New Market Coordinator and a Variety of New Vendors Part of the Upcoming Season!
The Bethel Park Farmers’ Market will be opening shop this season on Tuesday, May 4 from 3-7 p.m. at the VIP Parking Lot in South Park off of Corrigan Drive (next to the ice skating rink) with an expected 40 – 45 total vendors this year including food trucks, full and part-season vendors.
“Most of our vendors from last season are coming back along with several new ones,” said Bethel Park Recreation Assistant Director Cathy Muscato. “We have a lot of fun, exciting changes coming as well to make this year’s Market hopefully the top one in the area!”
The first of these changes was the hiring of Miranda Wayne, the new Market coordinator.
“We are so excited and feel really fortunate to have Miranda joining our Market,” said Muscato. “Not only does she have a degree in biology and direct experience working at a farm, but also in educating the public on how farmer’s markets can play an integral part of their daily lives. She’s shopped our Market and others for years and she lives her life utilizing the food she purchases seasonally…she’s highly motivated to help others do so and I’m sure that she’ll help us to take our Market to the next level!”
Wayne has always had a strong interest in farm to table and that interest has increased since she’s had her two young girls.
“I ran a lot of environmental clubs in college and learned about farm to table then,” said Wayne. “I’ve always envisioned working with farmer’s markets. And after having a child and taking a leave from my job as a chemist, I had the opportunity to volunteer at a local environmental farm where I helped a retired horticulturist with gardening.”
Even as a child, Wayne was interested in the environment.
“I ate vegetarian through school, got my degree in biology and was waiting to go to graduate school and that’s when I found farm to table; that showed me how I can eat a more local diet, and back then, it wasn’t easy to find locally grown items,” said Wayne. “So, farm to table was my first endeavor and that’s how I started my food journey. More recently, with the pandemic, I found that it was especially helpful to find local resources for food; in a time of crisis this knowledge is invaluable, and farmer’s markets can help with this effort.”
New to the Bethel Park Farmer’s Market this year will also be a colorful guest entrance.
“It will be like a hallway of vibrant flags leading guests into the Market from both entrances and will be very festive!” said Muscato. “We also received a very generous grant from the Bethel Park Community Foundation and they are now the sponsor of this year’s Farmers’ Market.”
Later in the season and dependent upon COVID restrictions, several other new components will be added to the Market including a variety of cooking demos focused on foods in season, entertainment, and tables for guests to enjoy meals.
“I really want to focus on bridging the gap between the Market and sustainability in the community,” said Wayne. “The Market is an interesting place and offers the opportunity to learn about food and where it comes from and enables shoppers to ask farmers about the food, their farming practices and how to use the various items in recipes. I’ve always tried to cook seasonally and shopping at farmer’s markets has completely changed the way I cook; I hope that I can share that knowledge and make it more accessible to everyone.”
When the Market opens, Muscato expects the same COVID safety protocols from last season to be in place.
“We’re monitoring updates as they evolve,” said Muscato. “As of now, there will still be one directional walking paths for guests, hand sanitizer at both entrances, we’re still not permitting dogs at the start of the Market, and everyone will need to be masked.”
Guests can also look to see the Market be more interactive on social media this season.
“I’ll be posting recipes on Facebook and encouraging others to do so too,” said Wayne. “I’m also going to be starting a weekly Market online newsletter highlighting vendors and what items are currently in season. I’m also looking to use these resources to get a better gauge on what customers are looking for and to see if we can offer something that’s missing or needed.”
New to the Market this season are a vegan only food truck (Istanbul Grille); Pleasant Lane Farms selling a variety of dairy cheeses; a second wine vendor, It’s Wine O’clock Somewhere Winery, coming this year offering sweet wines and wine slushies; and Pure Rose Organics selling soap, body washes, lotions, soy candles and melts, and perfume oils.
“We still have some openings left for either the 2nd or 4th week of the month participation,” said Muscato. “We’re also looking for a couple additional rotational food trucks, maybe once a month, to offer prepared, ready-to-eat foods.”
For those interested in being a vendor or providing entertainment, call 412-831-1328.
The Market will run each Tuesday, May 4 – Sept. 28, from 3-7 p.m. rain or shine. For updated information, visit bethelparkfarmersmarket.com or “Like” its Facebook page, “Bethel Park Recreation Farmers’ Market.”
“Our goal this year is to be the number one farmer’s market in Pittsburgh,” said Muscato (the Market was voted 3rd last year). “So we want to move up!”