October 27th, 2016

Why Meg Chooses Govanstowne Farmers Market

by Nate Charnas

At the Govanstowne Farmers Market, Meg is taking stock of the line for Richard’s Fish & Crabs. “My boyfriend has gotten attached to Wednesday evening crabs,” she notes, “so I have to go over there before it all sells out.” Meg used to sell with a farm stand at Govanstowne, but today she’s at the market as a volunteer and customer. During the farmers market season, Meg comes almost every other week. She usually focuses her shopping on the produce but also enjoys the other “treats” the market has to offer – not just crabs, but also plants, pies, honey, and, in particular, the meat: “I don’t like buying meat from the supermarket, so that usually means I don’t eat meat…it’s nice to have an alternative.”

This is not to say that Govanstowne is Meg’s favorite market, or rather, her only favorite. She loves the Waverly market on 32nd Street too – she’s been going there since she was 4 or 5 years old – and if she can’t make it to one of the markets during the week, she’ll usually be at the other. Meg has friends working the stands at both Govanstowne and Waverly, selling for farms or preparing food (“I used to go to a summer camp with the guy who sells pie” at Govanstowne), and she appreciates the sense of community that both markets help foster. Still, Meg is particularly drawn to the Govanstowne Farmers Market, which is newer than its counterpart in Waverly, for its vital role in helping build up the local community. Govanstowne is “really special,” Meg explains, because “it serves that function in a neighborhood that doesn’t have as many alternatives.”

Another compelling reason for Meg to go to these markets is their efforts to make the food more affordable, both through the acceptance of nutrition benefits, like SNAP, and the use of Maryland Market Money. “The EBT programs are amazing,” Meg says. “I’ve been on it, I’ve been AmeriCorps and post-AmeriCorps working part-time” and “getting the matching dollars…has been really, really helpful to me, very much appreciated by me and a lot of other people I know.” For Meg, the more farmers market food, the better, especially since she puts all of it to such good use: “I really like to cook a lot, and so I enjoy eating semi-seasonally…I’ve been eating a lot of tomatoes and peaches and corn, and like every possible permutation, making lots of bruschetta and tomato sauce and…peach cobbler. I also have been kind of going crazy for eggplant this summer and doing a lot of grilled eggplant and eggplant glazed in miso…that’s a good one.”

About the Author Nate Charnas

Nate Charnas is an AmeriCorps VISTA at MDFMA focusing on increasing benefits access for farmers market customers. He is originally from San Francisco and hopes the good people of Baltimore will accept all of his Giants clothing as a sign of solidarity with the Orioles.