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Summer by bike; CityFresh puts the community in CSA

Marc Lefkowitz  |  06/15/11 @ 9:19pm

What's not to enjoy about summer? As we sit on the back patio and take measure of the flowers all coming to bloom in the garden and mulberries ripening, I hear the neighbor's teenage son pushing the reel mower and a pack of kids riding bikes down the street.

It's the best time of year to enjoy the fruits of local farms and the sites of green from the perch of two-wheels.

I rode my bike to the Cleveland Clinic farmer's market from Wade Oval today, and noticed for the first time that it's nearly impossible to make a left turn from Euclid heading west into the Clinic (I spoke to a Clinic employee who confirms that the Cleveland Playhouse may be the first left turn opportunity). This results in a rather awkward situation. The Clinic employee informed me that Clinic Police bike patrol officers will be leading bike tours of the HealthLine and Clinic campus noon on Wednesdays from the farmer's market at E. 100th-so maybe we can find a solution.

The same employee told me that 2,200 people attended the opening of the farmer's market. She also said many were taking advantage of the EBT ("food stamps") now being accepted at all North Union Farmer's Markets, and reminded me that Gund Foundation's grant to supply a $5 match for EBT is in effect.

I also biked past the CityFresh fresh stop at Coventry Library last night. What struck me besides the long line of weekly share consumers, were the generous portions this Community Supported Agriculture doled out. I spoke to a woman who buys a half season of the CSA. She told me half and full season shoppers skip the line. She buys a $15 single share and in her bag this week was a head of red leaf lettuce, bok choy, snow peas, garlic scapes, a quart of strawberries, a cup of 'pepper butter' and onions ? enough to fill a decent sized canvas shopping bag. I quickly calculated from memory of shopping at the Shaker Square farmer's market that, bought individually, she's coming out ahead. CityFresh, I'll be back.

City Fresh Coventry was featured in the most recent issue of the Heights Observer. Toni Thayer writes: "Over the course of the summer, shares get gradually bigger with the harvest. The produce contains familiar favorites, but farmers also include some exotic vegetables. Learning how to prepare Japanese eggplant and kohlrabi is part of what customers enjoy."

What stands out about CityFresh is it really puts the emphasis on community in CSA. As Thayer points out, the interactions and sharing of ideas makes the fresh stop, especially the ones in the public space like the Peace Park in Coventry, a vital place.

On this my third straight day (of the week) of bike commuting, I really ease into the feel of moving at a slower pace and soak in my surroundings (while keeping an eye on the road). University Circle is an explosion for the senses tonight as Wade Oval Wednesday kicks off. With a cool breeze at my back, I roll past the SmartHome with its easter egg shell and gorgeous interior lit up, past the Cuban food truck selling veg paella and pork sandwiches and the festival on the oval framed by the cool globes and the R&B band cranking up.

* * * * 

See presentations from the Healthy Homes Advisory Council of Greater Cleveland's 6th Annual Symposium, including the process for deep energy retrofits and the city's new green building standard. 

A New York City cyclist's video of being ticketed for riding outside of the bike lane includes his hilarious attempt to prove the point of the dangers of riding in the bike lane when cars park there or when construction barrels block the lane.

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