Once rare in Cleveland, farmers' markets have followed the Starbucks growth model in recent years. For freshness and quality, they can't be beat, and the summer harvest season is the prime time to visit. To help you shop the season's offerings -- sweet corn, melons, tomatoes, and more -- here's a rundown of some of the best.
In Summit County, the Countryside Farmers' Markets, operated by the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy, offer two locations. The "country" market at Peninsula's Heritage Farms (6050 River Road) is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon through October 7. The "city" market, at the corner of East Exchange and South High streets in downtown Akron, operates from 3 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays through September 28. For more information, contact the market manager at 330-657-2538 or visit www.cvcountryside.org.
With roots stretching back nearly 80 years, the Coit Road Farmers' Market (15000 Woodworth Road) serves the East Side year-round, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Visit www.coitmarket.org for more info.
The prolific North Union Farmers' Market continues to sprout new offshoots. Find them at Shaker Square each Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon through December 16, at Crocker Park in Westlake each Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through December 16, at Stearns Farms (6975 Ridge Road in Parma) each Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through October 1, at Lakewood's Masonic Temple (15300 Detroit Avenue) on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. through October 4, and at Eton-Chagrin in Woodmere Thursdays from 3 to 7 p.m. through September 28. For details, call 216-751-7656, or visit www.lkwdpl.org.
Better late than never . . . The sign is up, the help-wanted ads are running, and the dining chairs are finally in the house -- albeit still wrapped in plastic, as of last week. So it seems entirely believable that Michael and Liz Symon's long-awaited Lola (2058 East Fourth Street, 216-621-5652) will reopen for business sometime in the next few weeks.
Originally located in Tremont, the contemporary American bistro closed 17 months ago, with the Symons' Mediterranean-flavored Lolita taking its place. Initially, the duo (who have since gone on to open their third spot, N.Y.C.'s acclaimed Parea) hoped to relaunch Lola by October 2005; construction delays threw a wrench into those plans.