In advance of Urban Farm Day, my mother-in-law (Linda Schineller) and I decided to pop by the Massachusetts Avenue Project’s (MAP) Farm Stand, which is operated every Thursday from 3pm to 6pm. A trip to this food stand and indoor micro-market (MAP’s headquarters – Farmhouse and Community Food Training Center) has become a weekly excursion for many people in the neighborhood, including Linda. So when Linda called me yesterday morning and asked me to accompany her on her Thursday venture, I said, “Of course.”
We arrived to the market at 3pm promptly, figuring that some of the goods would sell out pretty quickly. We were surprised to see so many other people were on the same page, already picking up their goods – including their weekly FarmFix food shares, which can be picked up at MAP headquarters or at any of the MAP Mobile Market Express locations.
“The farm stand not only has a section of high quality fruits, vegetables, and other products… it is managed by young people who are learning about the food business and have an entrepreneurial spirit,” said Linda, when I asked her what she loves most about the market. “The regionally sourced farm products are providing vital foods for a neighborhood that has a dearth of wholesome food options. Many of the neighbors walk to the farm stand because they might not have access to a car. It’s become a reliable way for people feed their families with the foods that will keep them healthy. The more that we can all support this concept, the more it works for the entire neighborhood – it’s bigger than us.”
A walk through the market is a real delight. There are so many offerings, including teas, raw honey, syrups, Ozark plums, peaches,nectarines, lettuce mixes, Napa cabbage, chard, onions, kale, carrots, fennel, sauerkraut, kimchi, pesto, potatoes, mushrooms, seedless grapes, Yummo ice cream, Erba Verde Farms grass fed chicken, The Bloom & Rose knishes, apple butter, Genesee Valley beans, dried spearmint, peppers, sour Asian cucumbers, corn, watermelon, cut flowers, breads, treats… the list goes on.
Best yet, many of the farmed goods are resourcefully grown right in the neighborhood, at MAP’s urban farm land (sits on 13 reclaimed vacant lots). These urban farm land are tended by the community’s youth, who learn invaluable life skills.
During our visit, we learned that MAP is working with a new bread vendor – Elevated Grains, which sources grains from regional farmers, ground in Ithaca. The breads will be available for the first time at the upcoming Thursday market, so you won’t want to miss out.
If you haven’t stopped by the MAP Farm Stand, maybe consider doing so during Urban Farm Day, or any Thursday. Take it from Linda – it’s a real treat, and we’re lucky to have this resource in our midst.
MAP Farm Stand and Micro Market
MAP Farmhouse | 387 Massachusetts Ave
Get connected: www.mass-ave.org