Mike Abate’s plans whirl like dervishes. The new Market manager projects the Monroe Farmers Market will be a center of delicious food in Northeast PA, a gathering point for chefs who will showcase farm-raised ingredients in their restaurants. “I believe that the Monroe Farmers Market is the best community event our area has to offer,” he says.

One goal is to increase variety in the Market. “I am presently seeking out vendors, new and exciting prospects,” he says. “For example, pickle vendors, vinegar producers, etc.”

In the meantime, he plans to raise regional awareness of the Monroe Farmers Market. “A lot of people I talk to don’t know about it,” he says. At every event he attends, Mike discusses the benefits of the MFM. He visits chefs in their restaurants and invites them to make the scene. “I have brought the Farmers Market on to television appearances, as well as several radio programs.”

Mike’s capstone, the Chef’s Tent, a planned hive of activity sponsored by Shawnee Inn, proposes activities like local chefs preparing foods from the Market, cooking competitions, and demonstrations with a spotlight on nutrition. “It is a place of education, growth and community.”

It is Mike’s love of community that compels him to work toward increased participation from low-income clientele. “All communities thrive when love is the force that connects us all. The MFM is our representation of this,” he says. “There is profit here, but we are authentic. A strong Farmers Market is a strong Community.”