September 19, 2011
Also contributing to this post is Anne Palmer, MAIA, director of the Eating for the Future program.
Last Sunday, September 11, was a momentous anniversary and solemn occasion. And yet, we were comforted to see how food bridges cultural divides, and how the pursuit of fresh food and the celebration of a farmers’ market can bring together so many diverse people.
As part of a study, we were counting customers at the Waverly and JFX farmers’ markets, here in Baltimore. Our goal is to determine just how many people visit the markets. In coming weeks, we’ll be counting visitors to the markets and interviewing a selection of those customers to help analyze the markets’ impact and economic reach. Baltimore is one of three cities selected for testing using a methodology developed by New Orleans–based Market Umbrella, thanks to funding from the Surdna Foundation.
Wielding our hand counters, we posted ourselves at the five entrances of the JFX market. As we admired the quality, diversity and variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as herbs, spices, flowers, and savored the smells of foods being prepared, I (Ann) found myself wishing that the produce at my own beloved Alexandria market was as extensive and varied.
According to the vendors, it was a slow day at the farmer’s markets—slow, but far from boring. The market attracts people from all over the Baltimore region. Customers included Ravens fans resplendent in their attire, those returning from worship, as well as the young, old, pierced or preppy on foot, wheel and walkers preparing to shop. Their common goal: the search of fresh, locally grown food.