Fourth Annual University Farmers Market Supports Sustainability

Fourth Annual University Farmers Market Supports SustainabilityIt’s that time of year again—lilies in bloom, graduation celebrations, and the start of a new farmers market season.

The fourth annual University Farmers Market is open to the public now until November, every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the University Park Plaza (across from the medical center entrance).

“The market provides an opportunity for the local community to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables,” says Denise Choiniere, MS ’09, RN, sustainability manager for the University of Maryland Medical Center.

In an effort to make fresh produce accessible, the market accepts WIC and senior coupons.

Besides being fresh and local, many of the vendors participate in sustainable practices, providing visitors with antibiotic- and hormone-free meat and pesticide-free produce.

By purchasing produce from the market, you’re not only benefitting your health but also supporting local farmers and decreasing food miles — the distance food travels from farm to plate, which then reduces fuel consumption, greenhouse gases, air pollution, and the likelihood of disease.

Another way to support local farmers and your health is by purchasing a farmer’s crop share through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Tuckey’s Mountain Grown Berries, Fruits, and Vegetables, one of the market vendors from Biglerville, Pa., is offering 25 CSA shares from June through October for $440. The weekly shares will be available for pickup at the market.

Other CSA shares available in the Baltimore area June through November are:

  • Breezy Willow Farm from West Friendship, Md., offers 600 shares of fruits and vegetables with a “pick your own herbs” weekly program for $888 (payment plans available).
  • Five Seeds Farm from Baltimore is committed to growing Chesapeake Bay heirloom vegetables and offers 30 shares for $500.
  • One Straw Farm from White Hall, Md., offers 2,000 shares that include items such as beets, lettuce, tomatoes, and potatoes for $520 (Pickup is in the SMC Campus Center Green Room on Tuesdays.).
  • Sandy Spring from Silver Spring, Md., offers 1,500 shares of certified organic produce for $768.
  • Zahradka Farm at Brown’s Cove in Baltimore offers 150 shares that include a specialty item of the week such as free-range eggs, beef, or all-natural cheese for $50 per week.

For more information on CSA shares in your area, visit Local Harvest.

In addition to purchasing a CSA share, you can support the following new vendors: Bonaparte Breads, Hillside Meadow Farm, Pat Fitzgibbons King of Pickles, Pond View Farms, Rex Farms Orchard, and Hiding Place, a nonprofit home for homeless pregnant women that offers pesticide-free potted plants and annuals.

Visit the University Farmers Market today to stay healthy, support local agriculture, and better the environment.

NEW IN 2013: You can use your Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits via the electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card at the market. By accepting these benefits, formerly known as food stamps, we are further expanding access to fresh fruits and vegetables to those in our community.

— Tracy Gnadinger

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