By ROXANNE YU
Each Wednesday brings a wave of anticipation among students and staff at the University of Miami. The source of the buzz is the Farmer’s Market that takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. between the Richter Library and the Student Center.
In most instances, it is the wide range of different cuisine, the freshly grown produce and the variety of localized goods that attract weekly shoppers to visit the market.
But, could it also be true to say that this once a week occasion has altogether made an even more resounding impact on those who have been coming to campus to offer their products?
Guillermo Forstmann, 68, of Bee Land Honey shared how he has grown up making honey a part of his lifestyle. Forstmann, an Argentinian native, also mentioned how much he looks forward to being on campus every Wednesday of the week.
“I’ve been making honey for 15 years now. I like it here. It’s very peaceful and the kids are very polite,” Forstmann said.
The Farmer’s Market officially made its mark on campus in October 2010. Set up in the vicinity of the bookstore, the Farmer’s Market has since its opening gained a considerable amount of popularity within the school.
Students and university employees have marked every Wednesday of the week, allotting time to visit the market to visit their favorite food stalls or even to just enjoy strolling around the area. The market’s location has a very relaxed ambiance to it. It all comes together when the Miami sun complements the entire scenic disposition.
Lily Hutchinson, 19, a legal studies and management major, said she visits the market often and enjoys the idea of trying new things around.
“I come here most Wednesdays and I usually like to get some stuff from the pastry booth but today, I wanted to try something new. It’s nice how there’s always something different around,” Hutchinson said.
One of the most striking things visitors will notice when walking from one stall to another is the diversity that the market holds.
One corner specializes in vegan cuisine, another in Argentinian and there’s even an Asian booth. The shift of the vendors’ accents from one tent to the next is so exhilarating to hear but, above all, the most gratifying feeling comes with the warmth that comes from the smiles of these individuals.
The aroma that comes from the market and makes its way to the UC Breezeway is clearly on par with the quality of food that is being served. The hot food that is served is not prepackaged and is deliberately made in front of the customers. Ingredients are fresh and most importantly, the products are authentic.
Benny and John Martin, a couple who are originally from Honduras, operate the stall called Benny Fruits and Vegetables. They bring fresh fruits and vegetables every Wednesday, all of which they harvest on their own.
With a warm smile, John Martin, 55, shared how he and his wife have been coming to the U for the Farmer’s Market for five years now.
Another stall had a selection of products from tapestries and stones all the way to soaps as well as essential oils that came from indigenous areas of the globe. Patricia Phang Sang Chase, who manages the booth called Healing Blends, has also been in the market since its inception.
Chase, a native of Jamaica, mentioned how some of her self-made products are consumed differently compared to consumable food and beverages served in other booths.
“I make my own soap and blend my own oils. Everything usually starts off great at the start of the semester but my products are not readily usable, which doesn’t allow you to replace them all week. For instance, these oils can last you two years,” Chase said.
Just as how the Farmer’s Market plays a role in the schedule of a UM student, it more so plays an even bigger aspect to the lives of these individuals who come to campus on a weekly basis.
It is, however, astounding to raise the point that although a significant number of people make it a routine to stop by the Farmer’s Market, there is still a majority who have seen the market, passed through it, yet have not really been able to venture through the different booths.
Tavhani Quarterman, 24, a UM bookstore sales associate, said that she has seen the market yet, has not had the chance to see what the different tents have.
“I haven’t actually been but I’ve seen it set up and it looks really cool. I like the concept of how they sell fresh produce,” Quarterman said.