Bo Mostow: 2015 Big Brain Award Finalist, Culinary Arts

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

You submitted nominations for the best and brightest emerging Valley creatives, and the results are in. Presenting the 2015 BigBrain finalists.

Leading up to the announcement of winners at Artopia on May 9, Jackalope Ranch, Chow Bella, and Up on the Sun will introduce the finalists. Up today is Bo Mostow.

"What's important is everyone be in the same place, just like a grocery store," Bo Mostow explains.

With a furrowed brow, she studies a well-worn piece of graph paper, a map of the bi-weekly Uptown Farmers Market in North Phoenix. On it, each vendor's space is outlined and labeled in faded pencil.

As the market's manager, Mostow is responsible for placing each of the dozens of vendors, which vary from week to week, in the best space. Taking into account everything -- from the type of products (because you can't put a salsa vendor next to another salsa vendor) to the position of the sun (because chocolate, for example, will melt in an east-facing tent) -- she tries to design the perfect market experience.

See also: Announcing the 2015 Big Brain Finalists

Making every detail just right -- from the layout to the visual appeal gained by using only matching white tents -- is important to Mostow. For her, finding the perfect farmers market proved pretty much impossible -- before she opened her own.

"It was a total deal-breaker for me, dealing with parking and kids," Mostow says.

For the mother of four young children, markets with no parking (let alone parking for a large SUV) made shopping at farmers markets impossible. And with all the kids in tow, shopping become more of a hassle than anything else.

So she solved that.

The Uptown Farmers Market, held at the North Phoenix Baptist Church, offers an abundance of parking, along with activities to keep kids entertained. There's a bounce house and live music, and on Saturday mornings you'll often find parents lounging on the spacious lawns while kids run and play under the shady trees.

Mostow and partner Jennifer Woods opened the Saturday morning market last November. (Woods left the market in early January.) By February, Mostow had added a Wednesday morning market, anchored by well-known local farmer Bob McClendon and his McClendon's Select produce. These days, she's got an impressive lineup of vendors selling everything from produce and dairy to salts, baked goods, and spices.

The market's instant success comes in no small part because of Mostow's extensive experience in both farmers markets and the North Phoenix community. Before opening Uptown, she opened and operated the Central Farmers Market, and before that she spent a year and a half as a CSA coordinator for Crooked Sky Farms.

Mostow, who studied nutrition at ASU, says she knew she wanted to open a farmers market after completing an internship with Cindy Gentry at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market.

"I just felt alive," Mostow says of working at the market.

Her ultimate vision is to make Uptown Farmers Market a hub for connecting the whole community, including farmers, consumers, and gardeners. She'd like to add a Growers Market to the mix, where master gardeners can gather and find supplies. At some point, she'd like to have an onsite nutritionist and to offer classes on growing food, nutrition, and more.

"If I can get home cooks back in the kitchen, for the kids' sake, that would be great," Mostow says.

The 2015 Big Brain Award winners will be announced onSaturday, May 9, during New Times' Artopia, an evening of food, drink, art, and music at Monarch Theatre. For details and tickets, $25, visit www.phoenixnewtimes.com/bigbrainawards.

Follow Chow Bella on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.