Jones Family Farm at Rotunda Farmer’s Market

The Rotunda kicked off its new weekly farmer’s market yesterday, to the delight of neighbors in nearby Hampden and Roland Park. The Rotunda Farmers Market replaces the former Keswick Farmers Market. The move comes with hopes that the new location (on the green, directly in front of CinéBistro) will be more visible and convenient to workers in the Rotunda, as wells as patrons of Mom’s Organic Market and other businesses in the newly renovated shopping complex. The small group of farmer’s market stands includes about a dozen or more local food vendors, plant and vegetable sellers, artisans and a massage therapist.

Catering to a very manageable crowd, local businesses on Tuesday busily prepared lunches, packaged chocolates and cupcakes or served up healthy smoothies alongside an herb-and-plant stand, a Maryland-themed crafts stand and a tent offering free chair massages. Two food trucks dished out additional bites from the curb.

A double booth run by Jones Family Farm of Edgewood burst with farm fresh produce, bright flowers, and information on a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program, which will have a weekly pickup location for members at the Rotunda market. CSA programs, offered by growing numbers of farms all over Maryland, offer customers a chance to invest in farmers early in the season with a lump payment and be paid back all summer with weekly produce pickups — the exact content of which notably changes each week, based on the ripening schedule for each new veggie.

The star of the new market, aside from the CSA, is Federal Hill’s Ekiben restaurant, whose fluffy asian-fusion steamed buns overflow with marinated meats and tofu, fresh veggie slaw and cilantro. The $9 “tofu brah” bun alone makes it worth emerging from the air conditioning on a Baltimore summer afternoon, though it’s worth sticking around to pick up fresh veggies, locally made treats and feel-good groceries.

If you have time to kill, but decide that a free massage in 90-degree weather isn’t your thing, the Massage Envy booth can point you to their brick-and-mortar space located just a few yards away.

The Rotunda Farmers Market is open Tuesdays 11 a.m. – 2 pm., from June through September. More info can be found on the market’s Facebook page.

Rachel Bone is a regular contributor to the Baltimore Fishbowl.