Pearl Market Moves to Gay

Pearl Market

Pearl Market opens Friday, May 24 at 10:30 a.m. and big changes are in store. With the Rhodes State Office Tower under renovation for the 2019 season, the market will pop up every Tuesday and Friday on Gay Street and Pearl Alley.

The 2019 season brings a new market manager. Sam Sharkey brings fresh ideas (and some farming experience) to the market this year. See what to expect and get to know Sam below. 

Farmers will make up more than 25 percent of the market this year, and they promise a huge selection of produce. You'll find everything from rhubarb to raspberries, asparagus to kohlrabi. Not sure what kohlrabi is? Talk to a farmer on Gay Street to find out. Remember, you'll only find in-season produce so talk to a farmer about that, too.

Some of your favorite vendors like Fornof Farms, 8 Sisters Bakery and Blueberried Alive! return this year. You'll also meet new vendors, including Morning Dew Hop Farm, Ohio Pies, and That Mushroom Guy. But, to get a full rundown, check out the complete vendor list

Since Pearl Market spills out onto Gay Street this year, area restaurants will also cook up specials based on what's in season in the market. So, fill your shopping bag, grab a bite to eat on Gay Street and get some new recipe ideas. 

SNAP customers can double their spending power at the Pearl Market when they use their Ohio Direction card thanks to Produce Perks. Produce Perks expands access to healthy, local food by providing bonus fruits and vegetables to SNAP/EBT customers.

Before you go, meet the woman who works behind the scenes at Pearl Market.

Sam, tell us a little about yourself: Background, hobbies, interests.

I’m a yoga instructor, rock climber, and general outdoor enthusiast. My current project: building my first permaculture garden beds!

Growing up in central Ohio, I’ve been playing in the woods and dirt my whole life. After earning my BA in Theatre from OSU, I traveled internationally for a while, volunteering on organic farms and working at a cattle ranch along the way. But the lure and love of home are strong, and Columbus called me back. I live in Franklinton, where in my free time I play ukulele on my front porch and enjoy when the neighborhood kids ask to play.

Why are you excited to be part of Pearl Market?

Pearl Market connects large, diverse urban populations with small-town values like knowing your neighbor, enjoying nature, and belonging to a community. Not only do urbanites and rural folk learn from each other, but economically disparate parts of Columbus, do too—a community where CEOs and SNAP/EBT shoppers both find value. Fresh food, sunshine, and good people have always added to my happiness.

This is a new adventure for you, but how do you envision the market?

The market can be a treat in the middle of a hectic workday, an excuse to sit outside, a way to make new friends, or time just for yourself—even on a half-hour lunch break.

Lastly, keep an eye on the market’s website and Facebook for recipes, contests, and giveaways. And, don't forget to stop by the welcome tent for a free Pearl Market tote bag when the market opens.