Saturday, November 03, 2007
Sennott Street Farmers' Market Applies for Liquor License
During the summer months, Oakland resident Florence Reghetti loves to patronize Oakland's two-year old, Friday afternoon Farmers' Market, sponsored by Pittsburgh Citiparks.
"It's just great that now we can get fresh produce right here in Oakland without having to go to the markets in East Liberty or the South Side," said Reghetti, purchasing a dozen of Basia's pierogies. "With autumn here, I'm stocking up on tomatoes to make fresh sauces to freeze for the winter!"
While long-time residents are enthusiastic about the Farmers' Market, sales have taken a surprising drop since students returned in September.
"Fucking Farmers are blocking some prime skating real estate," complained returning Pitt student Steve Wilson. "We used to OWN this shit. Now look at it – full of fuckin' apples and pears and cabbages and very affordable baskets of potatoes and other nutritious food. Bullshit, dude."
In order to appeal to students, Farmers' Market liaison Kenneth Plenarski has applied for a license to sell and distribute alcoholic beverages during Market time. The familiar orange "Notice of Application" placard can be seen adorning the side of Arturo Vizzuett's Cinco de Mayo homemade salsa vending tent.
"We all got together over at Pittsburgh Café a few weeks ago for mojitos and martinis," explained Vizzuett, a Mexican-born transplant famous for his salsa. "When [Oakland Business Improvement District (OBID) Executive Director] Georgia [Petropoulos] said, 'Arturo, maybe this market idea isn't so good. These kids only care about getting loaded on Fridays,' I had an idea: let's get them loaded on fresh produce and nutritious vegetables!"
Vizzuett and other local vendors began to experiment with different combinations of booze and healthy, tasty fresh foods, trying to find the best pairings. They then ran a two-week trial period in early September, inviting local students 21-years-old and older to taste the pairings.
Pitt Law student Hal Benson gushed, "I couldn't believe that tequila-salsa could be so great! And rum-blacked onions and pierogies are just awesome!" While art major Kimberly Hart added, "You know, soaking nutritious peaches, plums, and a whole watermelon in vodka tastes amazing—and it fucks you up!"
Other successful marriages of food and spirits include cucumbers brined in West Virginia grain alcohol and garlic ("The best pickles in town," says grad student Joshua King); "extra-sour-kraut," made with cabbage and julienned carrots, and soaked in Pucker Sour Apple liqueur; and local favorite Old German beer-battered fried zucchini.
OBID Director Georgia Petropoulos reported, "The new Farmers' Market concept is sweeping Oakland. We've seen a great influx of traffic from other neighborhoods as well. We're happy to report that we've applied to have our Alcoholic Beverages License extended through 2009!"