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Can You Eat Out and Eat Local?

Many local chefs and restaurants are on the bandwagon

     Farm-fresh fruit and vegetables plus fin and shellfish straight from the Bay abound in midsummer Maryland. Farmers markets, roadside stands and grocery stores all sell local produce.
    But will you fare so well when you go out to eat?
    Yes — if you know where to look.
    In interviews with Bay Weekly, owners, managers and chefs of six Anne Arundel and Calvert County restaurants in a survey of 10 reported they love being able to serve local foods. The fresher the better. Two local restaurants even have their own gardens to ensure customers are satisfied with the freshest food possible.
    Here are six Chesapeake County spots serving local.
    Abundance controls local foods at Mike’s Crabhouse in Riva. “This time of year we can get local corn, tomatoes and cucumbers delivered,” says owner Arthur Piera. “We are also trying to get as many local crabs as possible, but it isn’t a good season.”
    At The Metropolitan in Annapolis, owner Jody Danek says, “We try to do the best we can with all of the produce. Our chef goes to the farmers market at Riva Road on Tuesdays and Saturdays during the summer. If not Maryland, than we get if from the Mid-Atlantic.”
    The Metropolitan is certified True Blue by Maryland Department of Natural Resources, meaning it serves only Maryland crab. The restaurant buys local cheese. Mushrooms come from just over the Pennsylvania border where the small town of Kennett Square is known as the Mushroom Capital of the World. Other produce comes from the Bay area. A list of farms where the ingredients are from is on the website (www.metropolitanannapolis.com) and the menu.
    At Old Stein Inn in Mayo, forget farm to table. Fruits and vegetables here are garden to table. “We have our own hyper-organic garden that grows tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, peppers, watermelon, cantaloupe and more in the summer,” says owner Mike Sellinger. “We are also growing cabbage and peas for the fall.” The Old Stein composts all the waste from the kitchen to return it to the garden. This is the second year for the garden, and Sellinger says there is no turning back.
    The Point in Arnold (and a new sister restaurant in Crofton) makes everything but ice cream from scratch, seeking ingredients as local as possible. For the fresh produce, chef Bobby Jones goes to local farmers. Additional supplies come from Diehl’s Produce.
    “Poultry and beef never come from farther than the Ohio Valley,” says Jones. “Seafood is all commercially supplied because demand is so high, but in the summer, crabmeat, soft-shell crabs, catfish and tuna come from Maryland. Oysters are locally supplied in the winter.”
    Riverbay Roadhouse in Cape St. Claire prefers locally supplied produce in the summer. “Our supplier, Wagner, tries to get us local produce and when they do they notify us,” says general manager Mike Donnelly. “Our crabs come right from the Bay, too.”
    Summer vegetables and fruits served at Westlawn Inn in North Beach grow in the restaurant garden. “Right now we are growing zucchini, squash, string beans, tomatoes and watermelon; basically everything but corn,” says owner Lee Travers. “We also grow herbs and spices right at the restaurant.” Keany Produce of Landover fills out the menu, as it does for restaurants all over Maryland and in parts of Virginia, Delaware and New Jersey.
    Who do you know riding the local bandwagon? Let me know at intern@bayweekly.com.
 

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