The University of Connecticut’s annual Farm Fresh Market will return to campus every Thursday starting in May, giving students, faculty and visitors a chance to purchase fresh, local produce and other products.
In past years, the event has been held on Fairfield Way between the Student Union and Laurel Hall. This year, due to scheduled construction, the market will be held on the rock patio area between the backs of the Benton Museum and the Wilbur Cross Library, according to an announcement on Dining Services’ website.
The rainout location for the market will be inside the Student Union on the edge of the food court area, said area manager and market organizer John Smith.
“Last year we got lucky, we didn’t have any rainout days,” Smith said. “So we’re hoping to have some more good luck this year.”
The market, which has been in business annually since 2012, gives faculty and students the opportunity to attend a farmer’s market without having to leave campus, Smith said.
The weekly event showcases produce from local farms, including UConn’s Spring Valley Student Farm (SVSF), which will sell many in-season vegetables. Variety and availability will be a little slow at first because much of the harvest is ready closer to June, Smith said. But the market will run from May all the way through September, so buyers can expect many different crops.
“Offering a market on campus where students, staff, faculty and UConn visitors can experience fresh local student grown and regional products easily during their lunch break encourages more people to explore the local food options available to them,” said SVSF farm manager Julia Cartabiano.
Cartabiano provided a list of produce that could be available at the market from May through September, noting that the list is not all-inclusive or exhaustive:
• Early June: lettuce, kale, mixed Asian greens, spinach
• Mid-Late June: peas (snow, snap or shelling), radishes, scallions, chives, Swiss chard, beets, more varieties of greens
• July: summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, green beans, herbs (basil, parsley, cilantro, papalo and dill), Swiss chard, beets, mixed greens and cut flowers for bouquets
• August: garlic, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, green beans, carrots, onions, herbs, salad greens
• September: cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, onions, turnips, winter squash, kale, lettuce, Swiss chard
“(The market) opens the dialogue about where our food comes from and the state of our current food system,” Cartabiano said. “More people are looking to eat locally grown food, to know their farmer, to support local economies and to reduce their carbon footprint.”
UConn’s Not Just Desserts bakery will also sell items at the market, alongside other local vendors selling honey, hot sauce and many other products. In addition to the typical café items sold on campus, the bakery will sell different products such as breads, pies and cookies. Gluten free items will be available for sale as well, Smith said.
“We’ll take requests, too,” Smith said. “Someone might come and say ‘Oh, I’m looking for this kind of bread but I want it as gluten free’ and we are definitely able to do that for next time.”
Turnout has been large for the market in the past, though mostly consisting of faculty and staff because few students are on campus during the summer.
In separate interviews, both Smith and Cartabiano said that many familiar faces come to the market each year, and many of the same people stop by on a regular basis during the duration of the market. Smith said this brings more opportunity to take requests and fulfill them upon the customer’s return.
“(SVSF) looks forward to reconnecting with the many friendly customers we have met over the years at the market. There are many loyal repeat customers who look forward to our products week after week,” Cartabiano said.
The Fresh Farm Market will kick-off Thursday, May 19 and will run every Thursday through September from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., according to an announcement on Dining Services’ website.
Molly Stadnicki is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.