Campus farmers market offers many fresh, but limited kosher, options

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By Jared Beinart
Staff writer
@Jared_Beinart

Every Wednesday, right in front of Cole Field House, this university’s farmers market provides students with a change of pace with a variety of items from fresh produce to unique stands featuring hummus, dips and more.

While The Farmers Market at Maryland provides a platform for small businesses and local farms to promote their products to students on campus, the kosher selection remains somewhat limited.

 

 McCleaf's Orchard sells fresh canned foods that are certified kosher. Jared Beinart/Mitzpeh.
McCleaf’s Orchard sells fresh canned foods that are certified kosher. Jared Beinart/Mitzpeh.

Brad McCleaf of McCleaf’s Orchard is well-known for the variety of fruits and vegetables he sells at his stand. All of McCleaf’s canned items are marked kosher, including honey, applesauce, apple juice and apple butter.

Ezra Roberts, a junior biochemistry major, tries his best to attend the food market every week in search of fresh produce.

“I think that the produce at the market is as high quality as you can get,” Roberts said. “I will occasionally look around to see if there are any new stands, to see what they have.”

The owner of Valencia's Produce shows off his fresh produce and plants. Jared Beinart/Mitzpeh.
Juan Valencia, owner of Valencia’s Produce shows off his fresh produce and plants. Jared Beinart/Mitzpeh.

While there are numerous stands selling fresh produce that cater to all students, for those looking to find explicitly kosher items, the options are limited.

Dottie Hare from Country Vittles from Critter Hill farm in Pennsylvania sells various meat products at her stand, including beef, pork, rabbit, goat and lamb.

“We raise the animals [we sell] with the exception of the lamb,” Hare said. “The items we sell are not kosher. It’s very seldom we get asked if our products are kosher.”

Roberts believes that a kosher meat section of the market would be fairly popular among students in search of more kosher options.

“I think everyone would love a kosher meat option,” Roberts said. “While I am not sure there is enough of a demand for it, if there is [a kosher meat stand] I think everyone would be happy with that.”

Jonathan Meyers of Sexy Vegie, a company based out of Baltimore that specializes in vegan and vegetarian cuisine, states that “though our items are not [certified] kosher, I think they meet most of the kosher guidelines.”

Jonathan Meyers of Sexy Vegie, which specializes in vegan and vegetarian cuisine, hands out free samples. Jared Beinart/Mitzpeh.
Jonathan Meyers of Sexy Vegie, which specializes in vegan and vegetarian cuisine, hands out free samples. Jared Beinart/Mitzpeh.

Meyers believes the market would be a great place to sell items pertaining to those in search of kosher food sources.

“I believe that any time you have a demand or a market for a particular product, especially at a public university, the university should cater to the needs of their students,” Meyers said.

Sophomore finance major Sammy Myers believes the farmer’s market could do more to suit the needs of students who keep kosher.

“I think it would be a great idea for the market to open a stand that focuses on selling items that are strictly kosher,” Myers said. “This allows for students looking for these foods to have a safer and easier time finding certain [kosher options].”

The farmers market allows students to buy and support locally owned farms and businesses. While kosher meats and other products remain scarce, produce continues to remain a safe choice for those going to the market in search of kosher items.

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