Ithaca, New York is home to Cornell University which I will be calling home for the next two and a half days. Why? Because for the fall I will be spending my time as a Marketing Associate for the HungerU Tour visiting 16 college campuses along the east coast engaging with students in discussion about the world’s hunger crisis. You may have already known this. But did you know that I really actually have enjoyed the just over 24 hours I have been in Ithaca? Our first visit will be with the students at Cornell University tomorrow, and my teammates and I are excited to get started!
Today, we have the day off, so we decided to get a taste of Ithaca. We were not disappointed in what we found. First, we walked from our hotel to the local farmers market, which in my mind I was comparing to the farmers market in San Luis Obispo on Thursday nights. There weren’t any farmers there I know, like the Dairy Goddess, but I was personally amazed at the organization of the market.
On our way there we even spotted this ice chest accepting food donations in someone’s front yard. Have you seen a food donation system like this before in your area? We think it as great, easy way to help feed the hungry.
The market is held every weekend for certain times of the year. I was surprised by the infrastructure surrounding the market, as it was more of a covered permanent structure that vendors could set up their unique items to sell. One interesting aspect of this particular market that I appreciated was the fact that all of the vendors not only had to live within 30 miles of Ithaca, but the products they were selling also had to be grown within 30 miles of Ithaca. That sounds like a pure local movement to me. And it seems to be working for the farmers market vendors and visitors in Ithaca.
Soon, we came to not only love the atmosphere of Ithaca’s Farmers Market, but we were soon falling in love with Ithaca. The sense of community the market and the people there brought to us was incredible. The flower vendor had beautiful flowers and arrangements. The honey vendor sold whole pieces of honey comb. The maple vendor had my favorite maple sugar candies AND maple cotton candy (YUM!). The glass blower has a gorgeous selection of fall decorations like pumpkins and squash he made himself out of blown glass. We were given free squirrel shaped dog biscuits by the organic dog treat vendor. The hammock vendor was in the process of weaving another hammock to sell. The cheese vendor let us sample a few pieces. The lady who we purchased Ithaca Farmers Market t-shirts from was extremely interested in HungerU and what we were doing at Cornell. The photography vendor had spectacular shots in print. The Daring Drake Farms lady let us taste something I had never seen before. Husk cherries. They look like a smaller tomatillo, but have a taste similar to that of a pineapple.
The apple cider vendor shared with us his U Pick farm, which we might visit before we leave, because my teammate LOVES apples and apple cider! I had a hot cup myself today, and it tasted delicious. Overall, the market was a great first choice to getting a feel for the local life of Ithaca. But it doesn’t end there. For lunch, we went to a place called Mate Factory which was below the Dairy House Co. When we stepped inside it was like we had entered a mythical scene of Snow White. I half expected Grumpy, Sleepy, and Happy to waltz by any moment! There were wooden furniture, leafy accents, and a homey feeling paired with “forest music”, as my teammate called it. What a lunch! Not only was it delicious too, but we spoke with our waiter about important issues like hunger. He was on board.
Lastly, before we wrapped up the day visiting local oddities and took our exhibit to campus, we stopped by the park near our hotel where the Ithaca College Orchestra was performing. It was a great experience which we thoroughly enjoyed. I’d say there were about 200 people in the park, at least, giving us a true sense of community that is Ithaca, NY.
Over the next two days, my teammates and I are excited to meet the students, faculty, and staff at Cornell University to engage in discussion about the world’s hunger crisis. If you’re interested in following along with this journey, please like HungerU on Facebook and follow @HungerUTour on Twitter. For more information, you can also visit http://www.hungeru.com to learn about the program, an initiative of Farmers Feeding the World and the Farm Journal Foundation. I’m excited to share this journey with you!
Thank you for your support!
~Mal the Beef Gal