Grab your tote bags: The Baltimore Farmers’ Market kicks off this Sunday at 7 a.m.
It’s the 46th year for the market beneath the Jones Falls Expressway at Holliday and Saratoga streets, but there’s still plenty to discover.
Here’s a guide to all the new food vendors.
First things first: If you’re a coffee drinker, the market’s 7 a.m. start time means you’ll need to start off at Babe Beans, a small-batch coffee roaster based in Baltimore. Owner Stuart Smith will use a gas-powered espresso machine to concoct lattes, mochas and cappuccinos, and will also be serving pour-overs.
Then fuel up for the shopping ahead with breakfast at Sweet Fields for cinnamon rolls or Waffle Baby.
Or maybe you’re more interested in an early lunch at Bon Manje Lakay or Soul Smoked BBQ, founded by siblings Samara Greene-Scott and Christopher Heaggans, according to their website. Underground Pizza Company is also bringing its thick, Detroit-style pies to the market.
Teacher Jinlan Wenhua will be selling a mouthwatering assortment of homemade Chinese dumplings and steamed baozi. On her website, Wenhua calls them her favorite breakfast growing up in China. “Having a hot baozi in my hand on the way to school or work warmed up my day. My chubby and delicious baozi from my parents made my friends jealous.”
Fans of Venezuela’s favorite street food will be excited for Arepi, which is selling corn-based arepas at the market. Options listed on the company’s website include the “party beast,” filled with shredded beef, coleslaw, jalapeños and cheddar cheese.
Vegans and vegetarians will have plenty of plant-based options at Black Baltimore Vegan. A menu on their website included soups like black-eyed chili as well as a variety of vegan wings. In an email, owner Shahasia Harris said her long-term goal is to open a space that teaches people how to grow food.
Charm City Tofu owner Joshua Wies, a physical therapist, started making artisanal tofu at his home in Mount Washington after his teenage daughter became a vegetarian. Among his offerings will be pumpkin seed tofu, or “pofu,” plus the occasional pink lentil tofu, marinades, tofu jerky, and cookies made from okara, a soy byproduct.
B-More Pasta, an initiative from B-More Italian, will be selling multiple varieties of your favorite carb, including centurion helmet and radiatori, which are modeled on old industrial heating fixtures.
In coming weeks, you can top off your tofu or pasta with offerings from Heka Saucery, which is bringing Egyptian-style homemade tomato sauce to the market.
For the first time this year, The Fermented Pig will bring kombucha, bacon and charcuterie from Virginia. Frederick County’s Libertas Estates has your duck eggs and other poultry, while Queen Anne County’s Green View Hydroponics has your lettuce and herbs.
Obviously, you’ll want to save room for dessert. There are multiple new stands to satisfy your sweet tooth, including Hiatus Cheesecake, founded by former bartender Matthew Featherstone.
Another highlight is And 4 Dessert, a specialty cake company by Amber Croom that also sells hand-painted chocolates and pastries. You may have already seen Croom on the small screen: The chef has appeared on the Food Network’s “Holiday Baking Championship,” “Beat Bobby Flay” and “Chopped Sweets,” which she won.
At Nina’s Cookie Explosion, you can check out options like Tre’s Triple Chocolate (a chocolate cookie with Oreos and white chocolate chips) or the house special: a sugar cookie with Twix, potato chips and chocolate chips. Ten percent of sales goes to charity.
The award for the best business name goes to Balti’Marons, which sells over 175 flavors of French macarons, including Fruity Pebbles, Lemon Basil and Old Bay Salted Caramel.
You’ll also have a soundtrack while you browse. For the second year in a row, the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, which puts on the weekly market, is bringing back its monthly “B-Side” event, paying local musicians to perform. The first B-Side is this Sunday and highlights house music DJs. Listen to Tynisa “DJ MyTy” Bobbitt, Maurice Easter a.k.a. Mr. Eclectic and DJ Teddy Douglas at the turntables from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
New and coming attractions
Did someone say kangaroo tartare? Chef Bernard Dehaene will serve the delicacy “straight from Australia” at Octobar, set to open April 1 in the former Rowhouse Grille at 1400 Light St. The tartare was also on the menu at Dehaene’s last place, the Corner Restaurant and Charcuterie Bar in Hampden, which closed in 2018. “People loved it,” he said. Octobar, which Dehaene said is a “worldwide tapas bar” concept, will also serve mussels and four different types of paella.
Ovenbird Bakery’s new branch at 3925 Gough St., open soon in Highlandtown, features a large seating area and bar with offerings that complement the baked goods. When does it arrive? “That’s the million dollar question,” said owner Keiller Kyle. But within weeks.
I was interested in hearing Kyle’s take on Kneads Bakeshop & Cafe, which arrived over the weekend in Harbor East, just blocks away from Ovenbird’s first branch in Little Italy. “I would be dishonest if I said I wasn’t concerned” about the competition given the similarity in the two businesses, he said. Ultimately, though, the place “gives customers more reason to come down here.” He hopes they’ll hit up Kneads on Saturday and Ovenbird on Sundays.
Meanwhile, in Howard County, a Korean fried chicken chain, bb.q Chicken, held a grand opening March 23 at its new location in Ellicott City at 8801 Baltimore National Pike.
ICYMI: Mount Royal Tavern has some new owners, including local musician Dan Deacon.
Canton’s Annabel Lee Tavern, an Edgar Allan Poe-themed haunt at 601 S. Clinton St. that was placed on sale last year, is selling to Hammad Malik of Baltimore, according to an application to transfer the restaurant’s liquor license. Malik said the plan is to keep the concept as Annabel Lee Tavern. “It’s been a cornerstone of the community,” he said. “We’d like to continue that.”
The Civil shut down its location at 518 N. Charles St. after five years in business, according to a Facebook post. “It’s not the death of us, we’re just moving,” said owner Edwin Thomas, who wants to start fresh with a new space. He said his lease was up on the building and he’s looking to relocate nearby. His other restaurant, Eat. Drink. Relax., remains open in Mount Vernon.
Last week I reported that FireFly Farms and Ceremony Coffee are leaving Whitehall Market. Add another departure to the list: Wight Tea Company is preparing to shut down its stand in the food hall in May. Will there be any vendors left this summer?