By: Amelia Phillips, Production Assistant Corpsmember
A few weeks ago, just two days into the new year, I had the honor of serving at the farmer’s market for the first time. Civic Works’ Real Food Farm sells with the Farm Alliance of Baltimore City at the year-round 32nd Street Farmers Market. The market has around 50 vendors, ranging from coffee and produce to prepared foods and soaps. I live in the neighborhood and often go on Saturdays to buy produce and sometimes treat myself to a delicious biscuit sandwich. The market is from 7am to noon. I usually show up around 9:30, but serving at the market means getting up really early. I had to meet our farm manager, Bryan, at the farm at 5:15am!
It was a cold morning and the deserted farm seemed a little spooky in the dark; I was sufficiently bundled though. Bryan and I loaded up one of the farm trucks with all the supplies: tables, tablecloths, baskets, a sign, our clipboard, the tent, aprons, and of course, a whole bunch of produce. It was fun to see food from other Farm Alliance member farms, like tatsoi from Whitelock Farm and sorrel from the Food Systems Lab at Cylburn (formerly the CLF Aquaponics Project).
When we arrived, the sky was lightening up. Bryan showed me how to set up the tent and arrange the tables and produce. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to make a pretty display. We piled everything high and it looked great! It was nice to meet some other vendors, especially our neighbors on the left, Big City Farms, and conveniently enough, Blacksauce, whose yummy biscuits I mentioned earlier. I also had a large coffee from Zeke’s that kept my fingers toasty. We had a steady flow of customers during the morning, all friendly! Many people (myself included) like to do a loop upon arrival. This way, you get to check out all the goods, see who has what, for what price, etc. It was very gratifying to have people come back around to buy something of ours they’d found to be the best looking at the market.
Having worked retail, I was touched by how much more special it felt to be selling food I’d had a hand in growing; especially produce I’d helped grow less than two miles away. I truly felt like part of the community. We ended up selling out of carrots, and the hakurei turnips were a big success. At noon, we packed it all up and headed back to the farm. Then I went home for a nap.
Overall, I enjoyed serving at the market and hope to do it again!