Solon’s Miles Farmers Market is a Cleveland-area institution, offering fresh, local produce, meats, seafood, baked goods, homemade salads, and more

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Miles Farmers Market store managers Frank Cangemi, Jr. (left) and Justin Golobek offer fresh, local produce along with Ohio-raised beef, fresh seafood from the world’s oceans, freshly-baked bakery items, house-made salads, delicious, made-from-scratch prepared meals, a large wine selection—and whole lot more. (Photography: Benjamin Margalit)

By Mitch Allen

Almost every morning, Frank Cangemi, Sr. wakes up at 3:00 a.m. so he can make it to the Cleveland Food Terminal by 5:00 a.m. to hand-select the day’s produce for Miles Farmers Market, the legendary Northeast Ohio market he founded 48 years ago. It’s one of the few tasks he has yet to turn over to his three store managers—his son, Frank Jr., who goes by “Frankie,” Justin Golobek, and Joe DeGaetano.

“He loves doing it,” Frankie says. “He’s very hands-on. He always has been.”

Frank Sr. founded Miles Farmers Market in 1971 with two employees—himself and David Rondini, the market’s first store manager, who is now semi-retired. Now he employs almost 200 staffers, many of whom have been with him for 10 to 40 years. The market has grown to 22,000 square feet of retail space, plus another 80,000 square feet of wholesale and prep space.

In addition to Frank’s hand-selected, daily fresh produce, Miles Farmers Market has spent nearly a half a century developing relationships with local Ohio farmers—sweet corn from Madison, peaches and apples from Berlin Heights near Sandusky, and fresh produce from Middlefield.

“We can also get unique produce when it’s in season,” Justin says, “like Romanesco—a cousin of broccoli and cauliflower—and Lodi apples. People drive from all over the Midwest for our unique selection. Soon, we’ll be coming into berry season—strawberries, blackberries, raspberries—and featuring Ohio asparagus.”

Miles Farmers Market is also known for its meats, seafood, deli, prepared foods, wines, and fresh bakery. Here’s a look around the store:

Touring the Market
In the meat department, manager Vinny Lavelle and his team hand-trim Certified Black Angus beef and prime beef raised right down I-71 in Ashland, Ohio. And catering to his diverse customer base, Vinny and his staff make handmade sausages, like kielbasa and bratwurst, and offers hand-trimmed, first-cut, Certified Black Angus beef briskets.

“For St. Patrick’s Day, we sold a thousand pounds of corned beef in a matter of hours,” Vinny says. For Easter, he expects to move 2,000 pounds of their own private-label, spiral-sliced honey glazed ham—and plenty of lamb.

Fresh seafood deliveries arrive six days a week and often include Faroe Island salmon and halibut, along with fresh Lake Erie walleye and perch.

“We also get delicious softshell crabs,” Frankie says. “During clambake season in the fall, people count on us for fresh middle neck clams, and every morning the seafood staff makes their own shrimp cocktail and homemade crab cakes.”

Once you’ve made your selection, be sure to stop by the wine department and ask manager Shawn to help you pair a wine. He has over 25 years of experience finding high-quality/value-priced wines and pairing them with customers’ menus, as well as the market’s large cheese selection.

Over in the bakery, the bakers are gearing up for Passover with coconut macaroons. You’ll also find dreamboats (chocolate cake topped with whipped cream and covered with chocolate ganache and a cherry on top), homemade coconut bars, Russian tea biscuits, and Chinese cookies.

The deli features plenty of meats and cheese (sliced to your liking), including oven-roasted turkey and roast beef, and their famous deep-fried turkey breast.

“It’s like Thanksgiving every day,” says Frankie, who points out house-made salads from his own family’s recipes, including broccoli salad, coleslaw, grilled chicken orecchiette, and fruity chicken salad.

Miles Farmers Market’s prepared foods department is known as Benny’s Bistro, named after Frank Sr.’s father. “You won’t find better fried chicken in Cleveland,” Justin says confidently. “The secret is our large-size, hand-selected chicken—plus the super-secret seasoned breading.”

The bistro also serves baby back ribs with the market’s signature house-made barbecue sauce, St. Louis ribs, and “Miles Very Own” Fire-roasted, rotisserie chickens, which are much larger than the tiny birds you find at chain grocery stores (and more juicy and flavorful).

Right now, enjoy Miles Farmers Market’s All-day Lenten Fish Fry every Friday during Lent, featuring beer-battered cod, fries and their own house-made coleslaw.

The bistro also handles off-premise catering. “Our portions are large, so if you’re serving 10 people, you might want to order for seven,” Frankie smiles. “Our drumsticks, for example, are way bigger than anyone else’s. And our pierogies are huge. That’s the way Frank Sr. does things. He thinks everyone should always have enough food for leftovers.”

Miles Market is located at 28560 Miles Road, in Solon. The phone number is 440-248-5222. You can order catering, party trays and gift baskets online at The market also offers fresh-cut flowers, houseplants, gift baskets and more.

Categories: Eastside Food & Dining