Veggie tales: senior starts farmers market blog

By Emily Raab, Online News Editor

Do you know what a kohlrabi is, or how to make your own coconut milk? How about the proper etiquette for bargaining at a farmers market?

Senior Olivia Whitener can make a mean kohlrabi-beet pancake and knows the ins and outs of farmers markets in the area. She shares her recipes, information and observations on her blog, Farm to Blog, which she began this September.

“It’s such a different experience from going to Safeway, Giant or even Whole Foods because you are so much more connected to the food and the source,” Whitener said. “The farmer is right there.”

According to Whitener, she has been going to farmers markets for years, but this year, she took her love for them a step further when she began working at the Rockville Farmers Market with Quarter Branch Farm.

Her new job, along with a visit to some of California’s markets during a vacation, inspired her to start a blog.

“I went to all these amazing farmers markets in San Francisco and Ojai and I wanted people to know about these and know what they have.” Whitener said. “I thought a blog would be the perfect excuse to go to them.”

Whitener’s blog varies in topics from spaghetti squash recipes to explanations of different types of seeds.

“The main posts are the ones where I go to farmers markets and talk to all the vendors and write about what they sell and where it comes—information for people looking for markets in the area,” Whitener said.

Whitener creates recipes based on her ‘haul’ from the market on a particular day.

“Sometimes I find other recipes to learn how to cook something, but then I adapt the flavors and ingredients myself,” Whitener said.

According to Whitener, she also hopes to extend her blog topics into food issues and debates, such as what “certified organic” really means.

“Before reading the blog I wasn’t really into buying food from farmers markets,” senior Ximena Tellez said. “Just reading the blog gave me so much more information on how the produce makes its way to the display.”

For those who are looking to enter into the farmers market sphere, Whitener suggests starting at the Rockville Farmers Market, which takes place every Saturday until Thanksgiving from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. at Rockville Town Center.

“I hope people can appreciate fresh food right as it comes from the ground and learn a little more about where it comes from,” Whitener said. “Yeah, it’s a little more expensive; yeah, it’s not as convenient, but it’s important.”