Best Food for Thought

North Union Farmers' Market at Shaker Square

Now in its ninth year, Ohio's largest city-side farmers' market long ago ceased to be solely about food. The Saturday-morning event, held rain or shine, mid-April through mid-December, has evolved into a free-form celebration of community. Urban farmers can shop for hand-painted overalls to wear while puttering in balcony gardens or buy hand-thrown pottery to serve their organic greens. They can soothe sore muscles with a chair massage or unwind to the sounds of cellos. Then there's the produce, offered up beneath a canopy of market umbrellas that march down the middle of Shaker Square: bouquets of sunflowers, bins of honey-coated spelt, bunches of Japanese turnips, and sides of hormone-free beef, to name just a few. The market's mission statement is simple enough: to educate about the benefits of eating locally grown foods. But for the shoppers who flock here, the real benefit is the chance to reconnect with one another . . . and with themselves.