Sun 1/19 @ 3PM
Steve Corso is the kind of guy who is always interested in healthy eating. The gardener, who has a background in botany, is always the guy at the party or farmers market talking about different uses for beets, cardoons and radicchio.
It’s this interest that recently led him to the creation of nonprofit The Food Shed, which Corso hopes will streamline the farmers market experience in Northeast Ohio.
CoolCleveland: What exactly is The Food Shed?
Steve Corso: Honestly, it’s more of an aspiration at this point. It’s a nonprofit I started over a year ago. I want to establish at least one place that functions as a year-round, everyday indoor farmers market — basically selling produce on consignment, as well as prepared foods, but all local. It may be like a large café, a big space for seating that can also be used for cooking and fermentation classes, food-centered social events, educational talks, and farmer meet-and-greets.
CC: How did you land on the concept?
SC: I sort of realized the farmers market business model is broken. If you want to make money, you’ve got to drive to different markets five days a week and hope people show up in that four-hour window. It’s kind of a flawed system to actually make money and to reliably get local produce. There’s a reason people go to the grocery store for the most part, and that’s because those are open all of the time. So I want a store that is open more or less every day, kind of regular grocery store hours.
CC: Can you elaborate on your vision for The Food Shed?
SC: It’s like a consignment store combined with a space to teach how to prepare food, how to preserve food and experiment with crops. I got the consignment food store concept from Local Roots Market & Café in Wooster. I’m surprised how many people still don’t know about it. It pioneered this model, especially like an art gallery where you have multiple vendors in one place selling stuff. The farmers set the sale price and every two weeks they get a check. There are food cooking classes. We’ll have a space with home-grade kitchen equipment where you can gather people together to teach them how to use these crops.
CC: That explains the January 19 fermentation workshop event.
SC: Yes, lacto-fermentation is one of the ways our ancestors preserved food. That’s one of the tools that the community — how to save produce so they have it all winter long.
CC: Granted, The Food Shed is just getting off the ground, but are you envisioning a permanent location?
SC: Yes, I’ve been thinking that the east side of Cleveland has been more neglected for local food. We have (North Union) Farmers Market at Shaker Square, which is great, but I’ve been looking at Cleveland Heights as a place for this.
CC: Finally, how soon do you hope to have your own place?
SC: I’d love to have it as soon as possible, but I need to get a strategy to raise money. My goal is to have it by the end of this year, but we’ll see.