The recent interest in healthy eating has brought on higher interest in farmers’ markets in the past twenty years. The interest has been significantly increasing, with over 8,000 farmers’ markets available in the United States. The markets have evolved over the years, to what Alexandria Tyron-Hopko calls “open air food courts.”
Alexandria has seen the evolution of farmers’ markets first hand. She has been part of the USDA Farmers Market in Washington D.C. for twenty years. Her business, So Very Special, LLC, is the only original vendor left at this market. Next to her stand was a popcorn vendor, so she doesn’t believe these markets are the same as they were when she first started.
Available at Alexandria’s stand are not your day to day herbs. When discussing with her husband about what they were going to do when they moved to Maryland, Alexandria, also a nuclear engineer, told her husband “If you’re going to do it, you’re going to do unusual ones and not run of the mill, ya know, not the standard six that you can buy at the Lowes, or whatever.”
Her stand sells tarragon, scented geranium, lippia, six to eight varieties of basil, 12-14 varieties of rosemary, lemon verbena, and 20 varieties of lavender. She also has various soaps and skin care products that the younger generation is more interested in purchasing.
She says the demographics that come to the markets are younger, and more interested in aromas and soaps, than purchasing food to cook.
Alexandria’s business, now taken over by her daughter Melissa, is doing well. She enjoys having people stop by the stand to talk with her about her work and her products, as well as providing herbs for her regular customers.
Alexandria is just one of the many farmers contributing to the growing interest in fresh food available at farmers’ markets. For more information and to see if there is a farmer’s market near you, visit the USDA website.