The Edmondson Village Farmers' Market celebrated its second season Saturday with a 9 a.m. opening and offerings for almost every individual taste or need.
Carefully arranged tables and stalls were set under a colorful array of white, blue, green and blue open-air tents that overflowed with bounty from Maryland's farms, fields and kitchens
Under partially sunny skies and early-morning humidity, shoppers filled the market, located on the parking lot of the Westside Skill Center in the 4500 block of Edmondson Ave., and were greeted with everything from organically grown vegetables to free-range chicken, bouquets of colorful summer flowers to handmade lye-free soaps, personalized postcards to love potions. The were also free trees — willow oaks, black maples and swamp magnolias, among others — compliments of TreeBaltimore, which gave them away to homeowners to increase the city's tree canopy.
The aroma of curry rose from the Sacred Kitchen, an Indian vegan stand co-owned and operated by first-time vendors Harpreet Khalsaand Kelly Michelle, and swirled through the market.
As the only farmers' market on the city's west side, it has succeeded in bringing several neighborhoods together, organizers said.
"It brings higher-income families from single homes from the west such as Ten Hills, Hunting Ridge and Westgate [and] lower-income rowhouse residents to the east. The market is a crossroads and it is interactive," said Jill Harrison, a market manager. "There was a desire and need in the neighborhood to have such a market."
She noted that the number of vendors has grown from 12 last year to 20 this year.
"So we're starting this year with a strong team," said Harrison, who added that participants sold only Maryland-produced vegetables, meats and other products.
"This community was severely underserved, and now we can offer quality fresh food that they can afford in a safe and comfortable environment," said Chris Comeaux, a market manager and a senior at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County who worked on the inaugural market launch last year.
Lyle Long, proprietor of Barefoot Farm, a 1.7-acre vegetable farm in Hamilton that his mother owns, was proud to point out his locally grown greens.
"My produce is from Northeast Baltimore," said Long proudly.
Jamillah Muhammad of Gwynn Oak, owner of Taste This Cake, sells petite, beautifully wrapped single slices of butter cake, strawberry pound cake, and other baked goods.
"I use no alcohol or pork in my baking," said Muhammad, a first-time market vendor who started her business in February.
In a nearby tent was Indigo Love Potions and Living Foods, a health-conscious enterprise whose target audience is African-American women, said owner Vanessa Brown of Federal Hill.
"African-American women are dying young from heart attacks because of their diet," said Brown, who also specializes in cold-pressed juices. "Since I changed to a living diet I've lost 50 pounds, my skin looks better and I have more energy than I did 10 or 20 years ago."
"My kale chips are the best on the East Coast," she said. "Everything I make was living. Nothing here I sell was ever cooked."
Jessica Sorrell, a Westgate resident who was pushing her 1-year-old son, William, in a stroller, came to the market looking for fresh vegetables and flowers.
"I loved coming every Saturday last summer. It had a good community vibe," she said. "I like what they're trying to do here, plus it gives me a chance to meet neighbors. It helps us connect."
Christy Ottinger, owner of Little Gunpowder Farm in Monkton, said the community was clearly excited about the market. She returned for a second year to sell sustainably grown vegetables and brown and greenish-blue eggs from rare heritage hens.
"It's nice to feel their enthusiasm," she said.
Noma Dalili of Randallstown wandered through the market looking for a special dinner for her husband.
"It's my husband's birthday tomorrow, and I want to get him with a vegan dinner — that's the reason I am here," she said. "And I am definitely coming back next weekend."