Farmers’ Markets Continue to Provide Fresh Local Food During Pandemic

The season for northeast Ohio’s many farmers markets generally starts in May, and as yet, we don’t know exactly how many will be open and how they will function. But it’s a hopeful sign that the handful of markets that are open through the winter have made adjustments and are continuing to provide fresh food of the type it’s important to eat to stay healthy during the pandemic.

After moving indoors for the winter, the North Union Markets at Crocker Park and in Shaker Heights moved outside earlier than the usual April date, with the Shaker Market operating in front of CVS at Shaker Square and the Crocker Park Market in front of the indoor market space.

As of Saturday April 3, the Shaker Market has moved back to Shaker Boulevard but they’ve revamped the setup to limit the number of people in the space at any time and to allow people to stay distanced. Vendors will bag the produce, and no reusable bags with be allowed. SNAP users’ Produce Perks march will be unlimited at this time. It will have its usual 8am-noon hours going forward but 8-8:30 will be reserved for older people and those with other health challenges that might make them more susceptible to COVID-19. The Crocker Park Market, which runs from 9am-noon, will open a half hour early for those at-risk shoppers.

The Countryside Market, which operates in the winter out of Old Trail School in Bath, has gone to a pre-order model they’re calling “Countryside Curbside.” You can go on its website to order produce, cheeses, staples and other local food products, then go to the drive-through market on Saturday to pick up your pre-paid, pre-packaged order. Go here for more details.

The Coit Road Farmers Market in East Cleveland is an indoor market with its own dedicated building, a small treasure too many Clevelanders don’t know about. It’s open at year round on Saturdays from 8am-1pm. It’s still open; its vendors are spaced out and it’s not crowded. In addition, it’s taking enhanced safety precautions. It too is asking customers to not bring reusable bags & to let only vendors touch the merchandise. It’s providing hand sanitizer, paper towels and gloves at the entrance for customers. At this time of year, you’ll find meat, root crops, greens, baked goods, meat and cheeses, as well as such value-added products as salsas and jams. And it’s offering unlimited Produce Perks for SNAP users.

In addition, the West Side Market is still open during its usual business hours. If you’re more comfortable ordering ahead and doing a quick pickup, you can go online for a vendor list here. Curbside pickup is available, and the city has created short-term pickup zones along Lorain and West 25th.

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