News / USA

Old Tradition Lives On in Baltimore, Maryland

Old Tradition Lives On in Baltimorei
X
November 14, 2013 10:50 PM
Modern technology and a hastened lifestyle are wiping out many old traditions worldwide. But in the eastern U.S. city of Baltimore, one tradition is fighting to survive and perhaps even to grow. Street merchants who sell fruits and vegetables from colorful horse-drawn carts have disappeared from most U.S. cities, but still can be found in Baltimore. Zlatica Hoke reports there may be more in the future.
Zlatica Hoke
— Modern technology and a hastened lifestyle are seeing many old traditions worldwide come to an end, but in the U.S. city of Baltimore, one tradition is fighting to survive, and perhaps even grow. Street merchants who sell fruits and vegetables from colorful horse-drawn carts have disappeared from most U.S. cities, but still can be found in Baltimore. Soon, the city’s streets may be home to even more.
 
Residents of Baltimore are familiar with the traditional call of what are known as arabbers -- street vendors who sell fruits and vegetables from horse-drawn carts.
Twenty-five-year-old BJ Abdullah has been arabbing most of his life. He starts his day by loading his cart with local, freshly bought produce.  
 
"I got cabbage, I got collard greens, I got string beans," calls out Abdullah.
 
Customers can have the goods delivered at their doorstep or go to the cart when they hear the distinct sound. Many of the regular customers are elderly people who cannot walk to the market, while others just find them convenient.
 
"It's convenient, they come to you. You don't have to go out and get it," explains local arabber patron Veronica Cunningham.
 
The origin of the word arabbers could have derived from the 19th century expression "street arabs", referring to people, mostly African-American men, who had access to the port and horses and could start arabbing as a small business.
 
In recent years, the tradition began to decline and some stables have been shut down for building code violations. Animal rights activists also have complained that the horses are poorly treated.
 
In 1994, a preservation society was formed to address these issues and preserve the tradition.  President Daniel Van Allen said recent years have seen a revival of the historic trade.
 
"We've gone, in the past few years, from one to two wagons after one of the stables was shut down for urban renewal, and back up to eight wagons out on the street, and hopefully we'll have four more wagons out on the street next year," said Van Allen.
 
BJ Abdullah said he does not plan to give up his job in any case.
 
"Oh I'm going to keep on going until I can't walk no more. We're gonna be around, we ain't going nowhere. It's been around over a hundred years, this [trade business] ain't going nowhere," said Abdullah.
 
Long hours at work for many Americans and a growing demand for wholesome local produce may put the old Baltimore trade on the road to recovery.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid