By Alicia Coleman and Caroline Robison
TAKOMA PARK, Md.– The Takoma Park Farmers’ Market is a place where the community can come together and where local farmers and artisans can go to sell their goods.
Many vendors at the Farmers’ Market have spent their lives in agriculture, but Jon Lang of Madison Mushrooms has a different story to share.
Lang transitioned to farming from being a sous chef at a busy restaurant. The stressful and time-consuming nature of the restaurant business became too taxing on his family relationships and mental health.
“In a restaurant you work every night, every weekend, every holiday,” he said, “which is not great when you have kids.”
Lang made the change about five years ago, and said “the switch has done wonders for me psychologically.”
Unlike a hectic restaurant, the Farmers’ Market is calm.
“I could sit here and listen to this guy play ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ for four hours on Sunday,” says Lang, “as opposed to waitresses and other chefs screaming for eight hours.”
Lang has always loved gardening and farming, and working with Madison Mushrooms is “an opportunity for [him] to deal directly with the kind of products [he] really liked working with as a chef,” and “a step back on the supply chain.”
In addition, the Farmers’ Market provides a sense of community because “you see the same people every week, and they see each other every week, and they stop and chat and their kids play.”
Lang says working for Madison Mushrooms at the Farmers’ Market is the best job he’s ever had, and finds farmers’ markets to be “a really cool subculture.”