Cleveland has a remarkable restaurant scene, one that consistently surprises visitors from so-called "larger markets." While the exact causes behind the city's remarkable food scene may be hard to pinpoint, there is no denying that access to quality ingredients deserves much of the credit. Long before the farm-to-table trend swept across the national landscape, Cleveland chefs were buying – and preparing – bushels of locally produced foodstuffs. Ringed by farmland – and ever-more-progressive farmers – area chefs have easy access to Amish-reared produce, wholesome dairy, free-range poultry, and grass-fed meat. Northeast Ohio's extensive farmers market system rivals that of cities twice its size.
But farms are no longer reserved for the countryside. Urban farms are invading the city at record pace, transforming craggy patches into lush, productive plots. Cleveland presently boasts one of the largest urban farms in the country, a six-acre claim down the block from the West Side Market. All of these plots – big and small – serve to reduce the $3 billion tab that flows to out-of-county food producers.