Columbus, Ohio is more than just the Ohio State Buckeyes and a barren wasteland of chain restaurants. While often referred to as a cowtown by those from more “metropolitan” areas, Columbus has much more to offer than the annual Butter Cow at the Ohio State Fair and weathermen predicting the apocalypse every time it snows.
Columbus-area residents embrace “buying local” – especially when it comes to food. This can mean visiting some of the long-running farmers markets featuring local produce or patronizing member restaurants of Dine Originals. The North Market may be relatively small in size but its impact is huge: Ask Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (now available in 28 states) or Lac Viet Market (expanded to a sit-down restaurant on Bethel Road).
Supporting locally owned businesses makes sense – it keeps the money circulating in Columbus. Small business owners tend to spend their money with other small business owners – a beautiful economic circle.
Here are a few of the best ways to keep Columbus food dollars in Columbus:
Dine Originals Columbus
Dine Originals Columbus is an organization made up entirely of locally owned independent restaurants. Many of its members have been around for years and are often found contributing to the Columbus community via charitable work. These restaurant owners understand the concept of buying local.
As a “thank you” for supporting locally-owned restaurants, Dine Originals Columbus offers gift certificate discounts through a quarterly promotion. The gift certificates are restaurant specific and are available at a 30% savings off of the face value. Be prepared – quantities are limited and these go fast! The other discount program offered is via Dine Original Dollars. Available in any denomination up to $50, quantity discounts are available and the Dollars can be used at any Dine Originals member restaurant. The savings range from 3% on a $300 purchase to a 25% discount for $1000 worth of Dine Original Dollars.
Weiland’s, Hills Market, Carfagna’s & North Market
For carnivores, it’s all about the meat and each of these Columbus traditions does their part to buy Ohio! From additive and hormone free Gerbers Amish Chickens to free-range bison to antibiotic-free beef, each of these meat destinations buys Ohio-grown meats as much as is feasible.
Weiland’s (3600 Indianola Avenue) is known for their 23 varieties of sausage processed on-site. Carfagna’s (1405 East Dublin-Granville Road) is an Italian food lover’s dream with their house-made sauces. The Hills Market (7860 Olentangy River Road) is filled with those “unique” food items, many produced in Ohio. The North Market (59 Spruce Street) can be a one-stop grocery trip throughout the more than 30 vendor stalls.
Clintonville Community Market – 200 Crestview Road
Does your grocery list include organic products? Are you tired of spending your “Whole Paycheck” at the national chain? Clintonville Community Market is a co-op with a product line focusing on organic, local and natural. Yes, you’ll find products from other states at the CCM, but as large as Ohio’s agricultural community is, it doesn’t produce everything.
Clintonville Community Market is open to the public but a reasonably-priced membership does have its rewards. Individual or family memberships can result in 2% to 5% savings everyday. Thursday offers a 5% discount to students with a valid ID. CCM honors the Golden Buckeye card with a 5% discount everyday.
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Sources: Weilands Gourmet MarketCarfagna’sThe Hills MarketThe North Market