Baltimore Farmer's Market
Baltimore Farmer's Market video
The Baltimore Farmer's Market under the Jones Falls Expressway at Holliday and Saratoga Streets is now one of my favorite places - when I manage to get up early enough (Farmer Hours Style) to venture down there. Also known as the JFX or Fallsway Farmer's Market, the huge outdoor market happens Sunday mornings from the crack of dawn until Noon-ish from May to December. I also like the Saturday morning one in Waverly, but somehow I never manage to make it down there (and when I do I also manage to stop into Normals Books and buy books instead of food!). I also think I prefer the JFX Farmer's Market because of its aesthetic landscape - spread out under the concrete overpass of the JFX, it's like a scene out of one of J.G. Ballard's sci-fi novels (in which architecture and urban landscapes are the main characters), Riddley Scott's Bladerunner in broad daylight, or the visual imagery of John Foxx's Ultravox lyrics.
Ballard would feel at home under the JFX
For the longest time I resisted the Farmer's Market because of the early hours and the simple fact that I don't cook. But lazy bachelors rejoice - you don't have to cook to enjoy the place. Be like me and go down there for a hearty breakfast and people watching! (And there's lot of people to watch - up to 8,000 on a good day and 200,000 annually, according to the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts.)
I usually head straight to Zeke's for some great piping hot coffee (yes, even in Summer - the sweat that pours from my forehead manages to cool me off!) - the line for Zeke's coffee is always the longest at the Farmer's Market - or mosey down the corner to get eye-opening Thai Iced Coffee and steamed buns, shrimp dumplings or Pad Thai from the Thai stand.
The Thai Stand has great food
This is probably my favorite spot in the whole market. Run by two cute and hard-working Thai women (Narisa and Neela), with occasional assistance by their farang friend David, they serve up really good Pad Thai and the best steamed buns I've ever had (fillings include chicken, pork, custard, and red beans) and the ladies politely indulge me while I bore them talking about Thai cinema.
Thai Steamed Buns
Having recently screened Wisit Sasanatieng's Tears of the Black Tiger (aka ฟ้าทะลายโจร, or Fah Talai Jone, 2000) at the Enoch Pratt Library, I asked if they were fans and they told me they were. In fact, I learned that the film was based on a famous Thai novel. One of the ladies was also a fan of Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Last Life in the Universe (aka Ruang rak noi nid mahasan, 2003), probably my favorite Thai film - if only for beautiful actress Sinitta Boonyasak. But that's food for thought. For food for consumption, head on down to the Farmer's Market!
Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts link
List of Farmers and Concessionaires