By Charlotte Wasserman
A few weekends ago, I visited the North Union Farmers Market in Shaker Square to see what it was all about. Right when I arrived, I knew that I needed to write about, because while everyone knows about farmers markets, not everyone knows what a great source of fresh produce they are. All of the produce that the vendors sell comes directly from their farms, meaning it is some of the freshest you can get. Everyone should try to experience the fun I did on a Saturday morning and visit their local farmers market. Here’s a list of my favorite vendors, so if you find your way to the North Union Farmers Market, you know where to go.
Goodell Family Farm. The Goodell Family Farm sells maple syrup, which I have not tried yet, but I was so tempted to. Their maple syrup is homemade the old-fashioned way, by tapping trees and boiling the sap. They sell everything: maple salad dressing, maple glaze for meats, maple fudge, maple pumpkin pecan pie, and maple syrup drop cookies. Also, on the first three Sundays in March, they have a family pancake brunch at their farm that you can visit and enjoy with friends and family.
Bee Balm Creams and Soaps. Bee Balm Creams and Soaps sells handcrafted soaps, lotions, lip balms, and candles that are all made with beeswax and natural essential oils. There are no dyes or artificial scents in any of their products. After talking to the owners, I found out they make all of their products the old-fashioned way, because it is the best method to fix dry skin or treat eczema. Their philosophy comes from their childhood, when their mom used to make similar products for them to help their skin. I made sure before purchasing a lip balm, shampoo, body bar, and lotion that the ingredients were all natural and that it wouldn’t make my skin break out, because I have very sensitive skin. I am happy to say that I’ve used it for a few nights now and it is definitely gentle and effective. My skin looks and feels great!
Yellow House Cheeses. Yellow House Cheeses sells meats, eggs, and of course, CHEESE! All of their goods come from cattle on their farm. This farm has been family owned for seven years. When I visited this farmers market, the only cheese I tasted was Towner’s Road, and it had an amazing creamy and crumbly texture. No other cheese I’ve had in my life has ever tasted as good as this one. You can buy their cheeses to have as an appetizer, to put on top of salad, or in whatever way you can imagine. I have not tried any of their meats, but they raise their own lamb, pork, chickens, ducks, turkeys, cattle, and goats.
Walnut Drive Gardens. Walnut Drive Gardens sells strawberries, raspberries, tart cherries, blueberries, beans, sweet corn, tomatoes, and peppers. Since 1862, the Sal family has worked on Walnut Drive Farms, and it has been passed down through six generations. Currently, they own 230 acres of land to grow all of their fresh produce. I got to try the sweet corn and the tomatoes. The sweet corn was perfect for my farmers market salad, and it was one of a kind. I have never tried corn as crisp, sweet, or fresh. The tomatoes were very big and juicy which is something rarely found at a grocery store. They tasted like a mix between a vegetable and a lollipop. It sounds strange, but it really works.
After I visited the farmers market, for fun, I made a salad with all of my fresh produce. Here is the recipe:
Fresh Farmers Market Salad Recipe
- Put lettuce greens in bowl or on plate.
- Wash fresh tomatoes.
- Cut fresh tomatoes thin, and add them on top of greens.
- Get fresh corn on cob.
- Put corn on cob into tin foil.
- Get onions and cut them into thin circular slices. Put them on the tin foil with the corn.
- Season onions and corn mix with pepper, salt, and olive oil.
- Put corn and onion mix on the grill.
- Keep watching corn and onions until they are fully crispy and brown, then take them off grill and keep them on the side of salad.
- Take grilled corn cob and use a knife to cut off corn so the kernels come off.
- Take the Towner Road cheese, corn, and onion, and sprinkle them on top of the salad.
- Then for the final touch, drizzle balsamic and olive oil on top of salad for the best taste.
Where are the produce mentioned above from?
Lettuce- Firefly Farm
Tomatoes- Walnut Drive Gardens
Corn- Walnut Drive Gardens
Onions- Firefly Farm
Cheese- Yellow House Cheeses
North Union Farmers Market has been around for 23 years and has accumulated around 300 vendors. There are eight locations around Cleveland, including Crocker Park, Shaker Square, Legacy Village, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Clinic main campus, Playhouse Square, Sunset Market in Van Aken, and University Hospitals. If you need any more details about this farmers market, make sure to check their website. It lists the exact addresses for each location, tells you the dates from when they are open, and shows how you could sign up to be an vendor.