By Rachel Jaffe

Bethesda Central Farm Market

Cucumbers and tomatoes for sale at the Bethesda Central Farm Market

As a little kid, I would always be really excited to go with my mother whenever she went to shop at organic food stores. Although I might pretend that it was because of my strong convictions of helping my mother or helping the environment, I knew there was only one reason:

Free samples.

Last Sunday, walking with Dave Heffernan of Bethesda Green into the Bethesda Central Farm Market on Elm Street, the giddy combination of sunshine, succulent smells and tasty sights–from the fresh fruit to gelato to sausages to pastries–made it all too easy to just dive in and enjoy myself. However, this time the underlying convictions of building a community where food could be grown close to home and with greater care for the environmental impact of production were not lost on me. Perhaps this was because it was pretty obvious that only people who cared deeply about what they were doing would stand on their feet to sell their wares in the sweltering heat. Or perhaps, it was something more subtle, like the light gossip being tossed back and forth that made everyone feel familiar, or the ambling gait that made the fear of a corporate tomorrow feel small and far away. Hidden behind each easy smile was a story about how each vendor has made steps to grow their small business; and behind the entire farm market is the growing sense of a reconnection to one’s food and a connection between all of them that felt a lot like family.

Albeit, a rather pricey family that as a college student, I could never afford to shop with extensively. But for those who have the resources to take a deeper look into what it means to live an environmentally conscious lifestyle, the Bethesda Central Farm Market is a wonderful starting point.

To all those others who just want to put a few more pleasant moments in their day (or a few free samples in their mouth) the Bethesda Central Farm Market is excellent in that respect as well.

[Editor’s Note: The Bethesda Central Farm Market is open Sundays from 9am-1pm in the parking lot on Elm St. (next to Jaleo) and Thursdays from 3-7pm on Bethesda Lane. Local vendors offer produce, seafood, meats, cheeses, baked goods & more. For more information call 301-652-3929 or visit]

Rachel Jaffe is a Bethesda Green intern and a student at Stony Brook University.