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Parade of living 'vegetables' to make debut at Kenilworth Farmers Market

Parade of living 'vegetables' to make debut at Kenilworth Farmers Market
Maryland's #1 Traveling Vegetable Parade includes, from left: Sharyn Frederick dressed as a carrot; Ian Robbins as Swiss chard; Robin Tribbe as corn; Kerry Dunnington as a turnip; Pixie Miller as a radish; and Buzz Nasdor as purple cabbage. (Courtesy Photo / Kerry Dunnington)

Last year, a dancing carrot greeted customers at the Kenilworth Farmers Market in Towson. This year, the whole salad will be in the mix.

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The vegetables will make their appearance as “Maryland’s #1 Traveling Vegetable Parade,” though organizer Kerry Dunnington is not sure a second vegetable parade exists for comparison.

“I write about food and I grew up eating vegetables, so I was interested in sharing the love of that with people and kids that I don’t think are getting enough of them,” said Dunnington, the marketing coordinator for the Kenilworth Farmers Market.

The human vegetables will appear at opening day of the Kenilworth Farmers Market on Tuesday, April 16, outside the Shops at Kenilworth under the parking deck.

The farmers market will be open from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday through November. Customers can use credit and debit cards as well as SNAP and WIC benefits at the market.

About a dozen vendors will sell at the market, according to the website, including fruit and vegetable farmers like Glenville Hollow Farms and Three Springs Fruit Farm.

The parade will feature seven people in colorful vegetable costumes, who will parade through the market handing out recipes and tips on how to eat their respective vegetables.

The salad includes swiss chard, a turnip, a radish, a green bean, a head of purple cabbage, corn and a carrot.

Last year, the Kenilworth market was moved to a less visible location in the parking lot, Dunnington said, and she was tasked with finding a way to draw attention to it. She made a large orange carrot costume and started spreading the word that she needed someone to fill it.

Soon after, she got a call from a neighbor, Sharyn Frederick, who lives near Dunnington’s home in Roland Park. “I’m your carrot,” Frederick told her.

During the Tuesday market last year, Frederick donned the orange costume and stood by Kenilworth Drive, waving at cars and taking advantage of her “particular skill as a carrot” – dancing.

Dunnington said the carrot was so successful she decided to expand into a whole parade.

This year, Frederick is excited to wander around the market with her fellow vegetables, encouraging shoppers not to forget their carrots.

“People love carrots, they just get a smile on their face,” Frederick said.

The parade is being put on in conjuction with the organization United in Food, which uses a website to connect communities to information about food resources. The vegetables are all volunteers, Dunnington said, and she sewed the costumes herself.

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After the Kenilworth opening day, Dunnington said she hopes to bring the Traveling Vegetable Parade to other area farmers markets, including opening day of the Catonsville Farmers Market on Wed., May 1.

When the vegetables gathered at the Shops at Kenilworth to take photos, Dunnington said children “just flopped around us.” She thinks talking vegetables will be a good way to get kids excited about healthy eating while having a little fun — for the kids, and for adults like Frederick.

Being a carrot “just feels right,” Frederick said. “It’s just my essence, I feel.”

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