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What happens to farmers' markets in the cold?

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Posted at 11:00 AM, Oct 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-15 11:00:27-04

CINCINNATI -- Summer at the farmers’ market is a good time – strolling and browsing, chatting with your farmer. But then the leaves start dropping, and the party’s over – till next spring. After all, who wants to sell their wares, or buy them, outdoors in frigid temperatures?

But what if the band had just moved to a new venue? An increasing number of local farms – and markets – are finding ways to supply customers beyond the April/May-through-October season for outdoor markets. Some of the markets move indoors. Some have programs that connect patrons with farms that continue selling – and, often, growing – through the winter. Many CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) -- a subscription service where customers sign up for a regular delivery of produce -- continue through the colder months. 

Turner Farm of Indian Hill, for example, grows greens outdoors straight through the winter, both in a high tunnel, greenhouses and in the ground, covered with fabric that lets light through.

Below is a list of some of the area markets/providers that may have folded their tents but have decidedly not gone into hibernation. Expect to see more crafts, winter keepers like potatoes and squashes, lettuce, turnips, carrots, mushrooms, micro-greens, eggs and meats, bread, preserves. For greens, it’s always best to arrive early. Some markets, like Madeira’s, keep it lively with musical acts. Keep in mind that if your farmer is not on the list she/he still may be able to supply you; many local farms have winter CSAs or can sell directly to customers.

Anderson Farmers' Market runs till mid-December, indoors at Center Station, 7832 Five Mile Rd., Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April and May also are indoors.

Boone County Farmers Market will be open “weather permitting” every day of the week after Thanksgiving (6028 Camp Ernst RoadBurlington, KY -- boonecountyfarmersmarket.org).

The Farm Market of College Hill held its last full, outdoor market of the year on October 8. Some of its vendors will continue selling indoors at the College Hill Coffee Company beginning today, October 15 (6128 Hamilton Ave. at North Bend Rd.); Thursdays, 3:30 - 5:30 p.m.; Happy Hour will return with half price beer and wine by the glass from 4 - 6 p.m. Additionally, Our Harvest Cooperative (ourharvest.coop) will distribute CSA boxes on site.

Findlay Markets permanent facility is open year-round. Many weekend vendors who will not be set up outdoors in winter will nonetheless sell their produce through the market’s storefront at Dirt: A Modern Market (131 W. Elder St., adjacent to the main market), open Tuesdays through Sundays. A few hardy vendors will sell outdoors through winter, on Saturdays and Sundays, 8.a.m - 2 p.m., except for when the weather's extreme.

Gabriel’s Place farmers market in Avondale is held indoors until December or January. Thursdays 4 - 6 p.m., 3618 Reading Rd. Avondale.

Lettuce Eat Wellin Cheviot, skirts the issue of moving altogether by holding its farmers market indoors year-round, “for your shopping comfort,” at Cheviot United Methodist Church, 3820 Westwood Northern Blvd. Fridays, 3 - 7 p.m.

Madeira Farmers Market has moved from its summer base to Madeira Silverwood Presbyterian Church (8000 Miami Ave. Madeira, Ohio 45243), Thursdays 3:30 p.m. - 6 p.m. Some vendors, like food trucks, sell from the parking lot. Most will be indoors.

Starting October 21st, Northside Farmers Market will be held indoors at North Church (4222 Hamilton Ave.). Wednesdays, 4 - 7 p.m.

Ohio Valley Food Connection connects local farmers and households year-round through an online ordering and delivery system, with pick-up at Northside Grange Pet and Urban Farm Supply, 4116 Hamilton Ave. More pick-up locations to be announced soon.

West Chester Farmers & Artisan Home Producers Market, (West Chester Towne Centre and Center Pointe Drive off Union Centre Blvd.) is open all year but on select dates only during the cold months, moving indoors to Muhlhauser Barn this year for the winter market (westchesterohiofarmersmarket.org). Check their website for schedule.

Wyoming Farmers Market folds its tents but only partly shuts down. According to Wyoming’s website, “The market organizes temporary CSA, with biweekly pickups. With online ordering direct from farms. Our vendors will still have product available over the winter. However, none of us wants to be standing in the middle of Oak Avenue with the snowflakes falling.” 

Not on the list? Please contact me at burman323@gmail.com or @JennyBurman.