain’t cheap.) This also means you will not find avocados, mangos, pineapples, etc.; sadly, tropical fruits don’t like it here.
My recent take-home finds included saffron pasta and spinach gnocchi from Ohio City Pasta (one of my favorite indulgences), lemon chevre and black pepper feta from Lake Erie Creamery, organic yellow zucchini (gorgeous!) and broccoli from The Red Basket, and pastries from Summit Croissants.
What to Eat
They also have ready-to-eat food, which of course I had to sample. Last Saturday, The Orange Truk was there dishing out corned beef hash wraps, sammies, and their highly-addictive Trukballs (better known as fried risotto balls, or arancini). They alternate Saturdays at the market with Zydeco Bistro’s food truck, FYI.
Meanwhile, Spice Kitchen + Bar’s ‘Spice of Life’ Catering crew was serving up some tempting chorizo and veggie brekkie burritos. They’re on my list for next time.
If you want something less filling, you can grab a pastry from one of the vendors, local fruit ice pops, or even a boring cup o’ coffee.
What Else to Do
What’s great about Countryside is that you can build it into an entire day of fun in and around the park. You can hike trails, bike the Towpath, ride the CVSR to and from the market – it’s all right there. If shopping and more eating is your thing, you’re only a short drive from Peninsula and Hudson. For our wine-o friends (we have one or two), you’re right around the corner from Sarah’s Vineyard. If you want a craft beer, you’re super-close to my favorite Winking Lizard.
Another great feature is that you can use your debit card to get tokens on-site that work like cash. Every vendor accepts them. Several vendors like Lake Erie Creamery use Square to accept cards. This is awesome for the Perpetually Cashless like me.
If you can’t make it to Peninsula on Saturday mornings, Countryside has a slightly smaller market each Thursday from 4-7 PM at Highland Square in West Akron, May-early October. AND they have an indoor winter market, too. More on that later.
You have until October 26 to get up to Countryside Farmers’ Market at Howe Meadow, but I suggest going sooner. Much sooner. Grab some market goodies, go for a hike or bike, and explore the local area. It makes for a great Saturday, and you might even get a little sun….if you’re lucky.
Countryside Farmers’ Market at Howe Meadow
4040 Riverview Road
Peninsula, OH 44264