11 May 2008

Findlay Market: PACKED!

I've been going to Findlay Market regularly for several years, since before there were Sunday hours and such a thing as the Corporation for Findlay Market. In those days I often wondered why the parking lot was so big. Although I occasionally walked I never once needed to park beyond the first section adjacent to the playground.

Well, those days are over. The Market is routinely packed, never moreso than this past Saturday. Maybe everyone got a gumption injection after reading Valereee's "How to shop at a farmer's market" post at Cincinnati Locavore.

It can be a pain dealing with the increased human density, with the traffic congestion and parking hassle (and waiting 5 min to buy one chocolate cream puff), but it's nice to see the market and vendors doing great business. The plan is for the Market to wean itself off municipal subsidies and become self-sustaining but I'm not sure what the status of that is currently. The evidence certainly suggests it's progressing in that direction, and a couple of stalls are still available.

(I'd like to see a new stall specialize in poultry products. Ostrich, quail & quail eggs, duck & duck eggs, squab, pheasant, and maybe other stuff that just tastes like chicken. I'm puzzled that ostrich is not more widely available at the very least.)

The Market is a distinctly un-grocery experience. I've enjoyed conversations with vendors, customers, even the clean-up crew. I've had prices routinely rounded down to the nearest round number and I've been given "a little bit extra." And where else can you see someone with the nerve to sell her pumpkin pies for nine dollars?

Factoid: Gibbs Meat & Cheese sells 24 logs of Limburger every week. Somebody out there is buying that stuff. It's one of my goals this year to try it. I would also be interested to know if Limburger eaters have a statistically significant preference for a particular Presidential candidate, or if a particular Presidential candidate has a preference for Limburger.

I recently met another gustatory goal, trying head cheese. I tried Ussinger's brand from Krause's. It looks different from other brands; it has large chunks of meat embedded in gelatin. I found it to be a very problematic meat concoction. I usually don't have a problem with texture as much as some people do but this was way out there. Neither taste nor smell were redeeming. I might try a different brand another time but that time will be a long way away. I would not vote for someone who likes Ussinger's head cheese.

20 comments:

Wes said...

We happened to be down there as well on Saturday (just after noon). It was so nice to see the place as full as it was.

And yes, we're going to continue to shop there, and possibly increase how much of our shopping is done there (Jawa Girl's job makes it a challenge, but not an insurmountable one).

WF

The Dean of Cincinnati said...

I have always thought it would be a good business move to have a vegetarian/vegan stand there.

CityKin said...

They really need a Mexican store. I know they have tried to get one, but they need to try again.

Urban said...

it seemed packed, but then again we were seeing double from the wine tastings at Market Wines!

valereee said...

I used to be able to show up at 8:30 and cruise right into the parking lot outside the farmshed. No more. I'm routinely parking on the street now. I'm glad for the success, but I wish I had a reserved space! :D

Thanks for the shout-out!

UncleRando said...

Fantastic...I can only imagine what business will be like once the streetcar is built.

WestEnder said...

Good points... especially reserved spaces for longtime customers!

There is definitely space for expansion of the Market area if streetcars give impetus. Commercial space exists all around the Market area.

Technically, any businesses that locate there would be independent rather than part of the Findlay Mkt. Corporation, but the NE strip (the Madison's side) is already independent, so one doesn't have to be part of the Corp. to operate or succeed.

It will be very exciting to see what happens.

Julie said...

re: head cheese and limburger; my grandmother always had them in the house growing up. Head cheese I can deal with; the limburger was the kind in a jar and I was never brave enough to try it. She relished a rye, onion and limburger sandwich (and warned everyone to avoid her!).

Anonymous said...

I'm 58 and have been going to the market for 55 of those years and strongly disagree with the statement that it's packed more than it used to be. Produce vendors used to start at Elm and not only run down both sides os the market house to Race, but continued beyond Race. The few left, sell things that don't have near the freshness of the past(eg. Garlic from CHINA?) What's that about? No more kids selling shopping bags and incense to make a few bucks, which to me was a great lesson for making an honest buck. Just goes to show throwing money at things and using the word Corporation just lessens the quality. I still attend the market, mostly for the indoor vendors like Lukens and Gibbs and a few others that have maintained the quality and feel of the market I grew up with, Sad to say, but the produce at Country Fresh Market is not only more fresh, but many times less expensive.

valereee said...

Anonymous, but when are you comparing it to? Five years ago? Fifteen? Fifty? I'm sure that fifty years ago the market was bustling. Then came the turn toward modern convenience foods, and a place like Findlay just plodded along, waiting for times to get better. Right now, it's experiencing a renewal of interest, just as many local food producers are. It may seem a shadow of its fifty-years-ago self, but it seems to me it's more crowded now than even this time last year.

Anonymous said...

Valereee, I'm comparing it through all those years, I've never stopped going to the market. It NEVER plodded along at all, the renewal you talk of is a bunch of politicians and for the lack of a better term, yuppies taking it over and ruining it with a lot of junk and inferior produce. Another thing that's glaring is the LACK of diversity, even though they claim otherwise. I never see many of the same faces from year to year. The poorer folks have been dissed. Really, how can you justify them selling garlic from China. Something's very wrong with that. I tell everyone I know that story and none can believe it. Compare all the produce to other outlets and you'll see the quality and prices are not very good. Having said all that I still go and my addiction for Findlay will probably not go away.

valereee said...

Anonymous, I'm not clear on your point. How have 'yuppies' ruined it, and how have the poor been dissed?

I can tell you that even in the course of a single year, I'm having to park further away even when I go earlier. To me, that says there are more people there. I see plenty of people who appear to be from the neighborhood.

No one believes you when you say there's garlic from China? Why shouldn't there be garlic from China? I'd rather see locally-grown garlic there, and later in the summer you'll find plenty of local garlic in the farmshed, but in the meantime while we're waiting for garlic to come into season here in SW Oh, why would it be so unbelievable that the vendors in the market building are offering garlic from wherever garlic is currently in season?

Anonymous said...

Valereee, you obviously either haven't been around long enough or you're part of the problem. I have been going to the market for a long time and have absorbed the place and the people. That doesn't mean I know everything, but I got a leg up. You keep talking about a single year and I'm talking more than 50. If you knew anything about garlic you'd know it's grown all over this country and in other southern countries. The garlic capitol of the world is in Gilroy, Ca. China's history of terrible human rights violations and their total lack of environmental concerns eg. wheat imports and still trying to meet mandated air standards for the Olympics should tell you something. Do you REALLY think we should be eating any food from there? I think maybe your newfound greeness is fogging your mind. No offense intended just use a little more common sense, or as my grandfather used to say, uncommon sense. If it was common,more people would have it!!

valereee said...

If you're going to imply I'm part of the problem, I'd appreciate it if you'd at least post non-anonymously. I don't respond to people who attack me anonymously.

Tom Kistner said...

Attack!!! If you think of a spirited discussion and, or, disagreement as an attack I have no choice but to think you probably are part of the problem. I'll not only post my name, but meet you at the market and discuss it over a cup of Joe. Everyone that knows me will tell you that I'm one of the most laid back people you never met. Stop being so defensive and listen with an open mind. All is not as it appears. Take care, Tom

Anonymous said...

Tom, if you'll stop focussing on what you think I'm doing/saying wrong and instead on the issues, maybe we can have a discussion. Calling me part of the problem and telling me I'm being defensive is focussing on ME, not on the issues. Yes, name-calling is an attack. Let's get back to the issue, shall we? How have the yuppies ruined it? How have the poor been dissed?

Happy to sit down at Findlay when I'm back in town.

Val
(out of town, can't log in. Back the 28th.)

Tom said...

Val, out of town? Probably in China trying to find more inferior goods to bring to market:) How has it been ruined? Turned into a corporate entity which forced the best of the produce sellers to bail out, along with some of the inside folks. People selling junk all along one side of the market. Sometimes there's more of that than produce. A special area where local growers sell alleged ORGANIC plants and veg.'s at inflated prices. For many years there was a guy that scetched the market and he was there EVERY Saturday drawing. I'm not sure if something happened to him or not, but I NEVER see him. If he's still around he probably thinks as I do that the market has just lost that special feel. I could go on, but we'll see how defensive you act toward this much. Hope you had a good, safe trip. Tom

valereee said...

Nah, you're really just interested in making it about me. Which is just silly, since you've never met me. I finally realized I'm just feeding trolls, can't believe it took me this long.

TOM said...

Whew!! You have no sense of humor do you? I guess since you only pay attention to the parts of my rants that fool with you a bit, you must be totally stuck on yourself. You know, the forest and the tree thing. I don't need to meet you to know what you're about, totally about YOU. Just another of those downtown yuppies that think they know more than they do. You can't defend your ideas so you change the subject and again make it about YOU. How about taking time to actually READ the other things I talk about,life doesn't really revolve around you or me!! Lighten up!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Where in the world is VALEREEEEEEE? She gave up, what a quitter. Probably moved to Alaska to visit her friend Sarah. Come on, if you read this defend your thoughts(or lack of).