Cincinnati’s Findlay Market is Ohio’s oldest surviving city market house (it opened in 1855), and it just happens to be a year-round market. The indoor portion of the hub hosts aisles of local merchants hawking fresh seafood, cheeses, Belgian waffles, pasta, spices, tacos, meats, prepared foods, and gelato, while the perimeter of the market features stand-alone brick-and-mortar storefronts selling everything from Asian sundries to loose leaf teas. On the weekends, farmers sell their produce, flowers, and fresh herbs in the outdoor pavilion space.
Situated in the revitalizing Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, Findlay’s embedded in the community and continues to add new programs. This summer they’ll launch DIRT: A Modern Market, a store that will sell the same things the weekend outdoor farmers’ does, but it’ll be setup during the week as well as the weekend. Another program called The Kitchen at The Market will enable chefs and artisans to rent kitchen space at Findlay and experiment with creating foods. Findlay is open six days a week, but a weekend trip to the market, especially in the warmer months, promises bustling families, dogs, and couples strolling with their totes. With year-round activities—including the famous Opening Day Parade in April—Findlay’s one of best places to visit in Cincinnati, every week.
Garin Pirnia, who has a weird, made-up name, is a freelance arts and culture writer and has written for Rolling Stone, Esquire, Mental Floss, and many other publications. Twitter: @gpirnia.
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Blue Oven Bakery: Their bread loaves are baked in a wood-fired blue stone oven (hence the name) and are sold mainly on the weekends at Findlay Market. The breads usually sell out fast, but on this particular day they had some loaves leftover. Their English muffins are so good that buying the mass-produced versions would be shameful.
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Colonel De Gourmet Herbs and Spices: Need sazon? A rub? Maybe some vanilla beans and cardamom pods? Possibly some filé powder? If you can't find the spices you need and want at the Colonel, then forget about it.
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Dean's Mediterranean Imports: This storefront sells everything from black (beluga) lentils to freshly made vegetable samosas, and everything Mediterranean-based in between. Tip: The black lentils taste meaty and delicious in a kale ragout.
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Dojo Gelato: One of at least two gelato options at Findlay, Dojo uses local milk and ingredients to concoct interesting flavors such as Vietnamese coffee gelato, strawberry balsamic gelato, olive oil gelato, and horchata sorbetto. They also make affogattos (espresso and gelato), and in the summer they dispense their goods from a mobile truck.
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Farmers' Market Pavilion: The main outdoor pavilion brings in local farmers to vend plants and produce, from spring to fall.
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Indoor Market: Over 50 merchants sell their foods from stalls inside Findlay.
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J.E. Gibbs Cheese: Inside the main market, Gibbs Cheese sells all kinds of cheeses, from Irish to Italian to French. They also offer locally made butter, and meats.
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Madison's Produce: At this family-owned grocery—it's been at Findlay for almost 20 years—you can purchase fruits and vegetables grown on the Madison's farm.
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Madisono's Gelato: Madison's also makes their own gelatos called Madisono's Gelato, the Italian version of their last name. Flavors such as berries and cream, caramello and sea salt, fior di latte, and café mocha are sold at Findlay, as well as at local Kroger stores and restaurants throughout the city.
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Maverick Chocolate Company: Maverick's been open for less than a year but their handcrafted chocolates have already won awards. They're one of the only bean-to-bar chocolatiers in Ohio, and best of all, they give out free samples of their chocolates: 70-percent Belize dark chocolate, espresso dark chocolate, and the spicy Fahrenheit 513.