I've been managing the markets since October 2020, but officially took over as owner of Growing Roots in January 2021. So somewhere between 1.5-2 years!
This is a long-winded answer — I'll try to give the sparknotes version! I studied Hospitality & Business in college because I wanted to be a restaurant manager and eventually open my own restaurant. My first job managing was the restaurant at Wyebrook Farm in Honey Brook. That's where I really fell in love with local food and agriculture, and it shaped my perspective on our food systems.
I continued supporting local food both personally and professionally for 5+ years before I ended up back home in Chester County when Lisa O'Neill (Growing Roots founder) was getting ready to retire. It was during the early days of COVID and going to the farmers market was my big "outing" of the week. I saw Lisa there every week and got to know some of the producers, and one day she told me she was retiring and wanted me to take over Growing Roots. The rest is history!
The best part of shopping the farmers market is changing up your meals every season! It keeps things interesting, and challenges you to try new things and cook with the products available locally.
Of course this time of year is a crowd favorite, and I anxiously await tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, berries, stone fruits, and melons to come in season every year. But there are other products that have seasonality too — like fresh chicken or dairy. I wait all winter for Locust Hollow Sheep Farm's cheese to return to market in the spring, and it continues to evolve as the season goes on from young, fresh cheese spreads to aged cheeses like pecorino. It's so exciting, plus more nutritious and delicious to eat food when it's in season!
There are so many! Top of the list has to be getting a call or text from a producer after they break a sales record. Last month, it happened to two of our producers on the same day, and the texts/calls came in not even 1 hour apart to tell me they shattered their previous record. That was an exciting day!
It may seem silly — but a few of my favorite experiences were actually not at market. #1 has to be our annual producer meeting this past April. Seeing everyone together (over 60 producers and their plus ones!) outside of market, getting to know each other or catching up with old friends, enjoying local food and beer, and even learning some new things. It was such a great energy and I enjoyed getting a chance to celebrate the people who make Growing Roots farmers markets happen!
A close second "non-market" experience would be visiting the farmers & producers while shooting our film series and third was attending the Farmers Market Pros InTents Conference this year.