Local. Organic. Sustainable. Memo to self: Head to Findlay Market for gourmet “green” prepared
dishes from Fresh Table, the new stand across from Busch’s Country Corner.
Fresh Table is the brainchild of first-time business owners Meredith Trombly and Louis Snowden. They spent the past five years with bigg’s, Trombly as the organic buyer and Snowden as the corporate chef.
All the while, however, they had dreams of something else.
"What came first were our values," Trombly says. "Keep it green, sustainable and rely on organic and sustainable foods."
Those values became Fresh Table, stand 102 in Findlay's Market House.
Fresh Table makes ready-to-eat meals, such as salads and entrees, in its exhibition kitchen using mostly organic ingredients from local sources. About a third of those dishes are vegetarian. They have no set menu, so they can serve what's fresh and available.
Fresh Table chefs also plan to be educators, but don't expect them to shove anything down your throat.
"If you want to change your flock, you have do it very slowly, very invitingly," Snowden points out. "You have to be approachable."
Fresh Table's two flat screen TVs broadcast information about organic food and provide details about where the food on that day's menu has come from.
Snowden and Trombly wanted their entire business to speak the green message, not just their food. They wear organic cotton uniforms, serve the food in recycled plastic bags and use green cleaning products. They painted the stand a fresh shade of - what else? - green, using eco-friendly paint.
The duo hardly looked anywhere besides Findlay Market for their business, because "they have such a strong green message," Trombly explains.
The market boasts an impressive environmentally friendly repertoire. There are recycling bins just about everywhere, solar panels on the roof and two huge composters, so all the vendors compost.
"We didn't have to reinvent the wheel," Trombly says. "The mindset was already in place. Plus, it's such a foodie atmosphere."
One of Ohio's oldest continuously operated public markets, Findlay Market is the year-round home to roughly two dozen indoor vendors. There's Mackie's Quality Meats, Gibbs Cheese, Luken's Fish, Poultry and Seafood and other ready-to-eat options, such as Areti's Gyros and Ms. Helen's Grill.
Outside the Market House are other storefronts, housed in colorful and quaint townhouse-esque buildings. The whole feel is very European and, as Trombly says, perfect for epicures.
Fresh Table wants to keep its prices low, with most prepared gourmet items at around $6.99 per pound. A recent menu included ginger-steamed carrots with parsley, chunky bacon potato cakes and huge squares of loaded lasagna – with meat or without – that could easily serve two.
Organic food has an expensive reputation. Snowden insists Fresh Table will stay affordable for everyone.
"A lot of people think we're going to be like Whole Foods," Trombly says. "It's called 'Whole Paycheck' for a reason. We have to be cognizant of where we are. We're in downtown, Over-the-Rhine."
Cheryl Eagleson, Findlay Market's marketing director, says Fresh Table is a great addition to the market. The market caters to people who have a wide variety of interests, from locally grown to ethnic foods. Fresh Table's offerings are exactly what many of Findlay Market's shoppers lean toward, she says.
Fresh Table intends to put down long-term roots at Findlay Market, but the owners also hope the brand will grow. Snowden and Trombly handpicked three young and talented local chefs to work with them. They hope to form businesses of their own - catering or urban gardening, for example - under the Fresh Table umbrella.
"They've got some vision," Snowden says. "I don't think I want them there in three or four years. We want to scoot them out and let them do something that means something to them."
"Because we're doing something that means something to us," he says.