Coit Road Farmers' Market will celebrate 80 years on June 2

The Coit Road Farmers' Market was founded in 1932. Photo courtesy Joe Jerdonek.

The Coit Road Farmers’ Market will celebrate its 80th anniversary during market hours on Saturday, June 2 from 8 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The celebration will feature activities for all ages, including entertainment, games, information tables, health screenings and food.

Founded in 1932, the market is located at the intersection of Coit and Woodworth roads, near East 152 Street, and provides residents of Greather Cleveland with access to affordable locally sourced food. Fresh vegetables and fruits, spices, eggs, cheese, baked goods, honey and jams are among the locally grown and crafted items for sale at the market. Prices at the Coit Road market are reasonable, especially when compared to suburban farmers’ markets.

The market's roots date from World War I, when a group of farmers in Greater Cleveland met and began to sell produce from the back of their trucks in Cleveland’s Collinwood neighborhood. In 1932, the group formed a cooperative and purchased property to establish a permanent market. In 2001, The East Cleveland Farmers Market Preservation Society (ECFM) was formed as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization to preserve and continue the market. Operation of the market is supported by rent from farmers, donations and fundraising events.

The four-acre site includes a community garden where members grow produce for family use. An urban farm area allows growers to sell their produce at the market. One of the urban farmers, Gloria Jahlil, noted,  “When you grow fresh food, you are not robbed of nutritional value.” Other farmers travel from Lake, Ashtabula and Geauga counties to bring fresh local produce to East Cleveland. Some farmers are third-generation contributors to the Coit Road Market.

The market is open Saturdays year round, and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., April through November. It is the only fully enclosed farmers market operating at a single site year in Northeast Ohio. Only locally grown or crafted products are allowed to be sold at the market, so customers can meet the grower or preparer and know the source of the food and how it is processed.

In addition to affordable food and garden space, the market supports the community with meeting space, food demonstrations and classes on healthy food preparation. The market collaborates with community organizations and participates in government support programs such as WIC, senior coupons, and EBT Ohio Direction card access for those in the community needing assistance. Foundations support incentive programs that offer matching funds for Ohio Direction Card holders. For additional details, contact the market at 216-249-5455.

Joe Jerdonek

Joe Jerdonek is a volunteer for the Coit Road Farmers' Market, active in community outreach. He teaches business courses at Bryant & Stratton College, and his interests include gardening, recycling, martial arts and supporting local live music.

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Volume 5, Issue 6, Posted 12:55 PM, 05.22.2012