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Aging Connection

Farm markets and stands link Ohio's past, present and future
Fresh, locally grown produce is good for the body, mind, spirit and community

Aug. 22, 2012

Seasonal farm markets and stands are increasingly popular in communities across the country and especially here in Ohio. Markets typically open around May, and their selection continues to change with the seasons. As we enter late summer, markets still have several good weeks left, and they will wrap up with a bounty of locally grown pumpkins and apples. Local farmers' markets teem with vibrant produce, vivid displays and people of all ages.

Farmers' markets provide benefits for an individual's body, mind and spirit:

  • Farmers' markets provide benefits for an individual's body, mind and spirit.Body - Nothing is fresher, tastier or healthier than produce straight from the fields. In addition, shopping at a market provides opportunities for physical activity and socialization.
  • Mind - Fresh produce in its raw state can engage all your senses, and learning about growing techniques, nutrients and how to prepare different vegetables from the men and women who grew them is mentally stimulating and satisfying.
  • Spirit - Buying locally supports farmers and businesses in your community while giving you a sense of contribution. It also helps the environment, because it takes less energy and effort to go from the field to your table.

Cleveland's West Side Market is one of northeastern Ohio's oldest institutions, with its origins dating back 140 years. It is more than a place to shop for produce, baked goods, cheese and meats; it is part of the Ohio City and Cleveland cultural experiences. The market has over 100 vendors and welcomes more than one million visitors annually. This year, it is celebrating its centennial at its present location with a street festival and finale gala.

Many older Ohioans grew up on farms or with large gardens that fed their family and others. If they lived in towns, they may recall the vegetable man making deliveries or making trips themselves to the farmers' markets before there were supermarkets. 85 year old Clevelander Raymond Tamburro remembers, "When I was about 12, my mother would send me on the street car from Cedar Hill to the West Side Market on Saturdays. I'd come back with big bags of vegetables for our family (of eight)."

Alex James, 91, of Columbus, reflecting on the Great Depression era, said, "Mom would walk to the East Market on Mt. Vernon Ave., basket in hand, to seek the best bargains at the vegetable and meat counters within..."

Farmers' markets and roadside stands have become seasonal destinations. Check out one and you might see old friends catching up or new friendships starting. You may also spot grandparents showing their grandkids how to pick out the freshest produce. Markets can and will serve future generations by helping build and reunite communities.


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About Aging News and Perspective

Aging News and Perspective, published by the Ohio Department of Aging, is a blog-like publication that connects interested Ohioans to news and information about issues affecting older Ohioans and the people who care for and serve them. Topics include the latest resources and best pactices within the aging network, state and federal programs and benefits, pending and recent policy and legislation that may impact older Ohioans, the latest research in gerontology and aging issues and more.

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