Food & Photo Adventure: The Baltimore Farmers’ Market

Produce purchased at the Baltimore Farmers' Market    (© Allison Bethea & Fire Horse Photographics)

Produce purchased at the Baltimore Farmers’ Market (© Allison Bethea & Fire Horse Photographics)

Perhaps it’s the recent crispness in the night air that has sparked my preoccupation with photographing and consuming all things vegetable.   Summer is the time of year I gorge myself on fruit in a manner that would make most tree-dwelling mammals jealous.  Come Fall though, my appreciation for vegetables resurfaces.  Barbecue is a year-round love affair – but that’s a discussion for another day!

In mulling over a composition for a vegetable photograph, I decided to plan a shot highlighting the intense and varied colors vegetables bring to the table in their natural and unprepared state.  With an idea in mind, my next step was to procure some produce that fit the bill.  Since variety was a priority,  I thought a trip to the Baltimore Farmers’ Market would be a good bet for finding a range of fresh and colorful offerings.

The Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar is an urban, open air market held on Sunday mornings in downtown Baltimore.  I hadn’t attended in several years and was curious to see all of the vendors and products represented.  This year, the Market features nearly 100 vendors, about half of which are farmers.  The remaining half are classified as concessionaires who sell products ranging from baked goods, to prepared ethnic foods, to marinades, to cut flowers.  Upon arriving, I was greeted by the smell of curried meat and vegetables cooking.  Since it was only 8:00 a.m., I decided to be kind to my stomach for once and bypass some of my favorite cuisine.  I did, however, manage to munch up a giant cookie which I washed down with a refreshing cardamom/watermelon lemonade.  Visually, the atmosphere was overwhelming  for me and I wandered around haphazardly for a while before selecting some beautiful heirloom tomatoes for my photo project.  I added a bunch of orange carrots with bright green tops, a handful of nearly fluorescent habanero peppers, some interesting mushrooms for texture, and a purple eggplant.  I also learned that eggplants come in white.  Apparently, the first European eggplants were white like eggs, hence the name “eggplant.”

The lighting conditions for photography are not ideal at the Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar.  Because of its location under the freeway, natural light is very limited.  I grabbed a couple shots in some of the more direct available light but knew I would be shooting my purchases in better daylight that I could control and modify at home.

In 2012, there were  7,864 farmers markets registered with the United States Department of Agriculture.  Make a trip to one near you for great food to prepare, photograph, or both!

  • The Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar is located in downtown Baltimore at Holiday and Saratoga
  • Dates and times: Sundays (April 7, 2013 – December 22, 2013) from 7:00AM – 12:00PM
  • Free parking is available at adjacent lot.
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