Last month was crazy. There was something going on every weekend — multiple things, in fact. Not all of them were gluttonous, either. There was the Goodyear Half Marathon and 10k, roller-skating in Cascade Plaza and the Bigfoot Patrol Bike Rides hosted every Sunday by Dirty River Bicycle Works.
Then there were the festivals. Oh, the festivals. Just look at the last issue of this magazine if you want to reminisce. The music, art and experience of being present at each event made for a gorgeous time. The food and drink, although good for the soul, was, at times, heavy on the gut. Between the jojos, sauerkraut balls, spirits and suds, I imbibed a lion’s share of local delicacies.
That is why I find myself at the weekly Summit Lake Neighborhood Farmers’ Market on this idyllic afternoon. The only cure for eating too many fried and dipped foods is a heavy dose of fruits, vegetables and herbs.
Let’s Grow Akron, with the help of partners including Countryside Conservancy, Haven of Rest and Ms. Julie’s Kitchen, sets up shop in the beautiful Summit Lake Park every Tuesday from 4-7 pm until October. Between five and 10 vendors bring a wide variety of freshly grown, local produce and other products. Some of the vegetables and fruits are grown less than a mile away. Talk about fresh!
The spread does not disappoint at Summit Lake. Think of a vegetable, and you can most likely find it here. Better get to the market early, though, as more popular items can sell out.
Did you know late summer and early fall are the best times to get fresh fruits and vegetables? Not only are all the warm weather crops like tomatoes, peppers and corn fully ripened and ready to be devoured, but the shorter days and cooler nights provide perfect growing climates for root vegetables, lettuce and cole crops like kale and broccoli.
My needs are fairly simple this afternoon: Tomatillos. Picture a small green tomato about to burst from a fibrous husk like Chris Farley in a sport coat. If you’ve had salsa verde, you’ve eaten them. Anyway, I make a killer hot sauce/salsa hybrid with these green beauties alongside some homegrown jalapenos, onion, garlic and a few other ingredients. I proceed to put it on everything, whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. (Ok, maybe not oatmeal.)
As usual, the market offers more than just fruits and vegetables. Baked goods, jams, honey, homemade soaps, crafts, art and other wares are available. There are kids galore swinging and sliding in the playground. Other youngsters are hanging by a table that offers art activities. The Summit Metro Parks now have a nature center at Summit Lake that occasionally has programming during market hours. They’ve also got free canoeing!
Live music serenades us from a grassy nook at the edge of the market. This week it’s jazz and drumming with Dennis Oliver and friends. Last week it was The Bakers Basement, an indie-pop duo out of Cleveland.
You owe it to yourself to eat well and have some fun by checking out the Summit Lake Neighborhood Farmers’ Market. You have until the beginning of October to visit.
Remember, if you don’t eat your vegetables, you can’t have any pudding.
See you lakeside,
Summit Lake Neighborhood Farmers’ Market
Tuesdays, 4-7 pm September 11 thru October 2
380 W Crosier St, Akron 44311
For more information about the market, check out Let’s Grow Akron on Facebook
Let’s Grow Akron Fall Fundraiser
Saturday, September 15, 6-9 pm at Hive Mind
375 W Exchange St, Akron 44302
For more information about Let’s Grow Akron, visit their Facebook page
After growing up outside Boston, Massachusetts Dave Daly traipsed around the country for a number of years before settling in Akron with his family and joining The Devil Strip team.