Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Meet Our Market Vendors...

This week, we begin a regular feature on this blog: Meet Our Market Vendors. We hope this encourages you to chat with the farmers and vendors and learn a little more about the Market community. Jug Bay Market Garden's Scott Hertzberg is an interesting of those people you want to hang out and chat with. He's passionate about local farming and sustaining the traditions of farming in a way that benefits both farmers and customers. In fact, he's so interesting to listen to that, when a group of us first met about the market this winter, Scott had a room of about 20 hanging on his words. As I wandered the market this weekend, I stopped by the Jug Bay tent several times (and it was packed most of the time!) and was impressed with the way Scott really interacts with his customers -- it was wonderful to overhear snippets of conversation with many, many people. In the few minutes I could get with Scott when he wasn't working with a customer (but he was arranging produce and gorgeous flowers) I asked Scott a few questions:

How long have you been farming? Seven years.

What did you do before you became a farmer? I was a librarian. In fact, I still work as a librarian two days a week. I really need about 90 hours in every week.

So now you know. Scott Herzberg: Farmer and librarian. That is so cool. Stop by and say hi (and buy some of those lovely flowers) at the next Market, June 7. In the meantime, keep visiting the website and this blog -- we continue to add and update all the time.

Moctec Tortillas

Did you get any of these tortillas? Delicious! So delicious, in fact, that a dozen barely made it home...and didn't last through the afternoon.
There were other varieties, but I went with plain old flour. Next time, I'll try some other types...and remember to buy a few bags of these!
I'm sure that these tortillas would be great with other things (like vegetables, meat, fish, salsa, beans, etc.) but they're fantastic on their own. In fact, they reminded me of my mom's Norwegian lefse. And anytime you can buy homemade food outside on a beautiful spring day, and get a really strong flavor memory...well, that's a good day.
What about you? Favorite food of opening weekend?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Great opening weekend!

Thanks to everyone who came out for our opening weekend -- we hope you're enjoying your fresh oysters, strawberries, sausages, eggs, bread, lettuce and sugar snap peas, as well as those lovely flowers, soaps, ceramics, alpaca yarns, chocolates...the list goes on and on. Special thanks to all our volunteers, musicians and vendors -- this market simply wouldn't exist without all of you.
We'll continue to add new vendors, recipes and more to our website before the next market (June 7). And we'll keep updating the blog with ideas on local food, inside information on the market and its progress, and more. Also, if you have any recipes or any other market-related information you'd like to share, please contact us -- we're always on the lookout for fresh ideas!
Finally, there are new photos from Saturday on our flickr page...we'd love to see your photos from the market, too. Please join the flickr group and share your memories of the first day of the season.
See you at the next market, Saturday, June 7, at the Cheverly Community Center!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What's in store at the Market this Saturday?

In addition to locally grown head lettuce, greens, shell and snap peas, broccoli, onions, radishes, strawberries and plants (tomato, basil and eggplant), flowers and eggs, here's a preview of some of the other wonderful vendors and items we can expect this week:
  • Alpacas and hand-spun yarn
  • Hanging flower baskets and potted herbs
  • Oysters from the Chesapeake Bay
  • Beef, pork, and lamb from Clan Stewart Farm
  • Fresh "straw and hay" pasta
  • Our Chef at the Market: Scott Eichinger (recent winner of the Martha Stewart Cookie Contest)
  • Live Music from Kelly & Charles of the Cheverly Hot Noodle Concern
  • Fresh coffee and pastries
  • Soaps and Jewelry
The Cheverly Community Market season opens in just four days!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Opening week is here (at last!)

If you've driven through Cheverly in the past day or so, you've probably noticed that the Cheverly Market sign has been posted on Cheverly Avenue. This can mean only one thing: Market week has arrived.
Lots of exciting things are planned for Saturday, including music by Cheverly Hot Noodle Concern and Soul Revolver members Kelly & Charles, cooking tips from award-winning chef/educator Scott Eichinger, and many fantastic vendors selling the best in fresh, local produce, dairy, cheeses, baked goods, oysters meats, eggs, flour and more. And gorgeous crafts, too! For a complete listing of our vendors and artists, visit the vendor page on our website. We'll be adding more throughout the market season, so visit often.
This week, we start something new on our website: A featured recipe using ingredients available from vendors that week at the Cheverly Community Market. This week's recipe comes to us from Scott: Asparagus and Brioche Strata. You can download the recipe or visit the recipe page on our website for other great ideas about making the most of your purchases.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Photos from the 2007 Market on Flickr!

You can see photos from the 2007 Cheverly Community Market -- and add your own -- on our Cheverly Community Market flickr group page. We got some great photos from last year and browsing through them makes us excited about the coming season. We're only a little over two weeks away from opening day!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A demand...but no supply

Last summer, when I set out to find vendors willing to come to our market, I visited nearly every farmers’ market in the region over a one month period. I very soon found out some three unfortunate truths. 1. Almost every farm attending markets was at their limit. Those who were attending markets, especially Saturday markets, were tapped out. Attending a market meant two days of work. One day to pack up the truck; another day to drive to market, sell, and pack-up and go home. Leaving only five days to work on the farm – or four days if they were lucky enough to take one day of rest. Many were attending two markets, leaving even less time to do the work that is so important to us, growing food. 2. There are fewer farms in Prince Georges County than any other county in the Maryland. One of my main resources was the So. Maryland. So Good Farm Guide put out by the Southern Maryland Agriculture Development Commission. The 2007-2008 edition lists 28 “farms” in Prince Georges’ County, twelve of which grow vegetables and fruit. I called all of them, three times. Maybe more. Plus e-mails. I tried to generate interest in a Prince George’s only market, but many would prefer to continue to sell at their established markets in Montgomery County and Fairfax on Saturday as opposed to take a risk on a new market in their own county. 3. The Maryland Department of Agriculture has almost no resources to help new markets get established. According to the Maryland Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, having “Staff and financial resources to operate the markets have been gone for a long time.” So if you are inclined to think, “It’s easy to start a Farmer’s Market. You find Farmers, and they come,” I encourage you to think again. It’s harder to find a farmer than you think. Instead, think of all of your friends, neighbors, and relatives, how of them are farmers? Therein lays the problem.