Renewable Tradition: Baltimore's "Arabbers" Sell Produce On Residential Streets - In Horse Drawn Carts


Arabbers typically let their customers know they are in the area and the produce offered by "hollering." Image credit:Baltimore MD, Arabber Preservation Society

Wikipedia carries a definition of Arabbers which includes this:

An arabber (or a-rab) is a street merchant who sells fruits and vegetables from a colorful, horse-drawn cart. Once a common sight in American East Coast cities, only a handful of arabbers still walk the streets of Baltimore.
There's even an "arabber" preservation society website worth looking over, here. Anyway, here's my point: this is a means of healthy food delivery that should be welcomed in any city. For background on this centuries old tradition, kept barely alive, and currently only in the City of Baltimore, the Film Foundry has a clip up called "We Are Arabbers" which provides interviews and some historical footage.

You'll notice that the produce sold is of commercial origin.

Having grown up in a small mid-western town, I recall a local diary farmer who in late summer would tractor his produce-laden hay wagon through residential streets. When Ma had some home made bread to add, the kids would bring a towel-covered hot loaf up to the door, asking if we wanted any. Who could resist warm home made bread and locally grown food?

I think this is a tradition deserving to be re-invented and scaled up in American cities. Mobile farm-market like.

The horses add charm and have a pretty low carbon 'hoof-print'. As long as the stabling can be properly managed, it would all be to the good. Police ride horses in cities. Tourists love carriage rides.

Hopefully the horses would not bolt and run at the sight of Segs in the City.
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Tags: Farmers Markets | Maryland