Cleveland West Side Market: Revisited

market-logojpg-d33ca4dd39608747A while back many folks commented, shared, and generally went crazy about an piece I wrote concerning the iconic West Side Market.  It wasn’t too flattering.  It was based on my nostalgia of what used to be.  The once groundbreaking market was starting to get a little stale.  Farm Markets were popping up all over the city offering fresh local options that were overshadowing my market.  I stopped shopping at the West Side Market.  I started using a local CSA.  I bought my meats at North Union Farmers Market on Shaker Square.  My fruits I got from Heinens.  I was market free.

However, I started going back to the market a little bit here and there.  I noticed the changes that my little soapbox started.  There is a committee headed up by Amanda Dempsey.  I was asked to join that committee but just had to back out because I just had no time to do it.  I was even contacted by Joe Cimperman.  I lit a fuse and pretty much walked away from the whole thing.  Not because I didn’t care or didn’t want to help, but because I just don’t have the time to add any value.

I am glad I started a conversation that more or less sparked some amazing debate as to the direction of the West Side Market.  Things are changing for the better.  They have secret shoppers, produce quality is up, variety is up, and loyalty is growing again.  There are more options for humane and grass fed meats.  I still have a problem with the local part of the market.  I think we need more farm to table growers to represent at the market.  I don’t like the fact that we continue to promote “local” as the butchers (as in sadistic, not the profession) in Mercer, Darke and the surrounding western most counties of Ohio running inhumane factory farms.

The West Side Market continues to be in the headlines today as they begin plans to offer up additional parking in the near future.  So, things are being done, and at a pretty decent pace.  Now if we could just scrap the hours that were designed for the 1950’s housewife we can call it real progress.  The West Side Market may not be the market of my past however it looks like they are taking great strides to bring themselves into the future.  I continue to watch and praise them for the great steps forward they are making.  We still got a ways to go, but Amanda is really impressing me.


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