by Isabella Pilot ‘18
The Olney Farmers and Artists Market, a staple of the community since 2007, offers everything from raw, local wildflower honey to vegan, gluten-free falafel. Alongside these “healthy” products are decadent homemade chocolates, cupcakes, and crêpes. But with four grocery stores open daily in Olney, waking up at the crack of dawn on a Sunday to attend the market may seem unnecessary. Also, how healthy can a Farmers Market be if it sells sweets?
Holistic health practitioner Daniel Brafman has the answer. “Health exists in many different dimensions, and here it’s about the community aspect of health. Having one-on-one conversations with the vendors, making eye contact with the person who made your food, and knowing what you’re supporting are all healthy behaviors,” he said. Brafman has worked in the health and wellness field “for as long as [he] can remember.” He has been setting up shop at the market since June 2015, sharing his expertise on exercise, pain and stress management, and nutrition, as well as selling his delicious bone broth. “No other market has someone like me. My goal is for this to be a place where people can learn about health,” said Brafman.
All of the vendors at the market are passionate about their products, many of them selling food native to their home countries. Southern Cross Bakery offers a taste of Australia and New Zealand with their meat pies, El Tenedor de Nacho provides authentic Latin flavor in their empanadas, and Dalat Deli serves up traditional Vietnamese cuisine.
Sophomore Rotem Kaufman, who was born in Israel and works at the Tovavi Falafel stand, explains that, “People like the falafel because it’s authentic. It’s Israeli food made by Israelis.”
The Olney Farmers and Artists market is about so much more than just health buzzwords. Behind every product is a person who has devoted his or her life to serving our community. Mark Mills of Chocolates and Tomatoes, along with many other vendors, has suffered through cold Sunday mornings selling their sustainable, delicious vegetables at Olney’s first ever No-Frills Winter Market. Jennifer Brown, owner of Cupcakes Lounge, wakes up at midnight to bake all of her pastries fresh. And the man behind Orchard Breeze Farm knows that the meat industry has taken a turn towards cruelty and factory farming, but he sticks to treating his animals with respect. He believes in “letting Mother Nature do what she wants.”
In order to be truly healthy, one must balance mental, emotional, and physical well-being, and the Olney Farmers and Artists Market is the perfect place to do so. Forming connections with the people who make your food is a quality of the market that grocery stores simply don’t have.