www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-county/catonsville/ph-ca-farmers-market-1113-20131112,0,1451362.story

baltimoresun.com

Final weeks for Catonsville Farmers Market

By Julie Baughman, jbaughman@tribune.com

6:20 AM EST, November 13, 2013

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Though the first whispers of snow have made their way into this week's weather forecast, the Catonsville Farmers Market is still going strong.

The market began May 5 and has run every Sunday since on the parking lot behind Friendly's restaurant in the 700 block of Frederick Road.

This year, for the first time, the market will remain open until the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

"It's still a great place to come to get all your fixin's for your Thanksgiving feast," said Teal Cary, executive director for the Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce that sponsors the annual weekly market.

"It does drop off," she said, on the effect of the colder weather and the occasional 1 p.m. Ravens game.

"But I was there Sunday and we still had a couple hundred [visitors]," Cary said on Monday, Nov. 11. "Some people are getting their turkeys. Some are looking at getting apples."

She estimated that each of the 15-20 stands had several visitors checking out their offerings.

She said that while several vendors have finished their time at the market this year, most will remain through the final two weeks to sell fall produce and dry goods.

"You can still get your Thanksgiving fixings," Cary said on the availability of turkeys and pies, among other holiday staples.

So many of our farmers still have lots of produce and ... we have some really good meat vendors," Cary said. "[Customers] can get their turkeys for Thanksgiving."

Keeping the market open not only benefits customers, Cary said, but also new vendors looking to build rapport.

"We had a lot of new vendors come this year which was great," she said. "And we keep hearing from the vendors that this is the best market they come to."

William Nichols, creator of Nick's Backfire Brand seasonings, said his son, Nick Nichols, brought his product to the Catonsville market for the first time this year.

"It's a great place," he said of the Catonsville market. "There's a good diversity of people, customers, and a good diversity of products offered.

"That is what makes the market," the 66-year-old Perry Hall resident said. "They offer lots of different things for the people and I think that's why it's a successful market."

Nichols said he sells his products at other markets in downtown Baltimore and Ellicott City and definitely plans to return to Catonsville next year.

"Aside from the whole place shutting down, I think they'll be there and we'd like to be part of it," he said. "Catonsville is a well-run and pretty good market."

He was enthusiastic about the the market and also complimented his fellow vendors.

Nichols said one of his favorites was the cooking stand for Umami Global Bistro.

"[They're] nice people," he said of the staff. "It's good food at a great cost. I think they are an asset to the market because they give the people a chance to try something different.

"I'd actually like to go there after the market is over to get the falafel," Nichols said of satisfying his appetite for deep-fried chick peas, fava beans or both.

According to Rehan Khan, owner of the bistro on Frederick Road, that won't be a problem.

He plans to begin serving a Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. — in line with the market's current hours of 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. — to piggyback on the market's momentum.

"I've already started doing a Sunday brunch menu at the farmers market," Khan said of his stand where he cooks up dishes from the restaurant's menu for hungry market attendees. "I want to do something seasonal, holiday inspired.

"I'm hoping that we can start right after the farmers market is over," Khan said. "We try to warm people up who come in and try to give them some options and some interesting things.

"Brunch to me is getting together with families on a nice comfortable day," he said. "That Sunday family get together, stuff like that."

Khan said the menu is still in the works, but promises a "wow" factor.

"I'm testing a lot right now, working on different recipes," he said. "I want to bring some excitement to Catonsville."