Spring = Farmer’s Markets!

5 04 2010

On the first weekend of the winter thaw, the North Union Farmers Market came out from its indoor hibernation.   Since January, the NUFM has cozily kept warm in its den behind Dewey’s Coffee in Shaker Square.  Last Saturday (4/3/10), the farmers, ranchers, bakers and artisans basked in the warm Cleveland sun (I know that’s an oxymoron, but I swear it was actually warm) at one of its spring/summer/fall home at the center of Shaker Square.

The opening pageantry included live Alpacas, live music, and live sheep shearing! (as any farmer’s market opening should)  Everyone should witness a 270lb man firmly holding down an thoroughly irritated sheep while liberating it from its winter coat at least once a year… how symbolic of our great people being freed from the grips of Jack Frost.

A picture of alpacas for those of you who just thought "WTF is an alpaca"... become their fan on Facebook... NOW!

Enough with the poetic images.  The market set the stage for the season with a great showing of “the best in fresh, local vegetables, fruits, flowers, bedding plants, poultry, maple syrup, eggs, honey, pork, baked goods, dairy, grassfed beef and more!”… OK I just ripped that off their website, but I didn’t feel like typing all those things… but its true, and you can’t beat that.  While exploring the market, I was impressed with the variety of local meats.  I was tempted to pick up some veal shank for Osso Buco, which looked awesome, but I had to settle for some veal steaks due to portion size (if only I had the time… maybe next week).  Still, I’m super pumped for dinner this week… I’ll get back to you on how awesome they were.

As close to Osso Buco you can get with you getting your eyes wet (Old Greg Reference)

I was impressed with the floral selection.  Maybe because I haven’t seen anything that colorful and green in 5 months.  Also, while I was browsing, I was tempted into some baked good from Zoss Swiss Baker (which I used to live down the street from and kick myself for not knowing) or Lucy’s Sweet Surrender (featured in the late Gourmet Magazine (RIP) and the Food Network… yea they’re that good).  And grab a crepe before they run out… never again will I hesitate to buy one.

But, as for the fresh veggies, don’t come with your hopes too high.  It is still out of season for most of the more vibrant varieties.  You might have to settle for some hydroponic greens (and I’m talking the legal kind) or some less visually appealing, but surprisingly  delicious, root veggies.

The NUFM at Crocker Park will be opening on April 10th from 9am-1pm… So, come for the food and stay for the sheep shearing (or the other way around… whatever floats your boat.)  I’ll see you there!

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