A typical day for me at the market starts out in the morning when I wake up. It’s about 4am and still dark out. I ride my bike down from Charles Village and survey the market grounds. I do a few hellos to the vendors who arrive prior to 5am and I start setting up a variety of tables and tents. As we get closer to the 7am start time, more and more vendors and programming partners start to arrive. After the market officially opens, I’m all over the place—answering questions at the Welcome Tent, getting ingredients for the cooking demos and fielding questions from vendors. On occasion, I’ll get to step back and see the diverse and cheery crowd nomming on food under an urban overpass and it really feels worth every bit of effort.
2. What is your background; what led you to BOPA?
My background is pretty eclectic and my path to BOPA has been a twisting one. Highlights include: skipping college, working for a bicycle company testing new products, foraging mushrooms for restaurants, building fighting robots for competition and running social media for a small urban fishing team. I was brought in to the BOPA fold by Sandy Lawler, the former market manager, as a market assistant. She has been my mentor and I owe her a lot. Thanks, Sandy!
3. Tell me one of your favorite things about the Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar?
This one is easy, the food. I love watching the progression of the seasons as it is reflected in the produce available at the market. I get very excited when ramps and asparagus greet us in the early spring, or seeing the first truckload of corn in the summer, or when kabocha squash and its pumpkin cousins finally arrive in the fall. Don’t get me wrong, the people are great, but you can’t eat them, so…
4. What are some of the challenges you face in this role?
Sometimes the market feels like a very intricate puzzle—when you solve one issue, two more pop up. Many groups and individuals all have their own concept of what is ideal and my job is to find the balance that leads to the greatest success for all. I love puzzles and I love challenges, so figuring out how best to bring 100+ different vendors together in a parking lot under the overpass in downtown Baltimore week after week is right up my alley.
5. In addition to the Farmers’ Market & Bazaar, are there other projects you work on at BOPA?
Well prior to becoming the manager of the market, I worked as a special events coordinator. It was a varied role at BOPA, which I really enjoyed. It touched many aspects of food and music and I was fortunate enough to work firsthand with amazing chefs, musicians and authors. I was responsible for fireworks displays, band battles, parade divisions and cooking competitions. It was a cool job and BOPA does cool things.
6. What is something people don’t know about the Farmers’ Market & Bazaar?
Based on the majority of the questions we receive at the Welcome Tent at the market, it is where the bathrooms are located. They are located on the southernmost part of the market by Saratoga Street and the Migue’s Mini Donut stand.