FRESHFARM Markets


A SUPER SIMPLE SPRING!
Simple Spring Photo

Spring greetings from Casey Seidenberg & Katherine Sumner of Nourish Schools. We believe cooking should be a happy, stress-free experience. Don’t you agree?  So we recently launched a new product to simplify healthy eating: The Super Food Cards.

The Super Food Card packet contains 8 user-friendly cards each containing all of the information you need to cook a category of food: greens, vegetables, grains, beans, proteins, nuts & seeds, fruits and stocks.

No thick cookbooks, no online searches. Everything is accessible the moment you choose to cook. The set also provides prep how-to’s, secret tips, easy to read charts, and over 75 recipes all on waterproof card stock (so don’t sweat the spills!)

The Super Food Cards make a great gift for the beginner or expert cook. Come check them out at the Silver Spring market on Saturday and Dupont market on Sunday – we will be serving up the lemon-mint white beans below.

In the meantime, here are simple recipes from our Super Food Cards incorporating delicious ingredients currently in season at the markets. As we like to say… “Nutrition is Confusing. Not anymore!”

Mint

Mint does more than freshen breath! It is full of antioxidants that help us fight disease, tissue damage and aging.  Enhance the flavor of white or lima beans with this simple dressing, and we promise you will be addicted!

Lemon-Mint Limas

Whisk together 1 minced shallot, 2 T olive oil, 2 T lemon juice, 2 T chopped fresh mint, 1 T Dijon mustard, 1 t maple syrup, ¼ t sea salt and ¼ t pepper in a large bowl. Combine 4 cups of cooked lima or white beans with the vinaigrette. Serves 4 to 6.

Shitake Mushrooms

Mushrooms, especially shitake and maitake, are known to boost the immune system. These crisps make a tasty snack and are a breeze to create.

Shitake Crisps

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line baking pan with parchment paper. Remove stems from 12 mushrooms and lay, top side down, on baking pan. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 20 minutes, until crisp. Serves 4.

Chard

Dark leafy greens give us energy!  After such a long winter, whip up this simple chard for some springtime oomph, and also a boost of calcium, fiber and Vitamin K.

Simple Swiss Chard

In a large skillet, sauté 2 minced garlic cloves in 1 T olive oil until golden brown. Add 8 cups of chopped chard leaves, stir to coat, and add 2 T water. Cover and cook until greens are soft, about 5 minutes, Season with sea salt, pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Serves 4 to 6.

Spinach

Fight spring allergies with the extra kick of Vitamin C found in our spinach and pineapple smoothie.

Green Smoothie

Blend 2 cups frozen berries, 1 banana, 1 cup pineapple, handful of spinach and 1 ½ cups filtered water. Serves 2.

Carrots

Spring can be a busy time of year, so grab a fresh carrot juice to keep your heart healthy and your skin glowing!

Carrot Beet Juice

Slice a small beet with tops removed, 2 large carrots and ½ cored apple to fit your juicer.  Juice and serve.  Serves 1.

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Community Partner @ Market: Ross Elementary School Book Drive
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WHAT’S IN FOR 2015
Whats in for 2015_blog

For our second annual list of “What’s In,” we’ve compiled a snapshot of what is happening at our markets as well as on farms and in kitchens throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. We are literally witnessing a transformation of food and farming in the region and at our markets that is driving a  delicious food revolution. The unique grass roots character of farmers markets make them great places for moving  small farmers and food entrepreneurs to more solid economic footing.  The result?  Better local food for everyone and more of it.  The bottom line remains the same.  Put your food dollars in farmers pockets and we not only eat better and are more healthy but the whole region benefits from home grown economic activity.

Whether it be our farmers, local food entrepreneurs or chefs, there is tremendous energy and innovation in the local food scene.  Our “What’s In´ summarizes the broad swath of new ways this is happening right now:  bounty,  creative  ways of financing farm and food businesses; looking at soil, harvesting weeds and  native crops, featuring ugly fruit and vegetables or farmers and producers becoming more  social media savvy just to name a few.  There are so many exciting and innovative things happening that are sure to delight and surprise.

Here’s to hoping the markets keep growing and thriving as they have during our 18 years at the helm of FRESHFARM  Markets.  Thanks to our farmers and producers, as well as our many loyal and enthusiastic customers, the future looks bright. Hope to meet you at market soon.

Enjoy!

~~ Ann Harvey Yonkers, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of FRESHFARM Markets

~~~

1. CSA’s = Shopping Done. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA’s) at four of FRESHFARM Markets farmers markets – CityCenterDC, Foggy Bottom, Penn Quarter, and Ballston – deliver convenience and a weekly selection of the best of each market.  Many market farmers are also offering their own CSA’s.

2. Not just a pretty face.  Farmers and consumers are celebrating the uniqueness of misfit, imperfect fruits and vegetables that deliver as much flavor and freshness as their prettier counterparts.

3. Capital for crops. Micro-lending and grants are new financing tactics that provide farmers and producers an alternative to tough-to-get capital loans from conventional lenders. Kiva Zip and the Jean Wallace Douglas Farmer Fund are two ways FRESHFARM Markets is opening up access to funding so producers and growers can invest, expand and diversify their businesses.

4. Incubating success. With access to the freshest ingredients and an audience hungry for locally sourced and ready to eat foods, a new wave of up and coming local food entrepreneurs are joining the markets and feeding the appetites of market goers.

5. Food entrepreneurs adding to the fermentation fervor. Kombucha starters (also known as S.C.O.B.Y’s), all kinds of kimchi, sauerkraut and even fermented drinks such as wine, cider and kombucha.  Expect to see lots of great new products and collaborations between fermenters and farmers.

6. Match making at market. Chefs and artisanal food producers want the most delicious food and local farmers grow it. They are partnering more than ever before to do delicious business with each other and meet the growing demand for locally sourced and crafted products.  The result? Flavor begins in the fields and is enhanced in the kitchen; farmers put more dollars in their pockets; restaurant diners find unmatched flavor on their plates and shoppers enjoy a bounty of local food choices.

7. Eat healthy on a budget. Low-income shoppers continue to discover farmers markets as a source for their favorite fruits, vegetables and more. Programs like Matching Dollars are supporting these shoppers’ demand for fresh, local and healthy foods throughout the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

8. Dirt….no longer a four letter word. Healthy food comes from healthy soil and many FRESHFARM Markets’ farmers are experimenting with crop rotations to enhance their soil fertility.  Cover crop “cocktails” are especially popular as farmers and researchers confirm that diverse crop rotations build the healthiest soils, which results in nutritious and delicious food.

9. Foraging for weeds and native foods. Given market customers ever widening appetites, farmers are foraging for, growing and selling crops formerly considered weeds such as amaranth greens, stinging nettle, purslane, ramps and dandelion greens. Foods native to the region are the new darlings including pawpaws, black walnuts and Winesap apples.

10. Get social & know before you go. Farmers and producers are increasingly becoming more tech and social media savvy.  Follow them and be the first to find out what they’ll have at market and learn about special end-of market deals. For shoppers who want to learn more about where their food comes from, they can go behind the scenes to see what a day on the farm is like, meet the families behind the food and fall in love with adorable farm animals.

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WHY WE VOLUNTEER
Volunteer Pic for Blog 2

I have had the pleasure of being FRESFHARM Markets’ Volunteer Coordinator for the past year.  We have relied on volunteers since the flagship market at Dupont Circle opened in 1997.  They help with everything from set up and break down, facilitating our Matching Dollars program at market, special market events like our popular Build-A-Bug and everything in between. They really become part of the market family.  Reflecting on the amazing work they do, I wondered: Why do these folks commit so much time, energy and hard work to FRESHFARM Markets without expecting anything in return? After all, so many of them have full-time jobs, busy lives and other places they could be on a frigid January morning or a gorgeous April afternoon than at market. So I asked…

Many of our volunteers started out as market shoppers. “I’m a dedicated amateur cook and was already a patron of the Dupont Circle market,” says David Robinson, a volunteer veteran.  “I figured I should give back to such a good cause. By making market patrons feel more at home and at ease, we can increase the connections between local shoppers and the source of their food.” Today, David brings his years of volunteer experience to bear on the Silver Spring market, which he appreciates for its transit-friendly location, diverse clientele, and relaxed vibe.

Mariah Halperin started out as a volunteer at FRESHFARM Market by the White House. “Having conversations with all the customers who would come to the Market Info booth gave me an appreciation for how much a farmers’ market can mean to a community.  It made me realize that I wanted to be a market manager myself.”  FRESHFARM hired Mariah to manage several markets last September.  “I now get to see even more of the immense behind-the-scenes work that goes into putting on such great farmers markets.”

Luis Warner volunteers week after week helping break down our Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market. Asked how long he has been volunteering with us, he shrugged, “Honestly, it’s such a blast that I forget.” Even for an amateur chef like Luis there is much more to market than his beloved tomatoes and kale. “To me it’s not just about impacting local agriculture. I believe, by supporting the market and making good food affordable to more people, we can inspire change.”  David absolutely agrees, “I love that we make shopping at farmers markets more affordable for those receiving government nutrition benefits.”

According to April Israel, a Farmland Feast volunteer, “These markets offer a unique crossroads for several different types of people – producers, consumers, educators and advocates. Being able to support these connections in a safe and friendly space is one of the most important things to me and what I strive to achieve through my volunteer work.

Whether it’s the Matching Dollars program, the farmers, the shoppers or the food movement as a whole, volunteering is about sharing what you love about farmers markets with others. It’s about giving back to a community that you are a part of and according to Luis, “walking away with something more at the end of that experience.”

Interested in volunteering with us? We’re looking for reliable, energetic folks who love local food and farmers markets. Email me to find out more.

~ by Sam Giffin, Markets Manager and Volunteer Coordinator for FRESHFARM Markets 

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THE DEAL WITH DILLS IN WINTER
Whats the Dill Blog Pic

This winter, I’ve been the deliverer of a lot of bad pickle news. I really don’t like disappointing pregnant ladies asking for District Dills or Kicky Koshers. Unfortunately, I went from “the pickle lady” to the, well, it’s hard to top that nickname. No pickles? A pickle company with out pickles?! Why? The answer to that question is quite simple: it’s cold and cucumbers can’t grow around here in the winter.

Now, fellow pickle lover, you might be scratching your head. The grocery store has cucumbers right now! Long, thin-skinned English cucumbers that you might slice up into a salad. Short and thin Persian cucumbers you might put on a veggie platter. And, perhaps, fat, thick-skinned “slicer” cucumbers. The kind you might see on a sandwich at Subway. Slicer cucumbers are grown in fields and are mostly known as a commodity vegetable. In the winter, most of them are shipped in from Mexico.

If you’re making vinegar pickles, slicer cucumbers will do the trick. For us to make barrel fermented pickles, slicer cucumber skin is too thick and there’s too much moisture, which can cause bloating. On the other hand, thin-skinned cucumbers, which are grown in greenhouses, turn to mush when fermented in salt brine. That’s why some cucumbers come waxed or wrapped in plastic. However, plastic-wrapped cucumbers are not the answer! When you’re a pickle company and you can’t make cucumber pickles, you start asking questions. Here is where we started:

It takes cucumbers about 50 to 60 days to grow. Sunlight and warm temperatures are essential for their growth. In this area, cucumbers can be grown from May to September. Farmers will do a second planting in July – simply meaning, they plant a second round of cucumbers in July that will be picked two months later.

After the cucumbers are picked from the plant, they are extremely perishable. Simply put, during long transit times, cucumbers perspire and lose their moisture. As they perspire, the cucumbers lose their shape, and dents and bumps begin to form. Dented cucumbers become mushy in the pickle barrel. Minimizing time from field to barrel ensures a crunchier pickle.

So what is the perfect pickling cucumber? If you pick up a seed catalog, you’ll see many types of pickling cucumbers, including the well-known variety Kirby. During cucumber season, we get a lot of our pickling cucumbers from West Virginia from Calvin of Bigg Riggs Farm and from Eli of Spring Valley Farm and Orchard. They grow pickling cucumber varieties with skins that are thicker than common greenhouse varieties, but thinner than slicer cucumbers. They’re low in moisture and have small seed cavities. The bumps on the outside of the cucumber are facing outward. When picked at the right size, these short, bumpy cucumbers make crunchy pickles with a hint of cucumber sweetness.

We love working with farmers we met at the farmers markets. We’re always looking for more growers! So what about the other months? And why can’t we find good pickling cucumbers during the coldest, winter months? It may be below freezing, but the grocery store has peaches and nectarines from another continent! To fully answer this question, here’s a brief lesson on the pickling industry.

Today, a few national pickle processors exist. I’m guessing pickles, like meat, produce and grain, followed a path of delocalization as the food industry became more industrialized. Today, almost all pickling cucumbers are grown for processors. Cucumber farms sprung up around these processors. Many of the farms grew primarily for these pickle companies. This was a type of “contract crop,” whether the contract was a handshake or a cultivated relationship between grower and processor.

Pickling cucumbers are shipped by the truckload directly from farm to processor in watermelon crates holding 2000 pounds of cucumbers. These big operations aren’t set up to do business with small pickle companies. Additionally, produce distributors and wholesale produce markets don’t regularly carry pickling cucumbers. This is both a supply and demand side issue – pickling cucumbers are first sold to their large “contract” buyers and small pickle processors looking for pickling cucumbers that can be barrel fermented are few.

For farmers, pickling cucumbers are not a high-dollar crop because they are sold to another middleman. Processors add a layer between grower and the final consumer – another layer looking to drive down costs. This means the cost of growing in greenhouses – both the initial investment and cost to heat it – isn’t justified for pickling cucumbers, but is for specialty cucumbers like Persian and English cucumbers.

Concentrations of pickling cucumber farms are found in Michigan, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Texas. Mt. Olivet, the largest pickle company in the United States, is based in North Carolina. Vlasic’s processing plant is in Michigan. Also in Michigan? A family that controls one of the largest share of farms growing pickling cucumbers in the United States. Even during the coldest months in Florida and Texas, like right now, pickling cucumbers aren’t growing. This still leaves a gap in the growing season. What are the Vlasics and Mt. Olivets to do?

Large pickle processors not only have their own growers, but their own storage. Cucumber fermentation tank yards can have rows of tanks. Open top tanks with a capacity of 10,000 gallons can hold a thousand bushels of cucumbers. This storage brine has a salinity of 6% to 10%. (To put that in perspective, our salt brine has around 3% salinity. Imagine our pickles two to three times saltier.) When those pickles are ready to be packed into jars, they are washed and flavored with “cover brine” and spices.

Years ago, I read an article about Wal-Mart that mentioned Vlasic pickles. The image of a one-gallon jar weighing 12 pounds has stuck with me all these years. Vlasic was selling this one-gallon jar of pickles at Wal-Mart for $2.97. Vlasic’s revenue soared, but not their profits. A hedge fund took over Vlasic. Consequently, one of Vlasic’s processing plants, this one in Delaware, was closed. In the media, the story focused on the relationship between the pickle maker and pickle seller. What about the pickle grower? Well, their story wasn’t told. I have my guesses: Some farmers sold their land for non-agricultural use. Others changed crops. Bigger farms absorbed small farms as Vlasic’s margins were further squeezed.

In this strange world, someone at the top decided to make more pickles in Michigan and ship them to the east coast. Someone made the calculus between the diesel budget and the nearby cucumber budget. And the pickle processing plant in Delaware that closed? It now packs chickens for shipment to Korea. We pay two to four times the average wholesale pricing to buy great cucumbers from nearby. We like sourcing quality cucumbers that are bumpy and sweet. We like knowing the great folks that grow and pick our cucumbers. We don’t mind paying for a quality product. We ask our customers, even the pregnant ladies, to do just that.

Right now, the only fresh pickling cucumbers are being grown in Mexico. They can spend over a week in transit by the time we pick them up from a distributor. Dented, soft cucumbers do not often make a delicious, crunchy pickle. This year, we decided to stop making pickles until we could get fresher cucumbers.

Perhaps there’s a greenhouse in our future or brine tanks out in West Virginia. Cracking this pickle “nut” has just begun. We’re excited to see where it leads us. This winter, we’ve been fermenting kimchi, kraut and green beans, which we fondly call “skinny pickles.” Come visit us at the farmers market! There’s more to this pickle story, like an ending, and we love to talk pickles!

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ON RETIRING – ANN HARVEY YONKERS & BERNIE PRINCE IN THEIR OWN WORDS
Yonkers_Prince_Retirement

Today, FRESHFARM Markets Co-Founders and Co-Executive Directors Ann Harvey Yonkers and Bernadine Prince announced they would be retiring later this year. Here are their thoughts on what the past 18 years have meant to them, the evolution of the delicious local food revolution and more.

~~~

Endings and Beginnings

As the time has been approaching for the announcement about stepping down from FRESHFARM Markets, I have kept coming back to four major themes:

  • The founding of FRESHFARM Markets
  • Farmers markets create place and community
  • Why I am grateful
  • Leaving FRESHFARM Markets

The Founding of FRESHFARM Markets
It has been such a privilege to found and lead FRESHFARM Markets for the past 18 years. I am very lucky to have found work that united both my passion and vocation, work that called deeply upon my skills and knowledge as well provided me with a sustaining sense of mission.

I am particularly grateful for the opportunity to create something new, to start fresh, to get it right. From the beginning, I felt a kind of destiny in this work and a sense of confidence that I had a unique role to play. Following the advice of master local farmers Susan and Chip Planck as well as Moie and Jim Crawford, and by utilizing best practices from markets around the county, we created an organization that was farmer focused, that could measure our progress and was committed to education of all stakeholders including farmers, customers and local officials. By adopting percentage fees, counting customers, choosing market gleaning partners, creating a chef-at-market program and going on farm visits we forged a unique path. One that has served us well as we have grown beyond our original vision.

We always thought big including a preference for closing streets to hold markets. This proved to be one of our greatest challenges and nearly our undoing early on, but insisting on converting streets to farmers markets eventually proved to be one of our strongest suits. It said, “Take notice. Farmers markets matter. We are here to stay.”

Farmers Markets Create Place and a Community
Farmers markets have a unique ability to create a place and forge community. Maybe it has to do with their temporary nature, the original pop-ups if you will. The food is beyond beautiful and invites touching, smelling, sampling and conversations. The farmers and producers are there, so customers can simply ask how and where it was grown, and by whom.

I have loved being part of this magic quality of markets and witnessing it happen in so many settings. The Penn Quarter FRESHFARM Market from 3 p.m. 7 p.m. draws office workers out of their cubicles, chefs from their nearby kitchens, commuters on their way home and residents as they return home. Suddenly it is a community. And there are so many conversations happening.

On Sunday mornings, the Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market is a destination in and of itself, and a regional pilgrimage. It is our market with a national profile and it is a beloved Sunday morning ritual for many Washingtonians. In the little town of St Michaels, MD, our market is the gathering place for the town residents. A place for conversation and catching up on local gossip while waiting in line to buy croissants or sunflowers or the first peaches.

Why I am Grateful
Most Americans have never met a farmer. They are essential to our everyday survival but are completely under appreciated. I am lucky enough to have worked with more than a hundred of them these past 18 years. My hats off to them and how they grow delicious food under all conditions. I am in awe of what they know about soil and seeds, pruning and cultivars, engines and greenhouses, heating systems and caring for animals, to say nothing of harvesting, storage, transportation and presentation of product at market. We buyers love to see their gorgeous food, but what really is most impressive is behind the scenes. I have loved going to their farms, learning from them, talking with them about their ups and downs and watching their progressive successes. I am deeply grateful to have earned their trust.

I have looked at our producers, an emerging class of food entrepreneurs, with pleasure and anticipation as they are bringing new excitement to our markets by way of their pickles, tacos, soup, charcuterie, wood fired pizza and more. They are building businesses because of the new abundance of local food.

I cherish our customers – the original loyalists from 1997 and all of the newer ones. They are giving their support to local agriculture by showing up at markets, and voting with their forks and their wallets.

I am so grateful to our market partners in Washington, DC and Virginia – the Downtown BID, Mount Vernon Triangle CID, CityCenterDC, Edens at Union Market, Crystal City BID and Ballston BID. Without them we would not be able to build our markets and constituencies, broaden our influence and reach new heights.

We have been so fortunate to attract quality people as FRESHFARM Markets staff and volunteers. I see such creative work, commitment to creating community, hardiness, growth, service and loyalty to our mission. What a pleasure to go to work every day.

Our Board is the absolute best. Weve relied on Board members to guide us in our market policies, organize our financials and raise much needed funds. Now as we transition, they are also transitioning to a governing board. Its been a thrill to see them step up.

I am grateful to Bernie Prince, my co-conspirator and partner of 18 years, for her absolute enthusiasm for the markets, her high standards and for all her hard work to create the FRESHFARM Markets we see today. I know of no one who works harder and cares more. Bravo, Bernie! We did something great!

Leaving FRESHFARM Markets
Leaving FRESHFARM Markets feels very different than starting it. Instead of leaning in, it means stepping back and taking stock. I can clearly see weve come such a long way. We created a successful organization beyond our dreams. FRESHFARM Markets is like a beloved child, one I have cherished, worried over and championed for 18 years and is now ready to fly away and discover new ways to excel. Its time, and thats fine with me. I am a proud Mama.

~ Ann Harvey Yonkers, FRESHFARM Markets co-founder and co-executive director

~~~
Reflections on FRESHFARM Markets

I never thought creating a farmers market would be so challenging (i.e., difficult!) and yet rewarding in so many wonderful ways. When I see the farmer tents at the Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market, my spirits soar, just knowing that we did itwe transformed a dusty parking lot and a city street into a bustling producer-only farmers market or as some customers say the church of the market every Sunday in the heart of Washington, DC, our nations capital. Over the past 18 years, I have had the privilege to work with the most talented farmers and producers and smart, young staff to create the best and largest farmers market network in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

FRESHFARM Markets has been a huge part of my life and I am so proud of what weve accomplished. I look forward to every market day! I love talking to the farmers, hearing that Eli Cooks crew at Spring Valley Farm & Orchard crossed two icy mountain ranges to get to market, Heinz Thomet of Next Step Produce has sticky rice and rolled oats, Zach Lester of Tree & Leaf Farm has a new batch of spicy kimchi, Eric Rice of Country Pleasures Farm has my favorite fruits–organic Montmorency cherries and blueberries, Emily Zaas from Black Rock Orchard has pawpaws. I love taking the pulse of the market, seeing so many regular market shoppers, and knowing that nearly every farmer or producer I see is staying in business and looking forward to the next season or the next market s/he can be part of with FRESHFARM Markets.

I will miss taking on the next FRESHFARM Market adventure with co-founder Ann Yonkers, who as been the best, most passionate, local foods partner to work with for more then 18 years. I will miss ringing the market bell, going on farm visits and seeing the bounty of food, flowers and more every FRESHFARM Market day. But I know it is time to goto have another passionate and far-sighted leader take FRESHFARM Markets to the next level.

Most dear to me are two programs I created. First is SNAP/Food Stamp redemption at markets and our Matching Dollars program that started in 2009 to help low income shoppers afford fresh market food. FRESHFARM Markets was the first DC farmers market to accept SNAP and the second to do so in Maryland, plus we give Matching Dollars tokens to shoppers using their USDA Supplemental Nutrition benefits at our farmers markets. This program makes fresh, healthy food accessible and affordable to people in need and thanks to hundreds of individual donors FRESHFARM Markets has given out more than $200,000 in Matching Dollars since2009.

Second is the FoodPrints gardening andnutrition education program now in five DC schools and a model for teaching life skills so young people know how to grow, care for, harvest and prepare fresh healthy food. I have been so lucky to have Jennifer Mampara (FoodPrints Director) to create the curriculum; Barbara Percival (Master Gardener) to build the organic, edible school garden at Watkins and a talented team of FoodPrints teachers to teach young people about healthy eating. I estimate that about 10,000 students are eating raw kale salad as their favorite FoodPrints dish since the program started at Watkins elementary school in 2009. It makes me happy to see families shopping at market with their FoodPrints recipes inhand because the children want to eat more fresh vegetables! Educating our next generation of eaters is so important to me, and Im glad to have inspired this food revolution for young students in the District. Im hoping that FoodPrints will not only be a model for nutrition education but actually BE in every elementary school in DC, and maybe next year in Delaware!

Ive shared FRESHFARM Markets successes with other market managers and farmers by speaking at conferences and workshops throughout the USA. Because of FRESHFARM Markets, I have traveled to Australia and New Zealand where farmers market managers in those countries are using our producer-only model for their farmers markets. I have served two terms as president of the national Farmers Market Coalition and Ive been asked to continue serving as president in 2015.

When I retire later this year, Ill join my husband on our 10-acre Blue Skies Farm in Georgetown, Delaware where I have started to grow lots of flowers, garlic and strawberriesall organic. Come spring, I will be planting fig trees, paw paws and organic vegetables in my new raised garden beds. My husband Ray has bigger plans. So if you hear about the guy who believes he can grow trees inoculated with the truffle spore in Delawarethats Ray with a dream that keeps us both reaching for the stars!

Will I miss FRESHFARM Markets? I will miss every market day, talking to the farmers and their staff, the incredible foods and farm products that are brought to market, and yes, Ill miss ringing the market bell. But I know that it is only a two-hour drive from our Delaware farm to DC. I know I can visit FoodPrints schools and see new school gardens growing. I know I am on Cedarbrook Farms ham list forever. I know where to find the best food at FRESHFARM Markets farmers markets every week in DC.

FRESHFARM Marketshas been a wonderful experience for me and I trust the next leader of FRESHFARM Markets will be just as successful in growing the organizationperhaps finding a permanent market site or a second Dupont Circle market site on weekdays in the new park planned for Connecticut Avenue.

Ill be cheering from Delaware and always ready to return to ring the opening bell.

~~ Bernadine Prince, FRESHFARM Markets co-founder and co-executive director

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