Rachel Tayse Ballieul is an urban homesteader, food educator and blogger at Hounds in the Kitchen . Rachel is passionate about the local food movement, and posts in-depth reviews of area farmers markets on her blog.
Choosing the top farmers markets in Columbus is quite a task, as markets number in the dozens now and change with the seasons. Ultimately, my selections reflect the qualities I look for in a market: convenience, community and quality.
The North Market deserves a place on this list for being the oldest farmers market and the one with the most options for shoppers. Their Saturday market is full of quality vendors and the indoor market is open seven days a week. In addition, the North Market schedules musicians and many food festivals to entertain and educate guests.
You'll find me at Pearl Alley Market many Tuesdays and Fridays. Being that it runs from 10 am - 2 pm, it is convenient for downtown workers and parents of small children who tend to go a little bananas at the late afternoon markets. Pearl Alley visitors seem to be all business, which suits me just fine when I'm running through to stock up on local produce for a cooking class.
Clintonville - community, convenience and quality
Held on Saturday mornings, Clintonville Farmers Market is my go-to community farmers market as it is within biking distance of my home. A wide variety of vendors offer meat, cheese, and baked goods in addition to produce and honey. Clintonville is also where I bump into many friends among the vendors and shoppers. Contributing to the social feel are helpful volunteers, musicians, and information tables every week.
Honorable mentions: The Olde Worthington Summer Farmer's Market topped the straw poll I ran on the Hounds in the Kitchen Facebook page . It is one of the biggest (and most crowded) markets in town, the place most locavores go if they need a single stop shop. I also admire the Easton Farmers Market and New Albany Farmers Market that joined the suburban farmers market lineup in 2011 to provide local foods on Thursdays in the afternoon and evening.
You may find that your favorite market is the one closest to home, the one with your favorite vendor, or the one which is open at a time convenient to you. With the proliferation of direct-to-customer offerings, there are plenty of options to explore.