Boosting Demand for Fresh Produce

Fresh produce at affordable prices can be hard to find. However, it was in abundance at the Avenue Market in West Baltimore on Saturday, Nov. 21. Residents of Upton and the surrounding neighborhoods were invited to take all the produce they could carry for a flat rate of $3 during the market's culminating event in the Fresh Beets series.

Fresh Beets was created by a West Baltimore advocacy group, No Boundaries Coalition, to increase the community’s access to fresh produce. By getting customers excited about it and creating greater demand, the market would be incentivized to offer it regularly.

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People lined up 90 minutes before the 11 am event.

The Institute for Integrative Health supported Fresh Beets by giving customers ideas for using fresh produce. Community Programs Coordinator Alica Diehl demonstrated how to make kale salad with ingredients from our friends at Real Food Farm. We gave out nearly 100 free samples and numerous recipe cards.

Attracting a line of customers that wrapped the around the building, the event proved the demand for healthy food is strong. All of the market’s produce was gone in the first hour! As a result, the market plans to have affordable fresh produce available every Saturday, starting January 16.

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"The kale salad was simple and delicious. I love the sautéed garlic,” said Ciera, a fresh produce lover.



1 bunch kale

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1 Tablespoon lemot juice

1/2 cup slivered almonds

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2oz Parmesan cheese or substitute 2 tsp nutritional yeast for dairy-free


  1. Wash & dry kale. Devein the kale by pulling the leaf off of the stem. Chop the leaves into wide ribbons.
  2. Add the sea salt & half the lemon juice. Gently massage for 1 - 2 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Heat skillet over medium. Add olive oil & garlic. Cook, stirring until fragrant & softened, but not browned.
  4. Add the cranberries to the skillet. Cook, stirring until they have plumped & softened. Add the remaining lemon juice & stir to combine.
  5. Remove from heat. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  6. Drizzle the warm dressing over the kale. Add slivered almonds, & anything else you’d like, such as chicken or turkey.
Even kids can help make the kale salad. They can devein, tear, and massage the kale with salt and lemon juice.
Alica Diehl, our community programs coordinator, says it’s important to massage the kale with salt and lemon juice. It reduces the bitterness and toughness.


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