Being surrounded by friendly faces, good food, and people passionate about what they do doesn’t sound like a bad way to spend a Wednesday night, does it? Well, this was the atmosphere created when a local business, local farmers, and the community came together at the recent Sprout’s “Valentines Farmer’s Market”. The Spy stopped by to check it out and learn more about the event.
Sprout is a fast casual, healthy, food company founded in Easton, Maryland, by husband and wife team, Ryan and Emily Groll. Their locally sourced ingredients are a staple of their business, as is supporting local farmers and assuring that their customers know exactly what they’re getting and eating.
Last year, Sprout held a “Farmer’s Appreciation Day” at its Easton location to spotlight the farmers that they are partnered with in the area. Upon opening their much larger St. Michael’s café, the Grolls decided to host an indoor farmers market in December, and another on Valentine’s Day 2020. Sprout is now in the planning stage for a Farmer’s Appreciation Day in April and a weekly indoor farmers’ market beginning in March to be held on a weekday evening.
“We do it for the farmers”, Groll says, “It’s important to create trust and transparency between the customers and the people growing their food.” Sprout doesn’t charge a fee for farmers to participate in the market. Groll says it is a win-win situation because it allows the farmers to market themselves and benefits Sprout by bringing a new crowd of consumers into the cafe to showcast Sprout’s healthy food options.
A farmers’ market is no easy task for the farmers; packing up, driving to the location, setting up, and marketing one’s products is time-consuming work. So why do the farmers choose to participate? According to Jenna Paice from Spirit Growers, an organic eastern shore farmer, it’s about “building relationships and connecting the dots” between the people who eat the food and those that grow it. Taylor Hale, another participant, looks forward to Sprout’s farmer’ markets as an “opportunity to promote his products out of season” and claims that it is a “new market for his spice blends”. Others in attendance, included: Abundant Grace Farms, Federal Brewing Company, Lyon Distilling, among others. According to Groll, Sprout allows all farmers to attend to help grow the local economy and convey a sense of community togetherness.
You may be wondering if an indoor farmer’s market like this is for you. According to Carol Chisholm, a consumer in attendance, there’s no question you’ll love it. She said that Sprout’s indoor market is a great idea as she gestured to the rain and looming, dark clouds in the skies outside the cafe window.
Eating locally sourced, healthy food and knowing where your food has been before it ends up on your plate is a growing trend in the modern food business. It would appear that the Sprout farmers’ markets, in partnership with local farmers and other businesses, is a creative way to increase such understanding and also have a good time.
Georgia Foster is a Spy student journalist. She is a senior at Easton High School and plans to attend Salisbury University in the Fall where she will continue to pursue her interest in journalism.