When chef Ethan Snider aimed to break into Cincinnati’s food scene, he chose a farmers’ market as his entry point. His Summuh Artisan Hummus debuted at the Madeira Farmers’ Market in 2012. As Snider expanded to other markets (including Hyde Park, Montgomery, Findlay, Loveland, and Blue Ash) he wasn’t just hawking hummus; he was building relationships with farmers and gathering culinary inspiration. Fond, the Montgomery lunch spot he opened earlier this year, features a rotating menu almost entirely sourced from local growers and purveyors (including Jaybird, Turner, Can-Du, and Our Harvest farms). “We’re not just selling hummus,” he says. “We’re selling the idea that you can create a wealth of meals out of the farmers’ markets in this area.” We followed Snider around the Madeira market on a recent Thursday evening as he dished tips for getting a sustainably sourced dinner on the table.
Shop around. “Go to each farmer and buy a little something— whatever their specialty is—from each of them and put a meal together,” Snider says. “Spread the love.”
Buy protein like a pro. Snider sources meat from TS (Tim and Tiffany Shinkle), Eaton, and Finn Meadows farms, favoring organs and obscure cuts for Fond, where the head cheese sliders and beef heart Reuben have quickly won fans. He suggests that home cooks start with cheaper cuts like flank or chuck (save the bones to make stock). Or get some burgers for the grill. “The ground beef here is amazing; it tastes so much better.”
Think seasonally. “When I started, I talked to the farmers, and they all asked, ‘What do you want?’ I said, ‘I want what you grow.’ I want whatever they have, whatever’s in season. It helps me change things up,” he says.
Tap your inner chef. “Just come and see what’s available, what’s fresh. Talk to the farmers, get to know them. You can have the same relationships with farmers that I do. You can buy the same things. I’m just chef-ing them up.”