We have updated this story to reflect USC Hospitality hosts the Trojan Farmers Market instead of Green USC and the Office of Sustainability as previously published. We regret the error.
Larissa Rus buzzed with excitement to once again be selling her family’s locally grown honey at the USC Trojan Farmers Market on the McCarthy Quad after a two-year hiatus.
The market returned Wednesday bearing fresh produce, local vendors and hand-crafted products.
Hosted by USC Hospitality, the open-air market occurs every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. providing a sense of community for vendors, students and faculty alike.
“We are coming back after a two year break,” said Rus, local vendor and beekeeper. “We’ve been here for the last, I believe, four years before that. So, we’re kind of veterans here.”
Michelle Ramos, junior civil engineering major, was also glad to see the market’s return.
“I was here freshman year, or two years ago, when it was still a thing, so I was excited when it came back,” Ramos said.
While upperclassman and former farmers market goers are psyched to see it return, many students new to campus are just learning of the event.
“I was going to my 10 a.m. [class] and that’s in Leavey, and I’m like, ‘word, I got to go check it out,’” said freshman mechanical engineering major Marco Ebeling. “I rock with strawberries. I’m kind of looking for tomatoes, too, so I’m trying to find some tomatoes. But they look freakin’ delicious.”
The market aims to support sustainable agriculture and farming practices that promote nutrition, health and wellness. The farm-to-table focus of the market allows USC students and faculty to incorporate sustainable practices into daily life.
Wednesday’s market hosted 30 local vendors offering everything from fresh produce pre pre-packaged honey and homemade tamales.
“It started as a hobby. And then for my dad, it started as a means to pollinate the almond fields, which are in Central California. So he raised bees for that,” Rus said. “So, after all those pollinations, we just got so much honey, we didn’t know what to do with it. So, we just branded and packaged.”
For Rus, the Trojan Farmers Market holds a special place in her heart, evolving her family’s passion project into a business.
“That was actually my first time selling honey,” Rus said.
Another vendor, Sage Tollast, offers Mediterranean dishes with a vegan twist. Tollast had been working in other markets around L.A. when the Trojan Farmers Market approached her.
“They said it was a really good market,” Tollast said. “I guess the students here had been asking for more vegan options.”
Committed to bringing healthier foods to the USC community, the market allows students and faculty to enjoy a variety of meal and snack options.
“I have onigiri, so it’s like seaweed wrapped in rice, and it has filling. I think they’re new this year,” said Sharon Tu, a junior biological sciences major. “I’ve never seen them before, so I’m kind of excited to try them.”
Lisa Ly, junior cognitive science major, is thrilled to have her favorite vendor back on campus.
“I remember getting out of class every Wednesday and just looking here because I knew the lines were long, so I’m excited to have it again,” Ly said.
In addition to offering a multitude of treats, the Trojan Farmers Market aims to give students access to affordable high quality food by offering lower prices and accepting EBT.
“[The Farmers Market] is a better deal than Trader Joe’s, really,” Ebeling said. “I highly recommend.”