By Mark Horning
With all of the amazing advances in shipping and transportation as well as a leaning towards locally grown items, fruit items that were once difficult for local chefs to procure are now easily available in most neighborhoods. Summertime means outdoor picnics and patio dining and nothing sets off an open air dining experience better than fresh fruit either in various combinations or added to the grilled offerings. Here are some local places that stock the hard to find fruits as well as the common varieties all aimed to give your next dinner experience a little extra zing.
West Side Market
1979 W. 25th St.
The West Side Market has been in continuous operation since 1840. This gothic looking structure on the corner of W 25th Street and Lorain Avenue in Cleveland’s Ohio City area has served generations of professional chefs as well a serious home cooks who demand the freshest of ingredients. If you cannot find it at West Side Market, it is simply not available. Of the 96 total venders’s stalls at the market, 27 of them specialize in fruits and vegetables and are located in the enclosed walkway located on the north and east sides of the building. The market is open year round with days and hours: Mondays and Wednesdays 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed Tuesdays and Thursdays). Shopping Hint: For really great deals hit the stalls in the last two hours prior to days off (Mondays and Wednesdays) and shop various stalls for the best deals.
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5640 Pearl Road
Chuppas Market got its humble start over 40 years ago with Paul Sr. transporting tomatoes for local growers. Eventually the family ran stands 36-38-40 at the West Side Market for 30 years when Paul Jr. got the idea in 2006 to open their own market at the site of the old Carolyn’s Restaurant on Pearl Road. This family run business gets high praise from their legions of loyal customers who travel from as far as Akron to shop each week. Along with a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables there is a deli counter as well as prepared foods, party trays and specialty baskets. Hours are Mondays and Fridays 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and in the summer months Saturdays 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
North Union Farmers Markets
13111 Shaker Square, Suite 301
North Union Farmers Market is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes locally grown foods at their various open markets. The organization got its start at Shaker Square but has expanded to six new sites including: Crocker Park (Saturdays), Chagrin Falls (Sundays), Cleveland Clinic Main Campus (Wednesdays), Legacy Village (Sundays), Playhouse Square (Thursdays) and University Hospitals (Thursdays). Each market features “certified producer only” meaning that each farmer agrees only to sell food they have raised themselves. Closer to market means less transportation time and fresher food. For more information concerning hours go to the web site listed above.
Tremont Farmers Market
This is one of those delightful pop-up markets that offer a little bit of adventure to your shopping experience and a great place to take the family. You never can tell what you can find at this market but will be an experience. Set up is on Tuesdays only from 4 to 7 p.m. Street vendors offer a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as prepared foods. After shopping, take a stroll through the park. There are usually performers to entertain you and it is a great place to picnic. Local restaurants abound in the area around the park as well as some great bars.
Sun Plum Market and Deli
13425 Brookpark Road
Sun Plum Market began as an open air market in Willoughby Hills in 2008. They now have two locations (Willoughby Hills and Brookpark) with plans to open a third market this year in Lyndhurst. Sun Plum specializes in stocking their bins through a network of 100 local growers bringing the freshest items to the family table. They are committed to their customers whose first grocery stop is here. They offer a wide range of fresh fruits and produce, a deli, grocery section and bakery section as well as some meats. Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.