Over the past decade, America has seen the gradual blossoming of a broad natural food movement. This movement is due, in part, to books from writers like Michael Pollen and documentary films such as Super Size Me. These works have shown the unhealthiness of processed foods, which (driven by booming urban populations and the decline of traditional rural life) had grown in popularity since the end of World War II.
Americans today, particularly in cities, have demonstrated an interest in getting back to their roots – literally. The surge of attention to what we eat has led to an unprecedented interest in cooking and eating locally-produced food. Many people have left corporate jobs to become farmers or chefs. Beyond the ever-widening availability of organic foods, we have seen “farm-to-table” dining and a rise in gardening, even in urban areas like Over-the-Rhine.
Luckily, all the demand for natural food means an increase in the availability of healthy, freshly-prepared meals, even when we may be too stressed or time constrained to cook them ourselves. Another benefit, from a larger societal standpoint, is a recent flattening of the adult obesity rate in the United States.
Locally, one of the best aspects of this movement is a wider array of seasonal farmer’s markets. Now it’s easy to get fresh, local food throughout the Queen City with dozens of seasonal and year-round farmers markets.
Findlay Market is the crown jewel of Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. Operating since 1855, it offers Cincinnatians everything they could want in a market and more, year-round. It houses restaurants, numerous delis and produce shops, fishmongers, spice sellers, florists, bakers, textile vendors, Asian grocers and even a biergarten.
New shops include a bakery-café, pet supply store and a Vietnamese restaurant. Recent efforts to “Green the Market” have included the installation of solar panels on the market roof, plus waste reduction and new energy-efficient lighting. And as efforts stir to expand Findlay Market and improve its surroundings, it appears that Ohio’s oldest market is poised for a bright future.
We have put together a comprehensive listing of Cincinnati-area farmers markets. We have certainly missed a few, so please feel free to provide some added content to us by commenting on this story. Share the map with your friends and family so that they may take advantage of a farmers market near them. And if there isn’t one, check to see how to get one started in your neighborhood.