Saturday, December 23, 2006

A trip to Cleveland's West Side Market

What a great place to shop! Why doesn't Akron have one of these? Seriously, I don't think I can go back to a regular grocery store again. So long Acme. Farewell Giant Eagle. Who needs you and all the petroleum that goes into running your business.

Granted, I'm burning gas to drive to the west side of Cleveland to get to all these goodies, and a great deal of the fruits and veggies on display at the West Side Market come from California and other great distances. However, much as Acme likes to call some of its bigger stores "Fresh Market" Acmes, they'll never be able to equal what I saw today.

The produce aisle formed an exhilerating pallette predominantly composed of greens, yellows, and oranges with browns and creams and reds scattered here and there. Stalls stacked tall with all manner of vegetables, vendors calling out specials and offering samples to prove the quality and freshness of their goods attracted crowds of shoppers.

Signs announced that certain fruits and vegetables were organically grown. One vendor offered me a bag of mixed organic fruit for five dollars. I happily took him up on his offer. I found avacados -- 2 for a dollar. So many lucious items I had to fight my desire to buy more than I needed. Shopping for one is always a striving for economy without waste.

The produce section forms a giant L shape to the rear and side of the market building. In the main shopping market, are a grid of meat markets, bread stalls, dairy and other specialty shops. If I were a meat eater, I would guess this would be the place to find healthy meat. I didn't look too closely, trying to avoid the sight of duck, pheasant and chicken bodies interspersed with hunks of cow and pig flesh. How people can eat sausage is beyond me!

Anyway, I found this very nice UK baked goods shop with a genuine Shephards's Pie for sale. I didn't buy it but I did take a picture of it. I bought a vegetable pastry and a Guiness stout ginger bread.

Another find was a dairy shop that featured local and organic cheeses. I bought some cheddar and pepper jack made in Wisconsin from Grass Point Farms, who use humane animal husbandry and the cattle are grass-fed.

Fresh wild mushroom pasta sounded like a tasty bed to prepare for all those vegetables I'd purchased earlier. One final stop before loading my cloth bags into my vehicle -- to pick up a bunch of flowers.

I'm thinking if we continue to have a globally warmer winter than usual, it might make good sense to shop here twice a month.

Speaking of Shepherd's Pie, what Kinks song has the line:

"What's the point of cracking up all because of Shepherd's pie?"


microdot said...

Great description of your market tour! If you ever are in Manhattan, a real juxtiposition of realities is the Union Square Farmers Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Not the grand variety of prepared products that you portray in your post here, but an amazing array of small farm produce and some real unusual things...where I first learned of Salsify, Celeriac, Burdock and how many varieties of apples there were...also 20 varieties of potatoes, wild game and locally made cheese. Not expensive either.
Some of us rather like sausages in all their glorious varieties!

Village Green said...

Sorry about the sausage comment, Microdot. I never cared for sausage even when I was a meat eater. Too greasy, slimey and spicey -- which are qualities I'm well aware lots of people like in their sausages!

However, the charm of the urban market is that all tastes can be satisfied. Akron has a Farmer's Market in the summer and fall and I go every week when it is open. With all the new development going on downtown, they'd do well to establish a year round market under a roof.