Volume 16, Issue 29 - July 17 - July 23, 2008

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A Week of Shopping Locally

Shoppers at Annapolis City Dock Farmers’ Market can choose from dozens of varieties of bread and delicious desserts at Quail Creek Bakery.

Sunday Morning at Annapolis City Dock Farmers’ Market

Taste Tip: free samples galore. Taste bread before you buy it, sample a piping hot crab cake or savor a fresh slice of tomato.

Linda Wilson of Butterpot Farms bags frilly bouquets of Vulcan lettuce for her customers along with advice on how best to serve and keep it. The lettuce isn’t your regular pale iceberg variety but a deep green to purple shading. Shoppers come back to her stall weeks later to tell her how good it was and how long it kept its freshness — while grocery-bought salad went limp after a day or so.

Such vigorous freshness comes straight from the vine to Annapolis farmers’ markets. Toigo Orchards offers piles of cherries and tomatoes that glow with ripeness. The Woodland Stand overflows with more kinds of edible mushrooms than many of us see in a lifetime. Hills Forest Fruit Farm offers ripe peaches, while D&S Farms show off preserves. Cherry Grove Goat Cheese Co. offers its creamy wares while exhorting the virtues of eating locally. The smell of Quail Creek Farm’s bakery mingles with the scent of freshly fried crab cakes at Chris’ Marketplace. They’re giving out free samples.

Patri Welch, who recently moved to Maryland from New York, stops to examine a cut of mutton that Bill Bankhead of Springdale Farms fetches from the cooler and weighs for her.

“I love farmers’ markets,” she says, praising “the camaraderie with the people out of town.” She says she also loves knowing her money goes directly to the farmers.

8am-noon thru Oct. 5 @ Ego Alley, Donner parking lot, off Compromise St., Annapolis: 202-362-8889.

–Erica Stratton

Sunday Afternoon at Westfield Annapolis Farmers’ Market

Taste Tip: The best garlic-stuffed olives this side of Barcelona.

The newest farmers’ market, sponsored by the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation, is a fun and friendly place to shop for Sunday dinner and revel in local summertime bounty. At the July 13 grand opening, nearly two dozen vendors offered a variety of homegrown and hand-crafted earthly delights to tickle all the senses.

Flats of annuals cavort with rosemary and lemongrass, while orchids nod their heads in the piquant breeze. Brilliant glass jewelry glints in the sun. Fingers linger on the polished perfection of semi-precious stones. The heavenly aroma of Portuguese sweetbread and scones fills the air, and bluegrass pickers serenade the shoppers. This is the day the Lord has made, indeed.

Here you can dive into a refreshing glass of herbal iced tea, if you arrive early enough. Another hot seller is bumbeberry jam from The Herbal Touch. Tucker’s Good Earth offers all natural soaps, guaranteed pure and fresh, good for you and good for the environment.

“From cow to cone” is the motto of Kilby Cream of Rising Sun, maker of 20 flavors of ice cream. Key lime, a favorite of the family patriarch, combines velvety texture with a light, refreshing tingle for the perfect antidote to a sweltering summer day.

Visit The Pickle Man for dill and spicy pickles, pickled tomatoes and jardinière, a pickled mix of cauliflower, carrots and peppers. His garlic-stuffed green olives are perfect for a sunset nosh on the veranda with a chilly glass of chardonnay.

noon-3pm thru Sept. 28 @ parking lot next to Sears automotive center, Westfield Shopping Center, Annapolis: 410-222-7410.

–Jane Elkin

Monday Morning: Seize the Day

Taste Tip: Firefly’s Allegheny Chevre for a goat cheese frittata

The one day a week the farmers don’t come to you, Monday, is your day to go to them. If you’re lucky enough to have a long weekend and don’t have to report to desk duty, seize the day and visit a local food producer — or two. The selection may surprise you, for locally grown eats are more diverse than crops from the fields.

Firefly Farms in Bittinger has been producing goat cheese for four years. With eight varieties, there is a cheese for every day of the week — and a day to spare. The farm doesn’t have an on-site retail store, but they’ll be happy to meet you; just call first (301-245-4630). Firefly cheeses are available at farmers’ markets, specialty shops and grocers. For a complete list: www.fireflyfarms.com.

Rumbleway Farm, in Cecil County, is a certified organic family farm specializing in free-range poultry and beef. Pork is also available. Meat and eggs are available in their farm store alongside other home-raised food. For directions and hours: www.rumblewayfarm.com.

Gourmet wine vinegar is the star of Dragonfly Farms. Located in Mt. Airy, Dragonfly claims to be “America’s first varietal wine vinegary.” Handpicked, hand-pressed and aged at least 12 months in oak barrels, these gourmet vinegars aren’t your ordinary variety. For directions and hours: www.dffarms.com.

For a fuller list of Maryland food producers, visit www.localharvest.org or www.slowfoodbaltimore.org

–Margaret Tearman

Tuesday Morning at Anne Arundel County Farmers’ Market

Fresh from the vine, Kathy Morris of Deep Cove Farm sells heirloom tomatoes worth their price in taste.

Taste Tip: Black raspberries by hand, on ice cream, with cereal and as the star of a mixed-berry cobbler

On Saturdays, Anne Arundel County’s oldest farmers’ market — 26 this year — is our bazaar. Some 30 farmers and crafters of local goods fill the open-sided shelter, reminding you of how folks go to market in Italy, China, Costa Rica or Morocco. Most any vegetable you desire, from spring asparagus to summer zucchini, and most fruits, in season, you can buy six times over. Want C? Try chestnuts in autumn. Need O? Onions and odd squash. Specialties fill in the gaps: honey, beeswax candles, herbal vinegars and salves and lots of plants for your garden and flowers for your home.

On Saturdays, the bazaar is so thronged with you and your neighbors that a policeman directs traffic.

Shop Tuesday morning, however, and you have the market and its treasures almost to yourself. From fewer than a third of Saturday’s sellers, at a June market I collected summer’s sweetest early treasures. From the Earth, what must have been the year’s earliest new golden potatoes and youngest squash. From heaven, small, full-flavored Harbinger peaches and sweet, sooty-lobed black raspberries.

I love a Saturday bazaar, but nothing’s finer than turning up gold in the early morning on the way to work.

7am-noon thru Oct. 28 @ Riva Rd. at Harry S. Truman Pkwy., Annapolis: 410-349-0317.

–Sandra Olivetti Martin

Wednesday Afternoon at Piney Orchard Farmers’ Market

Farmers’ markets are “less expensive than the grocery store,” says Ginger Adkins, buying tomatoes from Tom Sabelhaus.

Taste tip: Early, sweet cherry tomatoes — salmonella-free

At this nearly decade-old casual gathering, you’ll wait in no lines, and it’s easy to chat with farmers, sellers and other customers. Stop by and be tempted by the variety of fresh finds — and the price.

“It’s less expensive than the grocery store,” says Ginger Adkins of Odenton, who’s trying to buy more locally since she moved from Germany in April.

You’ll find fresh vegetables like summer squash and green beans, and growing plants, including citronella and varieties of mint, from Deep Cove farm in Churchton. More produce comes from Good Love Farm in Davidsonville — which grows seven or eight varieties of garlic, plus peaches, tomatoes, squash and raspberries to come. Tom Sabelhaus sells tomatoes, five varieties of peppers, squash, zucchini — all grown in his Mount Airy greenhouses — and homemade jams cooked with homegrown berries. Watermelons and cantaloupe are on their way, he says.

Three specialty producers add luxuries: specialty breads, seasoned loafs, scones and pastries from Vera’s Bakery based in Arnold; coffees by the cup and by the bag and tea from Cosmic Bean Coffee Company in Millersville; and jewelry by Juelles.

2pm-6:30pm thru Oct. 29 @ Piney Orchard Community & Visitors Center parking lot, Stream Valley Dr., off Rt. 170, Odenton: 410-867-9162.

Also The Centre at Glen Burnie Farmers’ Market 10am-1pm thru Sept. 24 @ The Centre, Best Buy Parking Lot, off Rt. 2, Glen Burnie: 410-349-0317.

Also Prince Frederick Farmers’ Market 2-6pm thru Sept. @ Prince Frederick Shopping Center, Rt. 4 & Rt. 231, Prince Frederick: 443-532-7479.

–Carrie Madren

Thursday Afternoon at Deale Farmers’ Market

Taste tip: Green tomatoes for frying and ripening

This eight-year-old market is small. Two farms — The Wilkerson family and William Morris — supply the vegetables and fruit. Bay Gardener Frank Gouin adds peaches, nectarines and, in fall, persimmons from his Upakrik Farm. The rest bring the seasonings (Elizabeth Ogden’s herbs), jam for your bread (Bonnie Delabrer, Dr. Gouin’s daughter, of Upakrik Pantry) and bread for your jam (Vera’s Bakery).

Kim Butler eyes the jams at Bonnie Delabrer’s Upakrik Pantry.

But selection is rich and deep. These farmers know their customers, and they heavy up week by week as shoppers get addicted to the freshest tastes money can buy. Gail Wilkerson, for example, can send her husband Eldridge home to their Tracys Landing farm for more corn if that’s the week’s hot item.

Come early, and you may fill your bag with treasures: heirloom tomatoes, figs, raspberries, Asian pears.

Kim Butler, new to the area, came late on her first visit, barely making it from work before the prompt 6pm closing. But not too late. She took home Bill Morris’ last box of tomatoes, planning to dredge slices in flour and Old Bay, then fry them in olive oil. “I’d rather get my vegetables at a place like this than at the store,” she said. “Or grow my own. But as I’ve just moved, I don’t yet have my garden.”

3-6pm thru Oct. 30 @ Cedar Grove United Methodist Church Parking Lot, Rt. 256, Deale: 410-867-4993.

–Sandra Olivetti Martin

Friday Night at North Beach Farmers’ Market

Taste tip: Peaches for pie and crisp

The blast from the air horn means it is Friday, 6pm, in North Beach – and the Farmers’ Market is open for business. For the next three hours, shoppers will line up to buy fresh produce, baked goods, herbs and cut flowers.

North Beach held its first farmers’ market on Friday, June 13. In spite of the ominous opening date, the fledgling market has experienced anything but bad luck. Long lines have become the norm.

Jim and Sherri Kennedy from Prince Fredrick were one of 40-plus shoppers in line to buy corn and peaches from Swann’s Farm of Lower Marlboro.

Jim and Sherri Kennedy said the lines are worth the wait “for the sweetest corn around.”

“We got here about 5:30pm,” said Sherri. “It’s the sweetest corn around. This is definitely worth the wait.”

A few stalls away, the intoxicating smells of cinnamon and yeast wafted out from under the Uptown Bakery’s tent. Here more than 30 people patiently waited – mouths watering and stomachs growling — to choose from heaps of cookies, sweet rolls and a dozen varieties of bread.

Leslie Krauss was back in line for the second time that evening. “I bought a couple of cinnamon rolls earlier,” she laughs. “But my husband already ate them. I need to buy more.”

Other regular marketers include Mennonite White Oak Point Farm (Calvert County: veggies, and homemade goods for eating and bath); Green Violet (Fairhaven: organic herbs and herbal potions), Jack Creek (Shady Side: potted plants) Harris Orchards (Jug Bay: fruit); and Wise Acres (Huntingtown: flowers plus organic herbs, veggies).

“Traditionally, farmers’ markets open by ringing a bell,” explained Mayor Mike Bojokles. “We’re using the air horn just until we can find a bell.”

6-9pm thru Oct. 31 @ across from boardwalk, Fifth St. & Bay Ave., North Beach: 202-257-3253.

–Margaret Tearman

Saturday Morning at the Severna Park Farmers’ Market

Taste Tip: Skip cooking — buy a peach and a cinnamon stick for the perfect strolling breakfast.

Gourds galore at Pat Hochmuth’s stand at the Severna Park Market.

A steady stream of shoppers flows from table to table, gently testing the fuzzy skin of Harris Orchard peaches, slipping the husk down Brown Cove Farm bi-color corn to peek at the plump kernels and scouring the labels on My Nana’s Kitchen bottles in search of jalapeño jelly.

Leashed dogs meander with their shopping partners, noses seeking out low-lying produce or spilled samples. Ruby, a black Lab who sells corn with Brown Cove, grabs a fat ear and retreats behind a pickup truck.

Bleary-eyed customers file toward The Cosmic Bean, where carafes filled with hot or iced locally roasted coffee offer shoppers a shot of caffeine. The smell of cinnamon sticks and fresh-baked scones from Vera’s Bakery mingles with the lingering scents of mint and sage from Joyce’s Flowers & Herbs.

Touring, you find: organically grown Eastern Shore peppers, tomatoes and produce from Walin Farms; fresh baked loaves from Ellicott City’s The Breadery; Master Gardeners answering questions at the bloom trouble-shooting booth; Japanese maple saplings and grasses at McAllister’s Plants & Shrubs; fresh green beans and gourds from Pat Hochmuth’s farm; herbs and new potatoes from Deep Cove Farm; hand-crafted pots and photographs from Printempts Pottery; fresh tomatoes from Sojourner Douglass College co-op, Spruill Farm.

In spite of the local bounty, there is little waste. Every plum or heirloom tomato that doesn’t find its way into your shopping bag finds a new home at local fruit stands, other farmers’ markets, food kitchens or on a farmer’s dining room table. As for Vera Port’s sumptuous baked goods, confections unsold by the close of market provide a sweet treat for area homeless shelters.

8am-noon thru Oct. 25 @ Rt. 2 & Jones Station Rd., Severna Park: 410-827-9192.

Also Anne Arundel County Farmers’ Market 7am-noon thru Dec. 20 @ Riva Rd. at Harry S. Truman Pkwy., Annapolis: 410-349-0317.

Also Prince Frederick Farmers’ Market 8am-2pm thru Sept. @ Prince Frederick Shopping Center, Rt. 4 & Rt. 231, Prince Frederick: 443-532-7479.

–Diana Beechener

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