Cleveland Clinic’s commitment to healthy eating and sustainable living will grow again this summer when it adds two communities – Strongsville and Avon – to its regional network of farmers markets.
With six markets in Cleveland and its suburbs, Cleveland Clinic will place fresh-picked, local produce within reach of tens of thousands of area residents. It’s the largest employer-sponsored network of farmers markets in Northeast Ohio.
The open-air markets are enriched by events and programs promoting healthier lifestyles – like cooking demonstrations, health screenings and gardening lessons– creating a wellness crusade that supports local harvests.
The season officially begins Wednesday, June 1, with the opening of the flagship market on Cleveland Clinic’s main campus. The Community Farmers Market at Cleveland Clinic will run from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesdays through October 19 on Crile Mall, a comfortable green space between East 98th and East 100th streets, just south of Euclid Avenue.
The market is about a block from the RTA HealthLine and free, one-hour parking is available at the nearby garage at the corner of East 100th Street and Carnegie Avenue. Many shoppers walk to the market, which is within reach of neighborhoods where fresh groceries are hard to come by.
In the coming weeks, satellite markets and farmstands will open at Cleveland Clinic hospitals and family health centers in Beachwood, Independence, Garfield Heights and Strongsville. The market at the Richard E. Jacobs Family Health Center in Avon opened May 18.
Now in its ninth year, Cleveland Clinic’s farmers market program has gained the allegiance of both shoppers and farmers. As many as 35 farmers and craftspeople will sell their fruits, vegetables, flowers, cheeses and baked goods at the flagship market on main campus. It attracts more than 3,000 weekly shoppers.
A distinguishing feature of the Cleveland Clinic markets are the health education programs, which include yoga lessons, cooking demonstrations and health screenings. Nutritionists may offer recipes for items picked at the peak of their season.
“Healthy foods are essential to the health of the communities we serve,” said Michael Roizen, M.D., Cleveland Clinic’s Chief Wellness Officer. “If you look at the products, the fruits and vegetables sold at these markets, you’re seeing foods that are almost exclusively healthful.”
Roizen was instrumental in the launch of the farmers market program, which began with a single market on main campus in 2008 and grew to three markets in 2010. He saw locally grown food as a resource that could enhance community health and sustainable living. He also saw a chance to have some fun at markets that feature folk trios and concert bands.
“The joy of the market is the festival feel,” Roizen said. “This is a festival that fits the Cleveland Clinic mantra – wellness is fun.”
The markets are sponsored by the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, Community Outreach and the Office for a Healthy Environment. Markets on main campus and at the Beachwood Family Health Center are operated by North Union Farmers Market, a Cleveland non-profit that supports farmers markets and local agriculture.
For details on all market locations, days and times, go to my.clevelandclinic.org/services/wellness/patient-resources/events/farmers-market.
- Vendors at the Richard E. Jacobs Family Health Center in Avon (open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays) illustrate the breadth of local agriculture. Miller’s Truck Patch brings Amish-grown fruits and vegetables from Fredericksburg, while Black River Organics provides hard-to-get organic grown fruits, including European pears, from Wellington
- The farmers market at the Strongsville Family Health & Surgery Center (10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays) offers fruit and produce from Luther Farms, one of the region’s few surviving centennial farms. Swiss immigrant Rudolph Luther founded the Richfield family farm more than 100 years ago
- Attracting between 3,000 and 3,500 shoppers every Wednesday, the flagship market on Cleveland Clinic’s main campus is the busiest mid-week farmers market in Greater Cleveland, according to North Union Farmers Market.
- Food assistance programs help extend the customer base into the surrounding neighborhood, where it’s often difficult to find fresh food. The main campus market accepts WIC vouchers and the Ohio Direction Card for SNAP benefits. It also participates in the county’s Produce Perks program. “It’s definitely more than employees coming to shop,” said Emma Visnic, general manager of North Union Farmers Market. “You’re making sure it’s not a food desert in the neighborhood.”
- New vendors at the main campus market in 2016 include Cold Bloom Coffee of Little Italy, a maker of cold-pressed coffees and teas; and Cleveland Kraut, a maker of fresh, fermented, probiotic sauerkraut