Monday, March 21, 2011

West Side Market

Cleveland is proud to be home to the West Side Market- an open air market featuring hundreds of local vendors that sell everything from meat to fish to fresh fruits and veggies, as well as hard to find ethnic foods and spices.  I rediscovered the market when I moved back to the Cleveland area- and I appreciate what a gem this place is more and more every time I visit.

For someone like me who is making a real effort to buy locally and in season, this place is a god-send.  Every vendor I talked to knew every detail about their product- the meat vendors could tell you what sort of diet the animal was fed, as well as it's living conditions and where it was raised.  The fish vendors shared the difference between farm raised salmon and wild caught, and have a good relationship with all of their fisheries.  The cheese mongers were probably my favorite... mostly for the samples.  The vendor at Meister Foods even told me about the raw honey they sell- how the honey is centrifuged from the combs and where the hives are in Ohio.

Not all of the food is local- but the stuff that isn't is sourced very carefully, and the extensive knowledge of the product is still very evident.  At Mediterranean Imported Foods, they have a large selection of the best olive oils, feta cheeses, mustards and chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, AAAACK!  

As for what I took home on Saturday... I got a big bag full of goods.  Honey, mascarpone cheese, Parmesan cheese, Viennese sausage, Tahini, halva, jasmine rice, coffee and Pierogi's!  Lets just say that I'll be blogging about making hummus and what to pair with grilled pineapple; and breakfast on Sunday morning was awesome with pierogi's with our eggs and bacon instead of hash browns.  

Early Saturday morning seemed like a great time to go, as long as you can plan on being on your way out by 10 or 10:30 am.  The market gets PACKED around 10:30 or 11- so you get less time to really talk to the vendors if you have questions.  Don't be afraid to ask questions!  Ask to feel your fruits or veggies and to smell the fish you're buying.  Ask where the honey or cheese is made.  It's your money, your food, and your body that you'll be feeding, so you should care what goes into it.

No comments:

Post a Comment