by Jake Fernberg, Photography provided by Pearl Market
While it may seem hidden tucked away in downtown alleyways, Columbus’ Pearl Market is closer to an institution than you might think. Pearl Market has existed in some capacity since 1996, and over those close to twenty years the market has changed from a farmer’s only affair to a mixture of a famer’s and merchant market. Their market season runs from mid-May to October, and they are definitely worth a visit this summer.
Adam Schroeder, the Market Director, is quick to mention the manifold merits of Pearl Market: the market functions as both an “amenity for downtown” citizens and a “retail incubator”—many market stands have developed into brick and mortar stores after starting out at the market. Pearl Market is also a way to bring a bit of “country into downtown.” Furthermore, the “farm-what-you-grow” policy that the vendors follow also enriches a part of Columbus that would otherwise be considered a food desert with fresh, healthful food.
As summer rolls on, the freshly grown produce sold at Pearl Market will become more diverse. In the coming weeks, the market will begin to offer corn, potatoes, summer squash, garlic, okra, a variety of melons, 20 to 30 different varieties of tomatoes (both heirloom and non-heirloom), and many other locally grown produce.
Beyond just fresh produce, Pearl Market features many vendors of prepared goods as well as the occasional special guest. The New American Deli is a recent arrival to the market, and they are proud to offer a great selection of Ohio sourced and house cured meats. Once a month, Lisa Abraham, the Columbus Dispatch food editor, performs a cooking demonstration with market products and then offers samples of the finished recipe to market shoppers. She will be at Pearl Market July 24, August 21, and September 25.
Pearl Market is located in the alleyways between Broad, High, Gay, and Third Streets. They are open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10:30am-2pm. To learn more about the vendors and the market visit http://downtowncolumbus.com/home/what-s-happening/pearlmarket/.