|Farmers Markets proved to be a bright spot for us during
the pandemic year of 2020
One aspect that helped make 2020 much more bearable for us was the continued operation of a few select various Farmers Markets around the area. While some farmers market within the 270 Loop of Columbus decided that it wasn’t feasible to run the usual market festivities, Clintonville and Worthington, with the assistance of local businesses and entities, were able to modify things enough to keep running their markets running, as well as markets in the suburbs like Reynoldsburg, Granville, and Canal Winchester. While the markets didn’t have the bustle which makes these events so enjoyable, we were simply happy that they were an option to begin with throughout the prior year.
2021 has seen the return of farmers markets around the area as a whole. A few markets are operational now (Clintonville, Worthington, Westgate, North Market and Granville come to mind), with many more coming back online by the end of May/beginning of June (for a convenient handy online guide, check out this Columbus Monthly article detailing what’s open and when.) With that in mind, this week’s blogpost and associated playlist pays homage to the farmers markets around the area, highlighting both of the products and associated vendors that we’ve encountered as well as those you’ll encounter at events throughout the next several months (playlist is embedded at the end of this post.)
1) Filipino Treats – leading off our local farmers market tour is one of the more unique baked goods vendors in Uncle Giant, who combines more traditional baked goods with some Filipino specialties such as Pan De Sal (a versatile snack bread roll) to their Tokels, known as Polvoron in the Philippines. Their most decadent of the latter treats is the “Millionaire Tokel Deluxe”, which coats a bit of decadence (Yema, a Filipino style Dulce de Leche, and dark chocolate) onto the base-model tokel. Leading off our music is Sheffield, England’s ABC, whose “How To Be A Millionaire” is taken from their 1985 album release “How To Be a Zillionaire!”
2) Homemade Hummus – plying their trade since 2017, the folks who run Hummavore and its organic/locally-sourced hummus have been a common sight at a number of the area’s farmers markets as well as other local outlets like the Bexley Natural Market. Hailing from Belarus, relatively new on the scene singer Poni Malta sports a modern pop sound on her newest single “Hummus”.
3) Ice Pops – local area farmers markets have seen their share of delicious ice pop makers appear over the years, from veteran vendor J-Pops to newer arrivals like Too Good Eats and Rime Time Pops. Recording mainly for Blue Note records, the jazz piano trio The Three Sounds gained a national following from their constant touring and their appealing hard bop/jazz sound, including our track “Popsicle Pimp” from their 1969 “Soul Symphony” album.
4) Hot Sauces & Salsa – if you’re a spicy heat lover, local farmers markets are a great destination, with vendors like Chuck Evans’ Montezuma Hot Sauces and Salsas, Spicy Mike’s Hot Sauce, Uncle Timz, and Double Comfort. You can guarantee that their customers are fans of the cowbell, as they already “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” (Carolina Reaper, in this case), the Blue Öyster Cult tune now emblazoned into many peoples’ minds who saw the Saturday Night Live sketch from 2000.
5) Coffee – Unsurprisingly, area farmers markets have their share of excellent coffee vendors, including Silver Bridge, Ramble Coffee, Bean Aroused, Two Roasting Joes, and Bottoms Up. Multilingual Korea-based singer Stella Jang provides us the cream for our cup of java; her songs tend to relate with every day travails, and the smooth sounds of “Under Caffeine” fit that bill perfectly, with Jang waiting for caffeine’s magic to help her take care of all the things she’s got on her hands.
6) Cheese – They say the way to many people’s hearts is through a glorious piece of cheese, and you’re not without your choices at area markets, with Kokoborrego, Blue Jacket Dairy, Fromagerie and Black Radish all worthy sellers of this dairy deliciousness. Appropriately enough, Richard Cheese (aka actor/comedian Mark Jonathan Davis) and Lounge Against The Machine is the perfect candidate to add to the gooey goodness here, with their lounge/swing versions of popular music, such as his cover of Young MC’s “Bust A Move.”
7) Jams and Jellies – Market vendors would like you to get jelly and jam over to their booths every week, including vendors like (but not exclusive to) Ann’s Raspberry Farms, Sweet Thing Gourmet, Foraged and Sown, Royal Cottage and Impossible Jams. We spread this category with a little old-school hip-hop with Newcleus’ “Jam On It”, a song that became a breakdancing standard when it was released in 1984.
8) Mushrooms – another local unique farmers market story lies with Telario Watkins II, who turned a Cub Scout project as a 7-year-old (not to mention part of his parents’ house) into a thriving mushroom farm and related business (Tiger Mushroom Farms) selling his goods at area markets; he has also leveraged his success into roles as a food activist and youth leader. Being a “fun guy” (haha!) himself, Les Claypool, the distinctive bass player/leader of the band Primus, has released a couple of solo albums on his own, including “Mushroom Men” from the 2009 “Of Fungi and Foe” long-player.
9) Honey – honey is a sneaky good pickup at farmers markets anywhere, as the honey you find is almost pretty much influenced by what the honeybees find in the surrounding terroir and will provide a wealth of taste variety as a result. Ohio’s terroir and related produced honey are represented well at farmers markets by vendors like Hinton Apiaries, SaraBee Honey, Conrad Hive and Honey, Latshaw, Honeyrun Farm, and a few others. Hometown indie folk band Caamp provides the hive mind harmony here, with the track “So Long, Honey” from their 2016 debut album.
10) Pickles – many market-goers in Central Ohio are more than happy to get themselves in a pickle whenever they spot The Crazy Cucumber booth, whose home-produced pickles in a variety of flavors have earned them a loyal following since the late 2010s. As I’ve uncovered more than once, the next music artist, Lost Cucumber, doesn’t have a whole lot of information out on the Interwebs on him – all I know is that our musical selection, “Epicenter”, sports a nice house/electro beat and a good groove in a brief two-and-a-half minutes.
11) Turkish Delight(s) – yes, Tulip Cafe does have homemade Turkish Delight available at their farmers market booths, but don’t stop there – everything is worth a try from their Simit, Borek, Egg Noodles, and Baklava, and they’ve proven they’ve got dinner-skills as well with a couple of Trust Fall Dinners via Columbus Food Adventures. Another Turkish delight is our song we chose here, pop singer/actor Murat Boz’s “Uçurum”, from the EP of the same name and one of a number of his Turkish Top 20 hits.
12) Brownies – You will never lack for baked goods vendors at area farmers markets, so we decided to highlight one which has a higher purpose in mind. Fourteen Twenty Nine Bakery, the brainchild of Amanda Caldwell, not only creates delicious baked goods like their signature brownies for public consumption, but also uses her business to help out victims of human trafficking in the area. The 1992 song “Brownies” from Mexican hip-hop duo Lighter Shade of Brown provides our musical groove here; their biggest hit came two years prior with their Top 40 single “On A Sunday Afternoon.”
13) The Farmers – Well, you can’t have a Farmers Market without the farmers, right? Instead of specifying individual vendors (of which there are way too many to mention) we thought we’d honor everyone of you with Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers ode to the farming goodness in “Circle I”, off their 1988 album “Modern Lovers 88”. Unlike Jonathan’s farm, we’re guessing that most of Ohio’s farmers are not “naked in their field” but agree with Jonathan that you “cannot top their yield.”