With the spring return of the Georgetown University Farmers Market to Copley Lawn, students will notice new vendors as well as the absence of Indigo, the popular Indian food stand, on Wednesdays.
This year’s new vendors include Hilltoss — the new Students of Georgetown Inc. salad location — Lulu’s Ice Cream, Rita’s Crepes and a new pickle vendor called Fresh Crunch. This introduction of different food stands is an attempt to vary the vendors based on the change of season while continuing to cater to student preferences.
“We have our vendors try to rotate in and out just to keep consistency but also to get a diverse variety of offerings throughout the market season,” Farmers Market Director Lexi Cotcamp (MSB ’15) said.
Director of Hilltoss Dana Mitchell (MSB ’15) was pleased with the student-run stand’s first day at the farmers market.
While Hilltoss is new to the scene, Indigo — a student favorite — will not return to the farmers market.
“I believe Indigo won’t be back this season just because they recently opened a new restaurant near Union Station and so they are actually focusing on that this semester,” Cotcamp said.
Cotcamp partly attributed the new food selections to vendor availability.
“There is no specific reason as to why a certain vendor would be included over another other than the fact that certain factors would prevent a vendor from being able to come, such as opening a restaurant, or growing or time constraints,” Cotcamp said.
The products that are sold at the farmers market, especially in the produce section, vary according to the weather. Peach season occurs toward the beginning of the academic year, while apples are most abundant during the fall and winter vegetables are plentiful during this time of year.
“Our product offerings tend to be very much dedicated to the different seasons,” Cotcamp said. “Mother Nature really tends to figure out how our product offerings will go, depending on if there is a late freeze or an early start to spring.”
The weather is especially impactful on the weekly market because of its focus on local products. All produce comes from the D.C. area, a standard which is enforced by Georgetown Farmers Market leadership.
“In order to actually come to the market, vendors must sign a contract, which essentially binds them to only bring to the market produce that is sourced locally, which is defined as being within I believe [a] 200-mile … radius,” Cotcamp said.
Besides the climate’s effect on product offerings, weather also affects whether the market can function at all. However, despite recent storms, Cotcamp said that weather wouldn’t prevent the stands from opening for business.
“Of course, if there is any sort of emergency condition where the university is closed, then we would have to reconsider, but for the most part, we tend to operate rain or shine,” Cotcamp said.
Because the market’s opening day was plagued with wind, rain and mud, some vendors were concerned with weather issues.
“Weather is 50 percent of our sales, one way or another. If it’s bad weather, it’s going to be less than half [of our normal sales],” Fresh Crunch founder Matt Bressan said.
As students quickly moved from stand to stand to avoid the rain, some said that the bad weather would limit their time at the market. However, they said they would continue coming in future weeks.
“I probably won’t stay around as long if the weather continues, but as long as I have an umbrella, I’m good and I’ll show up,” Angela Ribaudo (SFS ’17) said.
The products themselves continue to draw Erika Bullock (COL ’17) despite weather concerns.
“[The weather] is a little bit of an impediment, but I just love the fresh produce so much that it doesn’t affect me personally too much,” Bullock said.
Even with weather concerns, vendors are happy to return to campus.
“I love this market. The students and the faculty and the staff love our stuff. We’re really happy to be back,” said Chris Girardot, who is in charge of running the Upper Crust Bakery stand.