Some Like it Raw
Walking the farmers market can be a very inspiring journey. In each aisle, shoppers might find a fruit they’ve never tasted, maybe a condiment they’ve never thought of, or perhaps even a dog on a skateboard scooting by. For Kenny Hadley, the market inspired a total lifestyle change.
Kenny has been a volunteer at the Community Exchange Table (CET) for nine years. Now, Kenny is known as the booth manager. His family, of Hadley Farmship, helped start the club through a local permaculture group. The operation is run completely by volunteers, and featured neighborhood growers and makers keep 80% or 90% of their profits (depending on the market they’re selling at).
The CET lately features the Orchard Community Learning Center, Sundown Ranch, two independent neighborhood locals who grow fruit and make all-natural beauty products, as well as Hadley Farmship. Growers and makers set their own prices. The Hadley’s also produce “Mom’s Tortillas.” Produce ranges from the exotic non-edibles that will catch shoppers’ eyes, such as loofah and pine-cones, to the all-familiar basil (bags of which they famously sell for just $1). Often, heritage seeds are sold next to the fruit they produce. Kenny recalls seeing huge stalks of sugarcane for sale at one market, but maintains that tart and sweet mulberries from their table are still the best thing he’s ever eaten in Phoenix.
Kenny’s perspective on produce in Phoenix is especially viable due to the fact that he has been eating exclusively raw vegan foods for five years this October. After watching “Food Inc.” in 2008, he had worked to cut “bad” foods from his diet progressively until 2012. At that point, Kenny was inspired to attempt a 10-day all-raw challenge by a fellow vendor at the market after hearing how great much it improved their overall well-being. His 10-day challenge became a life challenge.
Nearly every day, Kenny dresses up a beautiful, gigantic salad as his go-to meal. You can find rows of pictures of them on his Instagram (@allrawbepraised), each one looking uniquely delicious and satisfying. Just a glance at his account will have you craving a piece of fruit fresh off a tree. Kenny swears by eating a watermelon a day (“preferably bigger than my head,” he says–a glance at his Instagram account will tell you that too) to survive the Phoenix heat, and he wouldn’t ever turn down a cob of local sweet corn.
Whether it’s starting your own garden or making a lifestyle shift, we hope that the market provides unique inspiration for our diverse community. We have a bounty to learn from our local growers and makers! A conversation over a table full of loofah and pine-cones is a great place to start.