Since 1977 The Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar has been bringing local produce and goods to this great city of ours. The producers-only market, also known as ‘the Market under the bridge’ and ‘The JFX Market’, hosts just around 100 vendors. The vendors showcased not only sell fruits and vegetables from local farms but cheese, bread, flowers, herbs, meat (including bacon), kombucha, pastries, olive oils, and jams. The market also features folks selling crafts, artwork, lambswool yarn, clothing, hula-hoops, jewelry, soaps, and furniture as well as food vendors who serve breakfast burritos, samosas, pit beef, donuts, noodles, falafel, crepes, quiches, pizza, omelettes, and dumplings (yeah, I get hungry thinking about it too).
Upon arriving at the market, the rush of energy from the crowd hits almost immediately. It gets busy so I suggest arriving as early as possible (Danielle & I arrived at around 11:15 this past Sunday when we went and by then the market was PACKED. I’ve arrived earlier and although always busy, the crowd definitely grows as the morning goes on). This visit, I picked up yams to mash, sausage, bacon, kale, and herbs for my windowsill herb garden as produce is strictly seasonal at the market. As the weather gets warmer and summer approaches, I know I can expect an abundance of berries, peaches, squash and melon but right now it is all about leafy greens and growing that herb collection. The market has grown from a few stands to a Baltimore staple after 38 years and attracts small local farmers and bigger Baltimore greats (such as Woodberry Kitchen and Zeke’s Coffee). I know I personally cannot hit up the market without getting the chance to reconnect with an old friend and run into someone unexpected.
The market is big and can get a bit overwhelming so I’ve outlined my typical plan of action. Upon entry, I make my way right to Zeke’s for a giant iced coffee (black & unsweetened for me, please) and maybe some whole beans to cold brew throughout the week. Once I’m properly caffeinated, I make my way to the ATM because I sure as hell don’t carry cash around in 2015—although a lot of vendors that sell bigger-ticket items accept plastic, it is near-impossible to have a good experience without having some cash on you at the market. I find myself floating from table to table and spending around $2 – $7 per vendor and it would just be unreasonable for me to charge all of that. After getting my cash, I’ll do a lap around the market scoping out the best produce and prices (of course, if something catches my eye that I have to have I’ll buy it right away but it’s best to get a good idea of what the market has to offer that week). I’ll then do some shopping and plan some yummy meals for the week. This past visit brought us delicious mashed yams by Devlin and a creamy potato-kale-sausage soup by me (recipe coming soon).
Depending on how hungry I am, I’ll grab a bite at one of the incredible eateries on the premise either before I start roaming, during my trip, or once I’m all shopped out. This past visit Danielle, Devlin & I snagged some pit beef from Beef Barons right before they cut off the line (we felt both lucky and #blessed) and snacked on mini-donuts from Migues Donuts. I’ve also had the mushroom breakfast burrito from The Mushroom Stand and dumplings from Pad Thai Dumplings.
I am continuously impressed by Baltimore’s commitment to local and the amount of farmers’ markets in this city is definitely a testament to that. The JFX Market makes me so appreciative of the sense of community in this city and makes me proud to call this place home. We expect to head to this market, as well as others, throughout the city as the weather gets warmer and will be sure to share our adventures with you. Share your favorite farmers’ market finds with us using the #30thandweldon tag on instagram. We hope to see you under the bridge soon!
The Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar runs from April – December yearly and is located under the Jones Falls Expressway (I-83) at E. Saratoga Street between Holliday & Gay Streets. The Market is open on Sundays from 7:00 am – 12:00 pm, or when sold out. The Market is put on by Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts.