sheep shearing demonstration was a big hit at the opening of
the North Unionís Farmerís Market. (Photo by Larry Bennet)
century version of market day at Crocker Park
By Thea Steinmetz
Published DMay 11, 2005
had predicted rain for the opening day of the North Union Farmer's
Market. Mercifully, he was wrong. Crocker Park was the place to
be. Promptly at nine o' clock in the morning the opening ceremonies
were presided over by Donita Anderson, market director and Barbara
Franzen, the president of this not for profit organization. It is
the sixth market of this type in the greater Cleveland area and
by early accounts, will become a new tradition.
blessings for the market was offered by Father Donald Snyder of
St. Ladislas. He brought a smile to the many present with his opening
remarks of: " As we gather this morning in the sunshine..." Fittingly,
he blessed the marketplace with a bundle of Italian parsley, dipped
in Holy Water and prayed for the farmers in the hope of a good harvest.
The many shoppers
and onlookers were already in the aisle before the official opening.
The sparkling white tents lent a feeling of celebration. The question
on many minds was "what could possibly be offered so early in the
season.' The answer is simple, plenty.
grown selected salad greens from Akron were the hit with many shoppers.
At 75 cents a head, they were a good price. Sold with the roots
still attached, the greens stay fresher longer.
Frank and Linda
Stanek came all the way from Mansfield and wanted everyone to know
that their Frank-Ly Organic farm soon will bring fresh tomatoes,
cucumbers, zucchini, apples and a variety of sweet and hot peppers,
as well as ten varieties of lettuce to Crocker Park.
Market, located in Auburn specializes in heirloom and ethnic vegetables.
They promise to bring the best super sweet corn later in the year.
For this day they sold spicy sprouts that add a punch to any salad.
Even sprouted sunflower seeds were available.
Closer to home
merchants included Hanson's Greenhouse in Olmsted Falls offering
herbs from their own greenhouse. Uncle John's Plant Farm, also from
Olmsted Falls found favor with the spectacular gardenia standards
at a reasonable price, with large white and fragrant flowers. Dean's
Greenhouse sold their own annual flowers and vegetable plants.
free range eggs and organic beef from Rose Ridge Farm in Waynesburg,
Ohio. The owner, David McMaken said he traveled exactly 90 miles
to Crocker Park.
fresh ice cream was sold and how it is made is a story in itself.
This is not an easy endeavor. A John Deere tractor provided the
churning power and one buyer said "that is the hard way to make
Dr. Ed and
Mary Beth Mansour of Fairview Park were happy to see the wonderful
artisan breads from Breadsmith in Lakewood. This franchise operation
is owned by Sabina Kretzchmar and she bakes bread daily in the old
crusty European style with the best of ingredients.
of Olmsted Falls had a great time, just looking around, making some
purchases and saying " this is wonderful". She met friends she had
not seen in a long time and was surprised at the overall festive
The same reaction
came from Lynn Brady and her husband, Kenneth, the Councilman of
Ward 5, where Crocker Park is located.
the Planning and Economic Director of Westlake was there to take
it all in. In addition to the North Union Farmers Market moving
into this city, he is also very pleased with the opening and the
success of Trader Joe's right next to the outdoor market.
of the New American Bistro, a longtime purveyor of fine restaurant
food, kept his omelet pans busy. His samples melted in your mouth.
With the addition of fresh spring herbs of chives, parsley and lovage,
it was the best omelet I ever had. He was quick to give credit to
the free range chicken eggs used.
be back in coming weeks to show how to use other fresh products.
He is a great champion of organically raised beef and will offer
suggestion on how to use it.
Roger Cooley have been life long residents of Westlake and are a
bottomless fountain for the historic information of this area. Roger
remembers that this was once a great grape producing location. During
the depression, the growers could not sell their harvest. Ethnic
people in Cleveland had earlier bought the grapes to make wine.
With that source of income gone, they had to come up with another
idea to utilize the grapes.
It was then
that a cooperative of wineries was born. They started to make wine
from their own grapes and the bottles could be kept till they found
Also, it was
fitting that a sheep shearing demonstration was part of the opening
day festivities. On the very spot of this event, sheep were grazing
during the earliest part of Westlake's history. It was amazing how
often I was asked "did you see the sheep shearing?"
It is impossible
to cover all the purveyors. Among some of the busier stands were
the sweet fudge, the Amish cereal, granola and luscious rhubarb
looking, buying and sampling, it was a great morning to meet neighbors
and old friends. It may well be that a community that once thrived
on fresh produce farming is establishing a 21st Century version
of the farmers market of days long gone by. Judging from the reaction
of those that came for opening day, this market will thrive. "I
won't have to go to the West Side Market anymore" was one shopper's