BUY LOCAL: 14 GO-TO FARMERS MARKETS IN COLUMBUS

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AUDREY CARSON

APR 18, 2019

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IMAGE VIA PARKWAY VILLAGE | FACEBOOK

It’s pretty clear: there is no better way to start a Midwest weekend than outside talking with your neighbors and scooping up fresh produce, meats, dairy, and even handmade crafts. Whether you seek organic, antibiotic-free, humanely-raised, or artisan goods, most everyone can get behind supporting local farmers. You’ll find the freshest produce May through October, and nothing beats filling a tote with greens, reds, and yellows (we’re talking about cheese, of course).

So, grab a plate of your favorite local snacks and pore over this list to find the Columbus-area market closest to you.

Worthington is the home to one of central Ohio’s only year-round farmers market. From May to October, you’ll find the market in the heart of historic downtown Worthington, where local shops and pedestrians reign. The WFM team carefully screens each vendor, so you know you’re getting only the best. Once a month, bring your mat for Yoga on the Green, free for all ages. And during the chilly months, head to The Shops at Worthington Place right off of Route 23 for more of the goods, even when it snows. Outdoor season: Saturdays, 8 am to 12 pm, May to October | Indoor season: Saturdays, 9am to 12pm, November to April

Recently joining the year-round gang, over 50 vendors head to Olde Town Pickerington on Thursday evenings. In addition to fresh meats and produce, this market is a great spot to grab dinner. Check out the wood-fired pizza stand or the ever-popular mini donuts (they’re mini — how bad could they be?). As a major bonus, when the weather turns for the colder months, the market seeks refuge at Combustion Brewery. Have a pint while you’re there! Thursdays, 4pm to 7pm, June to September (outdoors) | October to May (inside Combustion Brewery).

West side, represent! A group of residents founded the Westgate Farmers Market in 2016 to address a community need for healthy, locally-produced food in the Hilltop and Westgate areas. In addition to the Saturday markets, the group also holds an annual Farm to Table dinner fundraiser, including drinks, live music, and locally-sourced meal prepared by a chef. Not bad for the new market on the block! First and third Saturdays, 9am to 1pm, June to October.

Head to the south side for home-grown goods and home-cooked food. You’ll also find something few markets have — a guest chef! Each week guest chefs use food straight from the market to demonstrate how you might use the ingredients once you get them home. That is, if you don’t devour those raspberries in the car. Saturdays, 8am to 12pm, May to September.

Head to the east side for the CW Farmers Market, setting up in the downtown square. Vendors will be chatting not only with you but with their neighbors and friends around them — everyone seems to know each other here (and it’s great). And be sure to pop into a local shop or two while you’re in the area. Saturdays, 9am to 12pm, May to September.

Once you catch your breath from spitting out the name, head down to Broad Street for this farmers market tucked into the beautiful grounds at the conservatory. Your admission is free if you’re just coming for the market, which means you can save some cash for all the seasonal goodies you’ll find here. And eco-lovers will want to stay for the live cooking demonstration — they use solar power! Wednesdays, 3:30pm to 6:30pm, June to September.

Running 30 weeks each year, the Clintonville Farmers’ Market is a bonafide producer-only market, meaning the vendors personally grow or make everything they sell. You heard that right — it’s all local and legit. Over 60 producers are at the market that runs along North High Street. And there, you can find free parking for bikes, wagons, and strollers at Baer Wheels Bike Corral. Saturdays, 9am to 12pm, April to November.

The entire community of Westerville comes together for this weekly market, setting up just north of historic Westerville’s downtown district. A local church offers a covered tent with chairs and free lemonade for market visitors to take a load off from carrying around pounds of produce. The market even has a vendor mentor program so seasoned vets can help introduce new vendors to the spirit and culture of this well-loved weekly gathering place. Another perk for you? Tons of parking. Wednesdays, 3pm to 6pm, May to October.

While not a true ‘farmers market’, the 400 Market offers folks in rebounding Franklinton a chance to shop local and quirky. The market is housed in a century-old renovated warehouse and hosts vendors who grow food, raise livestock, knit clothing, and even carve wood. While the produce may dwindle during the cold months, there is plenty to peruse year-round. Second Friday of each month, 6pm to 10 pm, year-round.

Nestled between Dublin and Worthington, this Christmas tree lot now pulls double duty the majority of the year as a farmers market. Even better? All proceeds from the market support Hope Thru Housing, Inc., a residential substance abuse program in Columbus. So bring your heart and your wallet — and remember to come back for a tree in December! Monday to Friday, 10 am to 6 pm; Saturdays, 9 am to 6:00 pm; Sundays, 9 am to 5 pm, April to December.

Vendors at the Bexley Farmers’ Market get more than an arena to sell their fruits and veggies; they also score sustainable business opportunities, thanks to partners such as the Compost Exchange and Produce Perks. Got your produce all washed up but no place to go? Check out the BFM blog which includes recipe ideas for your haul. Thursdays, 4pm to 7pm, May to October.

The New Albany Farmers Market is the overachiever of the group (is anyone surprised?) with over 80 vendors at the market in recent years. You’ll find food trucks, live music, and vendors selling anything from cheese to honey to classic tomatoes and beans, and most are certified-organic or all-natural. Head to Market Square, and grab a map! You’ll need it. Thursdays, 4pm to 7pm, June to September.

A tradition for over 25 years, The Pearl Market has promised farmers, purveyors, and merchants a space to sell their quality goods. Oh, and with four food trucks rolling around this year (like Pitabilities), a stop here is pretty vital. This year, The Pearl Market is occupying the north plaza of the Ohio Statehouse (at least until they finish the nearby construction on the Rhodes Tower). Tuesdays and Fridays, 10:30am to 2pm, May to October.

It’s mid-week and your fridge is completely empty except for ketchup and mustard — sound familiar? Then it’s clearly time to stock up on fruits, vegetables, sustainably-raised meats, honey, and so much more at Dublin Farmers’ Market every summer Wednesday. Vendors pack into the parking lot of Oakland Nursery to mix, mingle, and serve the community. Wednesdays, 3:30pm to 6:30pm, May to September.

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