This is my foreward to the recently published North Market Cookbook, available at the Market or online (don’t miss the photos at the end of the post by my favorite photographer, Ken Heigel):
When I first moved to Columbus more than ten years ago, I met with the then-food editor at the Dispatch to get her inside scoop on the food scene.
“You have to go to the North Market,” was the first thing she said.
I have been a regular at the Market ever since.
My career in food writing has led me to many public markets: the Farmers Market in Los Angeles, Ferry Plaza in San Francisco and West Side Market in Cleveland. But it’s with the North Market that I feel a special connection.
I’m drawn in by the vendors – the farmers and merchants – selling what they grow and make. They’re artisans, every one, producing some of the best foods customers can get in Ohio.
Jeni Britton Bauer started Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at the North Market and has gone on to be wildly successful nationwide, including with a best-selling cookbook that she’s often referred to as her “love letter to Ohio.”
The North Market is a kind of love letter, too. Innovative people sell what they believe in, what they love, whether its hand-twisted pretzels, hot sauces of every variety or meats from animals they’ve raised themselves.
The North Market had a vibrant farmers market before they became trendy, and still packs in farmers – and customers — every Saturday morning for some of the best fruits and vegetables to be found anywhere.
But the magic of the North Market is more than what’s available for purchase. It’s about the history. For more than 100 years, the Market has been part of the Columbus community.
It’s also about the customers. Whenever I visit, I see local chefs looking for ingredients to serve at their restaurants.
And I see friends, like-minded people as devoted to the flavors and foods of Ohio as I am.
I started going to the North Market on another food lover’s suggestion. But now I’m the one making the recommendation.
“You’re coming to Columbus? You have to go to the North Market.”