Sitting on my couch, drinking a stout with my friend Gee and watching the Phils losing game, I saw an email come in from the director of the Mt. Pleasant Farmers’ Market. Rebbie’s usual assistant couldn’t make it and she asked if I would be interested in helping her out on Saturday. I replied immediately with a YES.
Those of you living in The DMV will know about the relentless rain in the past few days. But as I emailed a few neighborhood friends to visit me, I wrote that never was I so excited to be out in the rainy cold for five hours on a weekend morning.
I mostly stood by a table that said “market manager” and when I was asked questions I would have to hope that the actual manager would be close by. I also took charge of the credit card machine: shoppers can swipe their debit cards and receive tokens in exchange. So besides learning how to work that gadget, I picked up a few other things from being on the other side of the market.
10 Things I Learned From One Day as an Assistant Manager of Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market
1. Access. Farmers markets, of course, provide sustainably grown produce and artisanally crafted breads and cheeses to the community. But who is that community? Markets are finding ways to accept government food assistant programs to make sure that everyone can enjoy thoughtfully grown fruits and vegetables. I learned that one kind of program only allows for purchases of fruits and vegetables and not breads, cheeses or flowers. I agree with Belmont, who worked for a vendor this market season, on this one: “never underestimate a well placed bunch of flowers to lift the spirits.”
2. Gold Lamé Tights. Many shoppers remember to bring cash so in the large gaps of time between the debit card-token exchange, Rebbie, Patrick (see #3) and I dished about market fashions. Yes, someone pulled it together to wear gold lamé tights before noon.
3. Bike Repair. Farmers markets offer more than just food. Mt.P holds a free bike clinic and showcases local musicians. In the most crappy of weather that was Saturday not many people brought by their bikes, which left more time to chat about food and the point of slouchy boots.
4. Honeycrisps. This type of apple is so trendy right now. I don’t usually favor one brand over another, but 80P started requesting this one by name. While waiting for the bathroom key (see # 5) I asked the orchardist why honeycrips were so popular. Apparently there cell structure is different than most apples and they have 4 times the amount of pectin. If I understood this correctly, pectin makes the apple crunchy. Therefore honeycrisps are hella crunchy. Don’t even think about baking with them.
5. Bathroom Key. The bathroom key is the hottest item at the market.