The North Hill Open Fresh Outdoor Market, every Sunday through Sept. 6, is not your typical farmer’s market. Yes, one farmer’s market is a lot like any other; we have seen quite a few around here. This is Ohio, land of the three sisters — corn, squash and beans — and we plant them, eat them and sell them just as easily as we breathe, and walk, and talk.
But, how can a farmer’s market be different? How can the buying and selling of produce and crafts be different here in North Hill than from any of the other markets in Northeast Ohio? It’s quite simple. This market is all about being local. Not just Ohio local, or even Summit county local. In North Hill the goal is to sell and promote what the people of North Hill have grown or made with their own hands.
The best part about this is that North Hill isn’t a city, it’s an old neighborhood in the midst of a renaissance. Not only is the neighborhood changing how it looks, it’s changing how it feeds itself. A resurgence of community gardens and the now legal use of hoop houses (think green houses without the glass) have many in the neighborhood eager to test their ability to not only feed themselves, but feed their neighbors.
That is where North Hill’s Open Fresh Outdoor Market comes in. Want to find a local artisan that lives less than a mile from your house? Shop there. Want to buy truly fresh kale, or strawberries? How about picking some up from the neighbor’s garden table at the market?
They might have been grown across the street, or even next door to you. How is that for fresh?
Providing local growers a place close to their homes to sell their wares in the community they live in makes perfect sense. You allow them to invest in their neighborhood, giving them a bigger incentive to continue to live there. This means that you can only buy what is currently growing, what is recently made. There will be a larger variety of produce in season as well as local pasture raised eggs as the temperatures climb, but only when they are available.
There is a lot more to this place than just produce, though. You can stop by and watch a cooking demonstration, sip some iced coffee or tea while sitting under the shade of a tree, and visit with local artisans while they show off their crafts, all in a family-friendly, music-infused public space.
This market is, by design, smaller than most markets, which means that children are probably easier to keep track of. There is a children’s table where they can draw or color, listen to a story, or or learn how to interact safely with a dog. Angella Fawn, who runs the children’s table, brings her therapy dog Red Bull to the market as often as she can knowing that he is an easy way to connect with children. On June 26 she will will host special children’s activities that will include a scavenger hunt.
There will eventually be more events, special speakers will be brought in and the vendors will change with the seasons. What you find there next Sunday will be different from what you found there two weeks ago. You will have to go often to get the full experience of the North Hill Open Fresh Outdoor Market.
The one thing that won’t change for now is the location. There are a lot of trees around. The shade they throw down is dappled with sunlight, giving you the feeling that you are in your own backyard.
If you want to become a part of this market and would like to sell your garden produce at the neighbor’s garden table, or would like to buy space to sell your hand-crafted goods, e-mail Beth Vild at [email protected]. She will be glad to help you get started. The Open Outdoor Market takes every Sunday, 1 to 3 p.m. at the corner of Cuyahoga Falls Avenue and Howard Street, now through Sept. 6. Keep a look out for the white tents and canopies.