Real Food Farm Comes to Bolton Hill

Mobile Framers Market
Real Food Farm on Bolton Street.

With little fanfare, Bolton Hill’s Mobile Farmers Market quietly appeared on Bolton Street on May 2, in front of Memorial Episcopal Church. What a delightful surprise!

Operated by Civic Works’ Real Food Farm, the stand will set up every Tuesday from 12:30–1:30 pm during the growing season.

The farm itself is located in Clifton Park, and it provides much of the produce offered at the mobile market. However, as their Mobile Farmer Market program has expanded, RFF alone can’t satisfy all the demand for fresh local vegetables. But fortunately, the number of city-based farms has grown to meet that demand.

By partnering with the Farm Alliance of Baltimore and their twelve member farms, almost everything the Mobile Market offers is Baltimore-grown. Now that’s buying local! And the prices are great too.

Recent offerings included, eggs for $3 a dozen, head lettuce for $1-$2 a head, strawberries for $4 per quart, arugula and spinach at $4 a 1/2 pound, and kale or collards for $2 a bunch.

The seeds for Real Food Farm were planted in 2008 by a volunteer group called the Urban Agriculture Task Force, that included Civic Works. A determined group of visionaries, they set out to create a fully operational demonstration farm in Baltimore City.

After a great deal of research, they developed a business plan focusing on high tunnel “hoophouses”—basically, low-cost, easy-to-build greenhouses. Then they already had the perfect managing organization in Civic Works, a well-established non-profit with access to six acres in Clifton Park. Civic Works also had strong community relationships in city neighborhoods that needed increased food access, and a long history of training youth in job skills and establishing community gardens.

With help from many agencies, organizations and individuals, the partnership constructed seven hoophouses in 2009, and then harvested the first produce at Real Food Farm in December of 2010. They’ve been growing ever since—and their proven success has spurred many new farmers to start similar operations in the city.

This is exactly what the Urban Agriculture Task Force hoped for. If you grow it, they will come.

Real Food Farm uses their Mobile Farmers Market as the primary tool for bringing food into city neighborhoods that lack easy access to fresh, healthy produce. During the market season from May through December, their Mobile Farmers Market team hosts neighborhood markets and makes home deliveries of fresh, local, seasonal fruits and vegetables throughout the city.

This online schedule lists all 21 stops serviced each week by the Mobile Framers Market.

Whitelock Farm Stand opening day
Whitelock Farm Stand on opening day in mid-May.

If you can’t make Real Food Farm’s Tuesday market in Bolton Hill, here’s a list of the other nearby farmers markets open every week during the growing season.