Farmers markets keep our community close even when staying six feet apart
From Zouhair Mkais, owner of Hello Hummus.
I was born in Morocco, but I’ve lived in the United States for 22 years.
I’ve always cooked for fun and went to school for business. I started making hummus seven years ago with a friend of mine from Morocco.
I joined the Bloomfield Saturday Market in 2014. Bloomfield is one of my favorite markets; it started small but had a strong, focused vision for growth. When you look at the market today, it’s one of the best markets in the city because it’s managed the right way. That’s important to me since so many of us make a living from it.
When COVID hit, the staff was able to implement safety protocols that made it possible to host a safe market. In order to maintain a good market, you need a good crew. The market is great for so many of us vendors and for the overall neighborhood. As a group, we all work hard to succeed, and I think we’re doing a good job of that.
All kinds of people really love the market because it’s unique. It’s a place that brings people together “in community,” who want to support fresh and local businesses.
I care a lot about being safe and not judged for who I am, and I never feel judged when I’m there. It’s such a comfortable atmosphere; I love that about the market. That’s how I want to see our country, people from all over enjoying their time and being happy together.
People in Bloomfield are very real. I have so many friends in the neighborhood – people know my name; they invite me to their homes. Customers brought envelopes of money to me when I was trying to buy my van.
I love what I do; I love the people I work with; I want to stay small. I get speechless sometimes because I really care about this. When people care for you, and you care for them, and they show up early for you in the morning just to purchase your products – that means everything. Maybe if people come to the Bloomfield Saturday Market, we can change the country… It’s amazing, there’s so much love there. Life isn’t about money, it’s about what you can enjoy every day. Being happy and caring for your people.
I give the Bloomfield Saturday Market five stars! I’ve traveled all over – North America, Europe, and South America – and always visit outdoor markets. Bloomfield is such a beautiful market and ranks up there with my best experiences.
Some people think it’s really easy to manage a market, but I know it’s a full-time job. Without everyone at the market, what would we do on Saturdays?
– Zouhair Mkais
P.S. Markets are a way for us to stay fed and connected. Donate to Bloomfield Development Corporation to support vendors like me.