Back to the Farm

5-6 farmers

Assorted managers, mavens and mahoffs with the Swarthmore Farmers Market, from left to right: music coordinator Clair Oaks, artist organizer and web designer Martha Perkins, assistant market manager Ines Rodriguez, market manager coordinator Bill Furia, market manager Andy Rosen, location coordinator Heidi Sentivan, marketing maven Daria Duda, and Philadelphian Jon Glyn, farmers market program manager for Farm to City. Other names to know in the Farmers Market group are special activities coordinator Pat Francher, leader of children’s and social justice activities Mel Jurist, and social media chief Karen Shore.

Doesn’t it seem like forever since the vendors folded their tents after the last Swarthmore Farmers Market? Have you been missing the freshness of vegetables harvested just this morning… the exotic tastes of novel charcuterie and mushrooms… the coffee roasted in a style you haven’t been able to find anywhere else? The wait is nearly over. After its six month dormant season, the Farmers Market is ready to emerge next Saturday, May 14, in Central Park (AKA Swarthmore’s parking lot.)

Market manager Andy Rosen can’t wait, either. “Really, there is no more fun place to be on a Saturday morning than the Farmer’s Market. Of course, you get great food, great entertainment, you hang out with your family and see your friends, their pets… And our goal this year is to make this even more of a vibrant, festive place.”

That effort will be aided by a grant from the Swarthmore Centennial Foundation, which will go towards enhancing programming and compensating the musicians, who are integral to the Farmers Market experience, and bringing in additional children’s events. “We had great entertainment last year, all from volunteers,” Rosen said. “This year, we’ll be able to pay performers fairly, and present kids’ activities including superstars of the younger set like the Bug Man, moon bounce, and Jungle John and his dinosaur.”

What else is new at the Farmers Market?

• More variety: “There are more vendors this year,” Rosen says, though a larger number will come intermittently, so the net effect will be a similar number of vendors on any particular week, but with greater variety. “Our mission is still to provide people with better access to high quality food.”

• Themes for entertainment and education: Rosen says there will be community tables used by groups promoting healthy living and physical activity. Every month will have social justice themes, for instance homelessness, elder care, food access, and women’s issues, supported by specific activities and opportunities for community involvement. La Mancha Animal Rescue will bring adoptable animals.

• A new look: The configuration of the market will be different due to the development of Swarthmore’s Central Park. Some familiar merchants may set up in new places, the stage moves to a space near the (coming soon!) amphitheater, and the overall experience for shoppers will remain pleasant and open, Rosen said. The configuration is outlined in the Blog section of the website at swarthmorefarmersmarket.org, which also lists market vendors, artists and performers, and more.

• Chef demonstrations: Starting with chef Tim Smith of the Station Taproom in Downingtown on May 14, chefs from near and far will demonstrate techniques and share flavor combinations, aided by the availability of additional electrical outlets installed in the new Central Park.

• Food Trucks: One food truck will set up each week at the market, preparing meals varying from tacos to crepes to cheesesteaks to upscale PB & J sandwiches. The first week will bring in Co-op Truckathon favorite Mom Mom’s Cart.

• Fine arts: More artists and artisans are likely to be displaying and selling their creations this season. “We love the idea of the arts intertwined with the market,” Rosen said. “Local artists can get market tables at a discounted rate, and we’ve had a lot of inquiries through the website.” He points out that artists who exhibit during the year also benefit from inclusion in a section of the website throughout the year.

• Your friends and neighbors getting involved: The market is looking for volunteers to serve as market managers from time to time. These people will work from 7:45 a.m. to about 2 p.m. to coordinate vendor entry and setup, answer questions, and “be schmoozer-in-chief on market day,” Rosen said.

The Swarthmore Farmers Market opens Saturday, May 14, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., in conjunction with the Swarthmore Makers Market, which brings a wide and colorful range of designers and vendors of handmade clothing, artworks, and vintage treasures. Vendors will occupy Park Avenue adjacent to Central Park, opening at 9:30 a.m. and closing at 2 p.m. We’ll have more on the Makers Market in next week’s Swarthmorean.

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