With spring just around the corner and the good weather flowing in, I’ve been itching for a chance to get out of the library and off campus to do something exciting. I heard a local farmers’ market was going to host a Food, Art & Community Fest on March 31, so there I was, on a beautiful sunny Saturday, exploring the only way I know how: eating.
Waverly’s 32nd Street Farmers Market is the place to be on Saturday mornings, especially for Hopkins students. Okay, I acknowledge that you may not want to pay that premium price and will instead pick up some old-ass factory eggs from Giant to put on top of your instant ramen noodles, but we’ll talk about that later.
The Market is an awesome collection of various products, from farm-fresh produce to infused spreads to locally-made crafts. For visitors like myself, it’s a way to find quality groceries and taste different kinds of food and drink. For local businesses, it’s a way to showcase a new kind of product or just a fantastically-made classic.
We started on the end closest to the corner of Barclay and University and looped our way through the entire market. One quick tip: Come with an empty stomach! It’ll make everything better, I promise.
I stopped by Well Crafted Pizza to pick up a pie. Let me tell you, this pizza kitchen — running out of the back of a repurposed Dodge Ram pickup truck — can make you one hell of a pie.
I tried the Radical Radish, which features crème fraîche from Blue Ridge Dairy (Sterling, Va.), sliced radishes from Calvert’s Gift Farm (Sparks Glencoe, Md.), cheddar cheese from Hawks Hill Creamery (Street, Md.) and microgreens from Roberts Roost Farm (Monkton, Md.).
This pizza was a slice of the surrounding area. Every part of it came from a local producer, and you could really taste the difference. Everything on there was just so flavorful; farm-fresh ingredients simply taste better. You can’t have good food without good ingredients, and these guys had both.
Next stop was the B’more Bill’s Dills stand. We sampled some garlic and old bay pickle slices, nice and mildly acidic; they tasted exactly like you’d expect.
The Cuples Tea House booth was phenomenal. Founded three years ago by Eric and Lynette Dodson as a casual side project, Cuples developed into a business, serving up amazing new tea experiences.
At the Market, there were samples of four of their traditional teas as well as three herbal teas. I had never tasted anything like the well-balanced almond oolong or the heavily aromatic autumn leaves green tea. The latter tasted like butterscotch and crème brûlée. It was such a new experience, and I would highly recommend it.
A warm cookie-butter waffle from the Baltimore Waffle Company put a nice touch to the end of my morning.
Farmers markets are a symbol of togetherness, reminding us of family and fresh food. But they’ve also become places where people aren’t willing to spend as much money because the stuff is so expensive. Why go buy fresh, local produce when the stuff at the supermarket is 40 percent cheaper, right?
To that point, I would argue that food is one of the most important aspects of our lives and our society and that farming is at the very root of food. In recent decades, both have been turned into a large-scale corporate industry. This comes with a number of consequences, some positive (we are able to feed more people than ever before) and some negative (just watch Food, Inc. or read Michael Pollan, for example).
Currently, many chefs and restaurateurs are pursuing a return to farm-to-table philosophy. By spending money at the farmers market, you are expressing your support for an ever-dying essential part of our society within the local community you live in, and you get better and more delicious food.
Anyway, I hope everyone reading this can check out the 32nd Street Farmers Market, open every Saturday morning from 7 a.m. — 12 p.m., year round.