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The many faces of Marty's Market


            A three-faceted business, Marty’s Market has achieved a hemostasis that mirrors the balances found in nature. The Strip District business boasts an American-style café, a market, and a coffee bar, all of which work together to provide affordable, all natural, organic, and often locally grown products. “The idea was to have a model where people could experience food in many ways in one space,” says Johanna Klotz, Marty’s Market Strategist.

            Klotz explains that, in addition to being convenient for customers, combining three food outlets into one space reduces waste. For example, produce that is not aesthetically fit for sale in the market can be incorporated into a café dish. Extra meat from the market’s butcher, whose products come entirely from local farms, can also be cooked into café meals instead of composted. By ordering for all three sectors at once, Marty’s Market is also able to cut down on transportation waste.

            “The goal for this market is to really try to be a part of strengthening the region’s food system. We really feel strongly about supporting local growers,” Klotz says. “We like to see more money entering the local economy. But also we are really interested in how things taste and how fresh they are, and that’s something you can only achieve by ordering locally.”

            Marty’s Market disproves the misconception that ordering locally means a limited selection of crops. If anything, their intimate connection with local farmers allows for a greater variety of produce. “We have a staff that is really dedicated to educating themselves about food, but then also transferring that education onto customers. We might get something that’s really rare that we would only get from a farmer directly, and not from a distributer. We get really excited about being able to talk about it with our customers,” Klotz says. Adding these more obscure fruits and vegetable to the café menu allows customers to try, and learn how to cook, foods that they may not buy on their own.

            Food demonstrations led by visiting chefs are another way Marty’s Market connects with the community. Other special events include children’s cooking classes, cosponsored by Slow Food Pittsburgh, and raw vegan workshops. Marty’s Market also hosts monthly Healthy Eaters’ Meet and Greets. The Meet and Greets are not based around dieting, but allow community members to discuss ways to maintain healthy lifestyles. The next Meet and Greet is scheduled for April 11.

            Not even a year old, Marty’s Market shows that there is a demand for organic foods in the Pittsburgh community. “Our customer base has proven that people really want [healthy foods] and they are willing to come to a small store in the Strip District to purchase these items,” Klotz says.



The BFBL blog

Our blog offers up a tasty (and more or less random) selection of freshly harvested commentary: references to useful articles; updates on our program; mini-book reviews; and some of our own musings on how to choose and enjoy local foods.  Generous commenting is highly recommended!


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