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5 October 2011

Farmers market makes its return to campus

Heavenly aromas wafted from white tents lining the walkway between the UC and the Richter Library on Wednesday, marking the return of the weekly Well ‘Canes Farmers Market.

The regional goods, ranging from locally-grown produce to spices, breads, soaps and herbal products, were brought back to campus for students, faculty and staff members to enjoy and for businesses to earn profits.

“Looking at the response we had last year, it was a hugely popular and successful event that students really wanted,” said Michael Piacentino, the Student Government (SG) press secretary. “Even over the summer, we started planning on bringing the vendors back and starting it up again.”

Wim Forstmann, who was working at the local honey stand, has returned to UM for a second year of weekly business.

“The sales are good enough and the environment is nice, so why not?” Forstmann said.

While other popular stands, like Harmony Kettle Corn, are back for more business, new vendors have joined as well. George Sortino brought fresh, handmade mozzarella and locally grown herbs to UM for the first time.

“There’s a lot of people here,” Sortino said. “The key with Farmers markets is that, if there are vendors, people come out. If people come out, you get more vendors.”

Sophomore Allison Beece noticed more vegetables and greens this time around.

“Having this is definitely a plus because it allows students to go grocery shopping without leaving campus,” said Beece, who also noted the benefits for vegan and kosher students.

Freshman Nicolas Casaubon was on his way to the library when he stumbled upon the market.

“I’d never really encountered a honey salesman before,” Casaubon said. “Students get exposed to things that are sold here.”

The situation is a win-win, said Claire Tomlin, founder of the Market Company, which gathers all of the vendors and organizes the market’s events.

“The setting is so beautiful and it’s a good spot because we get a lot of foot traffic, which is really important,” Tomlin said. “Having that kind of support from the campus makes our job easier.”

After inviting back all of the vendors who participated under the Market Company during the 2010-2011 year, SG will be looking at anything that needs improvement. It will change and conform to shoppers’ needs and wants, according to an SG news release.

As of the end of the spring 2011 semester, the vendors are accepting credit cards. The Farmers Market will be on campus every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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