Tucked between Broad, High, Gay, and Third Streets in downtown Columbus is the tiny Pearl Alley. On Tuesdays and Fridays the alley fills with tents, food, and downtown workers during the Pearl Farmer’s Market.
Pearl Alley has a different feel than other Farmer’s Markets in Columbus. It is a lunch hour market, so the vendors tend on the side of homemade food and produce essentials. There are few crowds and none of the ‘get there first before the fruit runs out’ mentality.
On the day Lil and I went in mid June 2011, we saw three or four fresh produce stands selling strawberries, peas, lettuces, and the season’s first zucchini. There were several vendors of homemade sweets, two lovely bread stands, and places to buy meat, cheese, and lunch foods like sandwiches, samosas, and drinks. Several vendors were selling household goods including homemade soap, clothing, and flowers.
Lest you think that Pearl Alley is only for office workers, let me reassure that kids and families are very welcome. There is often a musical act performing, vendors are very friendly with kids, and samples draw in foodies of all ages.
Parking is fairly easy to find at meters on Third, in the garage under the Statehouse, or in the Columbus Commons garage. COTA buses run frequently downtown too.
Lil and I enjoy touring farmer’s markets around town. We attended the opening day of the Easton Farmer’s Market, regularly visit Clintonville and Worthington, and look forward to hitting up New Albany or OSU this week. The Columbus Farmers’ Market Blog just posted a great list of markets by day – there’s something for everyone!
- Bring change for meters or cash for the bus/parking garage.
- Carry cash for purchases or go to the red Pearl Alley market tent to purchase tokens with your credit or debit card.
- Bring an insulated bag if you plan to buy meats or dairy. Downtown is hot with all the pavement and you don’t want your food to spoil.
- Come hungry. There are so many great choices for lunch!
- Be ready to picnic. There aren’t a lot of seating options at the market, but just across Broad Street is the Ohio Statehouse with lots of benches, stairs and grass perfect for picnics.
- The Pearl Market is open 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 17 through October 28.