Community Food Program Volunteers Take a Bite Out of Food Insecurity

October 31st, 2016

Each week at the Pigtown Community Farmers Market, guests enjoyed free, delicious samples of healthy food. The chefs behind these creations were Harry Rebman and Sara Service, two dedicated and passionate Paul’s Place volunteers.

Harry and Sara aren’t unfamiliar with cooking for a crowd. For almost twenty years, the couple owned and ran a restaurant in Pennsylvania. After retiring a year ago, they moved to Baltimore and live with their daughter and her husband. They wanted to share their skills with people who did not have access to fresh, healthy foods like they themselves enjoy.

While volunteering at the Farmers’ Market, Sara and Harry sat down each Monday to develop a recipe that could be prepared in 30 minutes or less to feed a family of four. They made sure to use seasonal, fresh ingredients available at the Farmers’ Market. Their recipes this season included the immensely popular blueberry fruit roll-ups (their personal favorite), stove-top pizza, melon salad, and veggie quesadillas. They loved seeing people get excited about the samples, and many families reported using Sara and Harry’s recipes to cook at home.

Harry and Sara’s advice for aspiring chefs? “Don’t be afraid to try new tastes. Cooking uses all of your senses. Cooking is a skill that you can take with you forever, and everybody likes a good cook!”

What’s next for Harry and Sara now that the Market season is over? Sara is volunteering regularly with the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, while Harry works at Citron, a new restaurant in Quarry Lake. Luckily for Paul’s Place, they are helping out on Mondays with Kids in the Kitchen, our cooking education program! They will bring their culinary knowledge and share their love for all fruits and veggies (especially Brussel sprouts, corn, melon, and apples!).

The Pigtown Community Farmers Market was founded in 2015 to serve the Southwest Baltimore community and this year was open from June 2nd – October 6th in Carroll Park. We were delighted to accept SNAP and WIC money from guests, and with the help of the Maryland Farmers Market Association, match SNAP/WIC expenditures up to $5! For example, this means that a guest who used $5 of their SNAP money received an addition $5 to spend at any eligible vendor.

With a rotating list of 10 vendors, the Market provided healthy, fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms, including Shlagel Farms, Bear Foot Farm, Real Food Farm, and Boone Street Farm. Guests also enjoyed delicious hot meals and snacks from local Baltimore food businesses such as Tree Frog Hot Sauce, Kodee Cakes, J&S Lemonade and Party, and many more! A HUGE thank you to our incredible vendors for supporting the Market.

An average of 264 guests visited each Market, and concerts, yoga classes, Zumba classes, and fun activities for kids kept the Market exciting even on the hottest days! Some favorite memories from the Market season include picking apples with the Baltimore Orchard Project and making edible Veggie Friends at the Back-to-School Day at the Farmers Market.

If you are interested in supporting the Pigtown Community Farmers Market, consider joining the Farmers Market Community Advisory Board (CAB). Residents of Pigtown and beyond are invited to offer suggestions and make key decisions about the future of the Market. You can sign up to be on our Community Advisory Board mailing list or email Katie.