by ERIN THURSBY
The Riverside Arts Market is more than just a market; it’s part of our community. Vendors serve the community, and they are the community. This month we’re profiling Down to Earth Farm, an all organic, family-run farm that has been with RAM since its inception five years ago. You’ll find them in the produce section of RAM each week. You can also expect to see them at One Spark as one of the entries. Brian and Kristin Lapinski and their family tend their plot to bring us fresh, delish veggies and eggs.
EU: How do you choose what to grow?
Brian Lapinski: I have been at this for close to six years, and we are always learning what people want to eat, as well as what grows well in our North Florida climate. I also always choose something different and interesting to try each year to jazz things up. Have you ever heard of shizo? I hadn’t either, but we are growing it this year!
EU: What’s your most popular item?
BL: We have a few favorites, but rainbow carrots and sungold tomatoes are probably the winners.
EU: The most offbeat thing you have sold at RAM?
BL: Does purple cauliflower count?
EU: Why did you get involved with the One Spark fest?
BL: It seems like it is going to be one of the more exciting events in Jacksonville this year, and we see it as an opportunity to share some ideas that we have with the community. We want to create a space where people in Jax, especially our young people and students, can connect with a model of sustainable food production.
EU: What should your customers know about you that they don’t?
BL: We hope there isn’t anything that they don’t know! We strive for transparency and connection with our farm. By that, I mean that we want everyone to know what does (and does NOT) go into their food. We are proud of the thoughtfulness and hard work that goes into growing every head of lettuce or bunch of carrots. We don’t want it to be a secret that we continually strive to grow delicious, healthy food while being mindful of our impact on our environment.