Farmers market in Govans starts second year with more vendors

The Govanstowne Farmers Market debuted for its second season Wednesday, June 6, but a half hour later, Terri Russell said she had no chocolate ice cream.

"I'm sold out, already," said Russell, owner of Simple Pleasures, an organic ice cream business based in Bowie, Md.

It was a hopeful sign for a young farmers market that was founded last year on York Road in Govans, and only ran for four weeks as a pilot project.

This year the market, located at 5104 York Road in the parking lot of Loyola University, will be open for 10 weeks through Aug. 8, every Wednesday from 3-7 p.m., except on July 4.

Last year's market, a first for Govans, was co-sponsored by the York Road Partnership and by Loyola University Maryland as part of its York Road Initiative, with the help of Loyola business students. It drew 300 customers a day last year. Then, it had 10 vendors; now, there are 14.

There was also more advertising and promotion for this year's market, and promoters dubbed Wednesday as "Gardening Day." In addition, Hampden-based Action In Maturity, known as AIM, which provides transportation services for area seniors, will be bringing seniors to the market this summer, said Jonathan Hourcade, an AmeriCorps Vista worker who helped organize the market.

Hourcade also said that the nearby CARES pantry, run by the Govans Ecumenical Development Corp., is giving the needy vouchers for the farmers market.

Russell was one of the newbies. It's her first foray into Baltimore, although she is no stranger to farmers markets in Prince George's and Montgomery counties.

But she had early success at the Govanstowne market with her exotically flavored ice creams and gelato, including mango, strawberry rhubarb, lemon custard and stracciatella, a combination of vanilla ice cream and dark Italian chocolate infused with hazelnut.

It's pretty good," she said of the market and its steady flow of customers at mid-afternoon. "It's a nice-sized market. Folks tend top be friendly."

Also there for the first time was Chrissa Carlson, who runs the "edible landscapes" business Urban Farmhouse out of her home in Waverly.

"I live in the neighborhood. It's a very diverse neighborhood - and it's Gardening Day," said Carlson, explaining why she chose to participate in the Govans market.

Other first timers included Mount Washington-based lawn care company Pro Lawn Plus, Essex-based Bees by the Bay, which sells honey, and Wild Pea

Also a hopeful sign was the re-appearance of some vendors from last year, including Parkton-based Ferguson Farms, whose owner, Lynn Ferguson told Russell about the new market.

Ferguson was as high on the market as she was when first interviewed last year, although she was not impressed with the crowds. She figured the market would become more popular over time as people got used to it being there and realized it was a good thing.

"It's kind of like eating your peas," Ferguson said.

Also back for the second year was Saigon Remembered, a Vietnamese food vendor that is best remembered as a former restaurant across the street from the Senator Theatre. The restaurant has closed, but is re-opening in Timonium this summer and is also appearing at area markets.

"A lot of people request our stuff," said owner Trang Nguyen.

The market was a hit with Loyola workers and area residents like Malia Leary, 32, of Remington, who is a graphic designer for Loyola Magazine. Leary came to the market with her daughter, Alyssa, 2.

"It's perfect," Leary said of the market. "And it's nice to run into co-workers."

"We love that there's a place with fresh local food and we want to support it," said Susie Sutherland, 43, of Evesham Park, there with her daughter, Sydney, 9, a fourth grader at the nearby Tunbridge Charter School, and son E.J., 4, a preschooler at the Govans Presbyterian Church school.

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