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Shady Side Academy farmers market gearing up for season

Tawnya Panizzi
| Tuesday, May 31, 2016, 8:00 p.m.
Shady Side Academy student William Lu hangs string to secure beans at the student garden that will provide vegetables to be sold at the Shady Side Academy farm market starting up in June.
Jan Pakler | For the Tribune-Review
Shady Side Academy student William Lu hangs string to secure beans at the student garden that will provide vegetables to be sold at the Shady Side Academy farm market starting up in June.

Shady Side Academy senior Quinn Wilojanopa said she's looking forward to gourmet grilled cheese and kettle corn for weekly dinners this summer.

Those are just two of the specialties available at the school-based farmers market, managed in part by students and set to open from 3 to 6 p.m. June 15 on the senior campus, 423 Fox Chapel Road. It will be open Wednesdays through October.

“We have so many vendors that coming to the market just once won't be enough,” Wilojanopa said.

Market Manager, senior Zac Coughlin, has helped to organize this year's market, from logistics to vendor relations to marketing.

“From the set up of our tent, to setting up the chairs, corn hole, and speakers, we do the labor as well as marketing, customer relations and vendor acquisitions,” Coughlin said.

A group of a dozen students manage the social media accounts and send weekly newsletters.

“The work is not necessarily difficult, but it definitely is work,” he said. “But this work is fun and you are able to use your creative and artistic mind to make the market the best it can be.”

In its sixth year, the farm market features produce from the school's on-campus farms.

Senior School students work as summer interns on the three campus farms, harvesting produce and selling crops.

Locally sourced food from communities within a 120-mile radius of the school also will be showcased, along with grass-fed meat, homemade honey, canned pickles, specialty olive oils, jewelry, art and hanging baskets.

Vendors this year are expected to include Hanna's Honey, Hello Hummus, Ideal Grain Free Granola, India and Daisy Fiber Arts, Ink Personality, Kona Ice, Oak Hill Kettle Corn, Old Tin Roof, The Pickled Chef, Randita's Organic Vegan Café, Rolling Pepperoni, Santarcangelo Specialties and Small Batch Sauces, South Side BBQ Company, Stickler's Ice Pop Company, Sturges Orchards and Warrior King Pastries.

“I think the farmers market is a really great part of the SSA community, and will do a great job this year of bringing in some different vendors from all around the city,” Erin Simarb, a sophomore, said. “It is also a great place for families to come and just enjoy a Wednesday afternoon.”

Sophia Del Sole, a junior, said the weekly event encourages people to get outside and support local business.

“From tie-dye clothes to homemade hummus, the market this year will have it all,” she said.

Coughlin said students are the foundation of the market.

“It is vital that we play a role because it gives us real hands-on experience in several aspects of business, communications, marketing and working with people,” he said.

“All of these are benefitting to nearly any job in the real world. This is an opportunity unique and extremely special and we are all humbled to be able to take these positions and provide small businesses the opportunity to grow their business at no cost.”

T awnya Panizzi is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review. Reach her at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at tpanizzi@tribweb.com.

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