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April 3, 2011

Opening Day at the Baltimore Farmers' Market

cauliflowerYou could buy things from farmers.

Kale, lots of kale. Lots of collards, too. There was a little bit of spinach and the occasional wintered-over brussels sprouts. Zahradka Farm brought some brussels sprouts but sold out of it early.

But, no, asparagus isn't here yet, but it should be in a few weeks, before the traditional early May opening market date.

I'm sure some people were disappointed about the selection today but I didn't run into them. The people I ran into weren't disappointed because they weren't expecting much.

Whitney Sale of Federal Hill, buying kale at the Stoecker Farms stall (the one by the mini doughnuts). "I think they set expectations appropriately."

Jennifer Slingloff of Gardener's Gourmet (those big bowls of mesclun) said that, yes, there were a few people asking for tomatoes. "But we have people asking us for limes, too," she added.

Then, why open the market early? My response would be "Why not?" It's like Jackson Browne kind of said, "Now the promoter don’t mind/And the farmers don’t mind" - why should you mind?

Feels like a win/win to me. Besides, it was nice to get out of the house and see all the new   babies.

Basically, was a good day for the new vendors over in the western lot to introduce themselves to marketers, and for marketers to see what was new, like the quail eggs and French heritage chickens at the KCC Farms table. Kenny Lookingbill was staffing that table for his boss, who was feeding chickens back at the farm in Forest Hill, up in Harford County. Lookingbill just retired after 35 years as a meat-cutter at Giant. He's one of those people that loves putting good products in people's hands, and he almost had me carrying away one of those chickens.

Me, I would change only one thing. Please ditch the steel band. FOREVER.

A steel band is the last, the very last thing, I want to hear on a Sunday morning. Or am I alone on this? I'll back off if it turns out that everyone really looks forward to having a steel band at the farmers' market. If that's the case, then god help us.

How was your first day at the market? Is it worth going if there's nothing to buy? How did the street closure affect you?
Posted by Richard Gorelick at 12:11 PM | | Comments (8)


For me opening day @ JFX Market featured a Steel Drum band, pansies and panties. Nothing beats a Sunday morning at the market more than a Zeke's coffee and a steel drum band banging in your head at 8:00 a.m.
Now the panties, for sale in the new street closure in various colors. The location directly behind the ladies (not happy with the panty display) who sell the wonderful crusty breads and pastries and Bartenfelder Farm's, owner Joe was freaking out over the display. I tried to calm him down by saying that his pansies were more colorful than the panties.
Really B'More Steel Drum Band and thongs at the premier farmers market, THE JFX. What kind of vibe are you trying to create? What's next an adult tupperware kiosk?
Let's get back to getting REAL.

I didn't mind the steel band. I thought it was a nice kickoff to the season. Wouldn't want them there every weekend, but once it gets crowded there won't be room for them anyway.

I was looking for rabbits, but all I found was the Mayor making the rounds, and pea shoots. Still, a nice morning!

This is supposed to be a farmers market, not a flea market or crafts fair. Closing the road is insane, forcing anyone exiting the JFX at the Pleasant Street exit to have to drive blocks and blocks in a big circle (multiple times this morning) to park. After enjoying this market for decades and rarely missing a Sunday, it suddenly feels like a chore. The road closure was very poorly considered and should be reversed.

Hmm ... I am pro-steel band and street closure. When I was there, there were tons of people watching the band and shooting video with their phones.

People headed to the market could exit I-83 on Guilford St., look for a space as they drive up and, if none are available, turn at the light to park on Calvert.

I'll concede the steel band, as long as it's only opening week :)

I have no issues with the craft people at the market (although I miss the book people). But I agree about the road closure -- it wasn't that big a deal before.

I had an enjoyable time and got lots of good stuff, even if none of it was vegetables.

Gardener's Gourmet had lots of asparagi at Waverly yesterday--$3.50 per small bunch--and said they had grown it under shelter, wonder what's up. All other vendors said couple more weeks. Video to follow.

Asparagus is up in the city, but only just--I'd guess if it hasn't hit the markets yet it's because restaurant distribution is claiming whatever little there is.

Also not yet to be seen is rabbit--the guy I talked to at Hen's Nest says that the state rules on rabbit production have changed this year and they're still trying to figure out how to comply (rabbit's in a murky area regulatorily speaking because USDA inspection isn't required).

Nice to see more offerings in the poultry market. Wish there would be more in beef and mushrooms too. So many vacancies means it's really hard to get any impression of what the market's going to be like this year. Here's hoping KCC isn't the only pleasant surprise.

The first asparagus from Gardener's Gourmet at Waverly farmers market, caramelized in toaster oven, one-minute camera test video:

cool beans! I mean asparagus

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About this blog

You are reading the archives. For updated blog posts about the Maryland food scene, see Richard Gorelick's new Baltimore Diner blog.
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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