By: Michelle Logan and Adrian Rabin, Editorial Interns
On average, food travels 1,500 miles from farm to table. Locally-sourced foods travel 25 times less far—an average of 60 miles—which minimizes fuel consumption, air pollution and associated diseases. It also allows farmers to let their food ripen appropriately, maximizing both the nutritional content and taste of their produce.
Every Tuesday, the University Plaza Park is filled with bustling stands selling organic delicacies, locally grown fruits and other specialty items that give patrons the opportunity to fill their meals with environmentally conscious and unique options. For the past seven years, the University Farmers Market has provided local Baltimore businesses the opportunity to sell their wares and bring their mission to the greater Baltimore community.
Chef Emem Moody of Infused Spreads takes this opportunity seriously. Her small business is dedicated to creating thoughtful products with extraordinary flavors–those of the likes of Raspberry Jalapeno and Balsamic Onion. Based in Glen Burnie, Infused Spreads also has wholesale accounts at local retailers such as Eddie’s of Roland Park. Moody sees her business as a way to bring variety to the local small business culture.
Patrons of the Farmer’s Market can be seen sampling every flavor of Moody’s spreads, picking through fresh produce, or sipping iced coffee from glass mason jars–an effort led by Cooperative Coffee. Participating in their first year of business, the two co-owners pride themselves in motivating the next generation of coffee and pastry purveyors. Cooperative Coffee has no permanent location, but instead brings locally sourced beverages and homemade baked goods to each event they attend. Co-owner Brendan Burns recalls his motivation to start a new business resulting from his dislike of seeing trash cans crowded with paper cups.
Cooperative Coffee made its vendor debut at the University Farmers Market on May 19, 2015, bringing to the community a coffee shop atmosphere while providing zero waste. Colorful mason jars are sold with their beverages for one extra dollar. The dollar spent is used as a deposit, which is then returned to the customer if he or she decides to return the jar.
“Instead of returning their jar, a customer may choose from our menu of jar accessories we have had custom made by local crafts folk,” Burns said. “We love helping people enjoy their beverages both fashionably and sustainably!”
Burns hopes that with locally and ethically produced foods, their business can help educate the community on preparing healthy and organic food—most of which is accomplished through face-to-face interaction at farmers markets.
Check out the University Farmers Market for more locally sourced and culturally conscious options. The University Farmers Market is open on Tuesdays in May – November from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm at the University Plaza Park, located across from the University of Maryland Medical Center’s main campus.
Visit our Farmer’s Market information page for payment options, which include Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and Women Infants and Children (WIC) vouchers.