Pop up markets! Right now in the US, markets are coming out of their hibernation and showcasing their goods once again. I want to take a small look at the fantastic weekly gatherings I’ve had a chance of going to across several cities I’ve lived in and how they are a reflection of the local vibe.
6:30pm-10 @2424 East Robinson St, Orlando, FL, 32803 (Between Bumby + Primrose)
Music blasts from nearby speakers as you are crowded in a throng of friends and strangers chatting under the open sky. Handfuls of packaged morsels come drifting out of trucks as cigarette smoke climbs upwards into the leaves of nearby oak trees, and the sound of Yuengling cans being opened hit your ears from all around. It’s Orlando’s weekly hipster millennial congregation spot: Tasty Tuesdays. Food trucks are stationed in the parking lot behind a small strip of businesses in the Milk District. I’m a fan of the Filipino/Hawaiian food truck, ‘Over Rice’ and their delicious pulled pork. Other favorites are SpaceBar filled with arcade games from the 90s, and the cozy Etoile Boutique which is like walking into a real life Etsy shop. I’ve been a customer for some time, but their on-site tailor really makes them stand out. A genius move brought in with the change of ownership in 2010.
A short clip of the event’s 4th anniversary
Fort Greene Greenmarket
8-4 @Washington Park, Brooklyn NY 11215 (Between DeKalb + Willoughby)
Fort Greene is beautiful Brooklyn neighborhood parked between Park Slope, and Biggie Small’s childhood home in Bed-Stuy (but today is recognized as Clinton-Hill). Every Saturday you’ll find the Fort Greene Greenmarket. The market sets up shop right next to a park, and you can even recycle textiles like dishtowels and fabric scraps. It truly is a “Green market”. Inside the tented shops you’ll find the usual suspects along with a gourmet cheese stand, fresh bread, fish, pressed juices and milk galore. As the market’s growing popularity has caught the eyes of street performers and musicians so bring some change. Prepare to bump shoulders with a variety of locals who will willingly gripe about how the neighborhood has changed, stroller moms, hipsters in 5 o’clock shadows, dogs, and their owners. Come early for the good stuff, but you’re out of luck if you’re allergic to canines. The park has an off-leash policy that ends at 9am and Saturday is generally packed with nearly every species known to man making their way in and out of the area.
Fort Greene Flea
10-5 @176 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn NY 11238 (Between Clermont + Vanderbilt Ave.)
As a kid my grandparents would constantly make pit stops and detours for garage sales. Their forays into yards of the unknown unlocked an appreciation early on for discarded oddities and hand me down goods. But the Fort Greene Flea is way more upscale than your average yard sale. Items here are a bit pricey but spending money there generally makes me feel good because it’s going right into the hands of vendors, crafters, and cooks. I’ve always seen something new or interesting no matter how many times I’ve gone. If you’re a local, it’s a great place to get lost for a few hours. Grab some grub from the food stalls in the back, sit in the shade on the set of stairs towards the back for some people watching. A word of caution, please ask vendors if you can take pictures first. Especially those who handcraft their goods.
CNY Saturday Farmer’s Market
7-2 @2100 Park Street Syracuse, NY 13208
This market was a bit out of the way for a student without a car, so I relied on friends who went but eventually it became a staple of our life when I finally joined Zipcar. The Central New York Regional Market is open year round, but the farmer’s market shines brightest spring through fall. I got more in tune with nature season as I saw week to week the rotating produce, and often bumped into other Syracuse University people doing their weekly grocery shopping. After sitting in my research lab and working all week, this generously spacious farmer’s market provided a chance to roam around in the open air and reflect on my physical health. Produce was always ridiculously cheap, and we also bought things like plants and seeds for Rio’s hydroponic garden, our backyard garden we shared with the next door neighbor, and a host of succulents that became decor for our August wedding reception.
So what do we take away from all of this? These congregations and pop up markets offer a lot of great value to our life. They give us something to look forward to and a chance to interact with vendors, crafters, farmers on a personal and supportive level. We see a great visual representation of our community or pockets of other nearby locations. Many vendors get exposure I’d never manage on my own yet these markets connect us, help us contribute and bring a more direct connection to goods we consume. When I look at a bag of carrots sitting in a grocery store I think about wheels and cogs, and all the long hours someone had to drive just to get the produce on my shelf. When I am at a market, I see dirt and sweat under the hands of the people who are responsible for providing me what they’ve labored for. That’s really special and unique these days.