Muhlenberg students and community members alike came out to Muhlenberg’s college green this past Friday to attend the Pop Up Farmers Market. This event takes place once each semester and is presented by EnAcT, the Muhlenberg Environmental Action Team, and sponsored by Muhlenberg College’s dining services. During the event, Muhlenberg students and members of the community can come to campus to enjoy a wide variety of foods being sold by local vendors.
At this semester’s Pop Up Farmers Market, the vendors included Bleiler’s Produce Patch from Breinigsville, Penn- sylvania, which sold an array of vegetables ranging from corn to beets to peppers, and Ridge Valley Farm, located in Sumneytown, Pennsylvania, featuring maple-related products such as maple syrup and maple flavored cotton candy. Macungie Mountain Farm from Macungie, Pennsylvania, which sold herbal teas and freshly squeezed lemonades, was also featured, as well as Schocharie Ridge Apiary and Orchard, located in New Tripoli, Pennsylvania, which sold apples and honey.
Other highlights from the farmers market were EnAcT’s table, in which they sold apples and honey for Rosh Hashanah, “The Popcorn Pit,” which sold kettle corn, as well as a truck from OMG Smoothies. This smoothie company is from Bally, Pennsylvania, and it uses real fruit in each of its smoothies. Furthermore, the company has recently gained more acclaim in the Lehigh Valley, appearing on the Lehigh Valley’s “Happening List” in 2016 and 2017. Additionally, it has been certified healthy by The Food Trust and the Healthy Food Truck Initiative for the last two years in a row.
The Pop Up Farmers Market began two years ago, when current EnAcT president and sustainability intern for Muhlenberg College’s dining hall Natalie Warhit ‘19 was a freshman at the college. According to Warhit, during her freshman year, she and other members of EnAcT realized that “many vendors in the Allentown Farmers Market were not actually local, so they decided to create this farmers market on campus once a semester to bring in local farmers.” Now a junior, Warhit, along with the other members of EnAct, has continued to plan this farmers market.
Later in her interview, Warhit explained the process that goes into selecting the local farmers for each semester’s Pop Up Farmers Market. She explained that over the last two years, EnAct has developed a group that is “pretty consistent and comes every year.” However, through efforts to expand the farmers market and the items that are being sold, Warhit described how EnAct has a “list of farms that they are always trying to build on.”
She expounded on this idea by explaining that the farms are split up between the different members of EnAct, and these members proceed to contact the different farms, as well as “get a list of produce so [they] have a diverse [number] of products” at each semester’s farmers market.
EnAcT’s Pop Up Farmers Market this past Friday was a great success, incorporating both Muhlenberg students and members of the local community in the event. Taking the market’s growth and the plans of Warhit and the rest of EnAcT into account, it seems as though there will be more outstanding farmers markets in the future.