Each of the city’s farmers markets has its own personality.
The Sunday morning one under the JFX has a big, bustling downtown feel. The Saturday morning market, packed into a small parking lot in Waverly, can feel just as intense.
But visitors to the Wednesday afternoon Druid Hill Farmers Market know right away they’re in for a more relaxed experience as they come up the long, tree-lined street filled with wafting smells and radiating music every Wednesday afternoon (between 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. at 3100 Swann Drive) in leafy Druid Hill Park.
“I always drove by and looked at it, but never stopped,” attendee Dirk King said while dancing to the music. “Last week I decided to stop. I had so much fun I said, ‘I’m coming back.’”
Every week all summer long brings a free concert to the park and slated for this past week was the Trinidad & Tobago Baltimore Steel Orchestra. The duo played music ranging from “The Tide is High” by Blondie to “Beautiful Girls” by Sean Kingston. People camped out in lawn chairs and perched on picnic tables to listen.
“When I got free time, I party because I work too hard,” King said.
Yes, there are farmers selling fresh fruit and vegetables, but there’s also the music and free yoga, guided bike rides, horse rides for the big kids, and “Mother Goose on the Loose” story time for the littler ones.
Asked why he came back, King replied, “The people, the entertainment, the breeze; it’s been hot, but under these trees it’s nice and cool.”
Another draw? The crab cakes, he said.
Jo Harding-Gordon, owner of Flash Crabcake Co., brings her food truck every week and has done so for four years. The mobile platform allows them to go everywhere, from the Pratt Street Market to the Pikesville Farmers’ Market.
“Anywhere where the love is, is what we say,” Harding-Gordon said.
“It became evident to us that a good crab cake needed to be made available to everybody,” she said, adding that the $25-30 traditional restaurant crab cake is not within all Baltimoreans’ reach.
The food truck can produce 125 crab cakes every 22 minutes, and Gordon-Harding said she can serve customers within 7-17 seconds.
In addition to crab cakes, around 20 vendors sell a wide variety of products at the market, ranging from fresh produce to jewelry.
A new merchant this year is Lil Ria’s Natural Soaps. Owner Maria Alexander said she’s been in business for a year-and-a-half and makes everything herself. Alexander likes the farmers market because of the variety of activities and the fact that “a nice group of people come out.”
She has regular customers who request items a week ahead of time, and she not only sells her products at Druid Hill, but also on Etsy and other places online.
Onward, Downward-Facing Dogs!
Just beyond the stage with live music lies the garden where the market offers a quieter attraction.
“Yoga is what makes me come every week,” Kristine Dunkerton said, a regular who usually likes to buy vegetables when she comes too.
A cohort of a dozen or so people choose to spend an hour exercising in the verdant oasis away from the busyness of the rest of the market. While removed, the music reaches the yogees.
Dunkerton has a laundry list of reasons why she enjoys her time in class:
“I like the location, I like the diversity of people who come, I like the instructors,” she said. “I like that it is free!”
– For more information on the Druid Hill Farmers Market, check their website or call them at 410-205-5373.