Fresh fruits and vegetables ahead

An overview of farmers markets, CSA groups at Johns Hopkins

With spring's bloom comes the promise of months of fresh fruits and vegetables ahead. Across Johns Hopkins, there are plenty of opportunities to get your hands on seasonal local produce.

The popular Johns Hopkins Farmers Market on the East Baltimore campus starts up for the season on April 21, with the Keswick Market picking up in June, and other options—such as CSA groups delivering bundles of produce from local farms each week—are around the corner. Or you can even grow food yourself, at the popular Blue Jay's Perch community garden, celebrating its fifth anniversary this year.

Many of these offerings are available for not only the Hopkins community but also the Baltimore community at large.

Here's a roundup:

Farmers Markets

Johns Hopkins Farmers Market on the East Baltimore campus

Where: The Jefferson Street pathway near the Koch Cancer Research Building

When: April 21 through Oct. 28, every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

What's available: A dozen vendors visit weekly. You'll find fresh seasonal produce from two farms in the region—Zahradaka and Tuckey's Mountain—along with food trucks serving Mexican tacos, barbecue pork, brick-fired pizza, and Thai food. Also available are gourmet nuts, honey, cheeses, cookies, cakes, and other items.

Extras:

  • On the market's opening day, April 21, there will be an electronics collection and recycling drive, along with a service for confidential paper–shredding.
  • United Healthcare hosts cooking demonstrations once a month.
  • Partnering with the Maryland Farmers Market Association, the market offers a "bonus bucks" program for SNAP and WIC customers, providing $5 worth of benefits with their purchases.

Who's in charge: The Johns Hopkins Hospital Green Team, contracting with the Reduction in Motion firm.

Read more about the market on its Facebook page.

Johns Hopkins at Keswick Farmers Market

Where: The parking lot of the Keswick South building at 3910 Keswick Road.

When: June 7 through Oct. 4, Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

What's available: About a dozen vendors visit each week, including the local Jones Family Farm and food trucks serving crab cakes, pizza, and Irish pub food. There are also a spice store, juice and smoothies, fresh-baked pastries, and a variety of homemade goods including jewelry and body butters.

Extras:

  • New this year, the market is serving as a drop-off point for a CSA run by Jones Family Farm. (See details under Keswick Farmers Market CSA below.)
  • The market hosts multiple cooking demonstrations, with the schedule announced on its Facebook page.
  • Baltimore community groups and sustainable businesses make regular appearances, with representatives available for conversations and sign-ups.
  • Interested in volunteering at the market? Staff who work in the Keswick buildings can sign up for 30-minute sessions. Email acarte29@jhu.edu.

Who's in charge: The Johns Hopkins Green Team (Keswick), along with volunteers.

Read more about the market on its Facebook page.

Shady Grove Farmers and Artisans Market

Where: JHU Montgomery County Campus, parking lot at the corner of Key West Avenue and Broschart Road.

When: May 4 to Oct. 25, Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

What's available: Along with fresh local fruits, vegetables, and plants, you'll find meat, eggs, poultry, pastries, pasta, bread, and wine, along with food trucks, jewelry and art.

Read more about the market—nationally recognized as one of the 100 Best Markets in America by the Daily Meal—on its website.

CSA OPTIONS

Joining a Community-Supported Agriculture group is essentially signing a contract for a rotating array of seasonal produce. A set fee typically secures a weekly bundle of fresh vegetables and fruit, delivered by a local farm that swings by for drop-offs at designated locations. The Hopkins community has several CSAs to choose from, with varied pickup spots and dates.

Keswick Farmers Market CSA

Participating farm: Jones Family Farm, based in Edgewood, Md.

Pickups: Every Tuesday between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at the weekly Keswick Farmers Market, which runs from June 7 through Oct. 4 in the Keswick South parking lot, 3910 Keswick Rd.

What to expect: The farm's harvest chart gives you an idea of the variety of produce you could anticipate, as seasonal crops rotate. In July, you might see carrots, green beans, honeydew melons, or tomatoes, while in October you might see cabbage, collards, gourds, or kale. You can choose a full share for eight items a week ($29 per week, or $510 for the whole run) or a half-share for four items a week ($17 per week, or $310 for the whole run). A biweekly full share option is also available.

How to join: Email allison@jonesproducefarm.com or call 410-676-3709 for more information. You also can go to the registration signup form on Jones Family Farm's website.

Homewood CSA

Participating farm: One Straw Farm, based in northern Baltimore County.

Pickups: Weekly at a day and time to be determined (check here for updates), from the start of June through mid-November, at the Charles Street Market, 3301 N. Charles St.

What you can expect: The farm's harvest chart gives an idea of the type of produce you might see as the season progresses. For example, you might see strawberries and snap peas in the spring, watermelon in the summer, and hard squash in the fall. Each participant gets eight items a week, at $600 for the entire season. (Rolling sign-ups are also available for later in the season. Email realfoodhopkins@gmail.com for more details.)

How to join: Sign up via One Straw Farm's online registration form, choosing "Full Share" and the "JHU Homewood" location. Members can also join a listserv, by emailing realfoodhopkins@gmail.com, to keep up-to-date.

Read more about the CSA on the JHU Sustainability website.

Johns Hopkins School of Public Health CSA

Participating farm: One Straw Farm, based in northern Baltimore County.

Pickups: Mondays from 3:15 to 5:15 p.m., June 6 through Nov. 14, at the parking garage below the School of Public Health on Washington and McElderry streets. (Note: You should walk into the garage rather than drive.)

What you can expect: The farm's harvest chart gives an idea of the type of produce you might see as the season progresses. For example, you might see strawberries and snap peas in the spring, watermelon in the summer, and hard squashes in the fall. Each participant gets eight items a week, at $600 for the full run. Splitting a share is an option; if you're looking for a potential partner, email csa@jhsph.edu.

Also check out this time-lapse video to see this CSA in action.

How to join: Sign up via One Straw Farm's online registration form, choosing "Full Share" and the "JHSPH-CLF" location. Note that this CSA is available only to School of Public Health students and employees.

Read more about the CSA on the Center for a Livable Future website

The Space Telescope Science Institute CSA

Participating farm: One Straw Farm, based in northern Baltimore County.

Pickups: Wednesdays from 1 to 3 p.m., from early June through mid-November, at the parking lot directly across from the Space Telescope Science Institute at 3700 San Martin Drive.

What you can expect: The farm's harvest chart gives an idea of the type of produce you might see as the season progresses. For example, you might see strawberries and snap peas in the spring, watermelon in the summer, and hard squashes in the fall. Each participant gets eight items a week, at $600 for the full run.

How to join: Sign up via One Straw Farm's online registration form, choosing "Full Share" and the "Hubble-STSCI" location. Note: This CSA is targeted mainly to STScI employees but others from Hopkins have also taken part. Questions? Email site coordinator Bryan Hilbert at hilbert@gmail.com.

GARDENING

The Blue Jay's Perch

The popular Blue Jay's Perch community garden offers 4,000 square feet for growing fruits and vegetables at Johns Hopkins at Eastern, 1101 East 33rd St. Both Hopkins community members and local residents in Waverly can participate.

Advocacy from the student-run group Real Food Hopkins led to the garden's creation five years ago. The group's annual spring kickoff party will be April 30 at the garden; more details on Facebook.

Funded by student groups, grants, and private donations, the gardening program is free for members, providing all the seeds, soil, water, and tools necessary. The gardening season takes place between March and November.

Gardeners have two options. In the "partner plot" system, groups of Hopkins students, faculty, or staff tend a 4-by-8-foot plot for the full season, partnering with a community, school, or church group within the Waverly community that takes care of a same-size plot. For individuals looking for a less-intensive time commitment, communal rows in which gardeners share the workload and harvest.

The program is popular, so space is limited and most plots are already filled. Members typically sign up for a full calendar year starting in January. Applications are available online, and further questions can go to jhucommgarden@gmail.com.

Read more about the garden on its blog.

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