Find a Local Farmers Market in MD
Just about everybody knows by now that Maryland farmers markets are among the best places to find great local produce. They're also great places to make friends, taste test new, fresh ingredients before buying, and even watch cooking demonstrations and entertainment in many cases.
Maryland farmers markets highlight the products from local farms and other agri-businesses, and they also occur in your home town, so you don't have to travel far to locate them. They've been going on for years in some locations, but they've become popular in the last few years, so you should be able to find one not far from home!
The Benefits of Farmers Markets in Maryland
The advantages of shopping at your local Maryland farmers market are many. First, you know the produce and other items are as fresh as they can be, as they come directly from the farm to the market. The majority of crops for sale at these markets are organically grown, so you know your friends and family won't be eating anything except farm-fresh goodness.
Also, Maryland farmers markets are good for the environment. Farms contribute oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the air, which can help relieve global warming, and usually, farmers don't need to drive too far to the market, so the environment gets another boost by using less fuel and contributing less pollutants in the air.
Typically, prices are cheaper at farmers markets, too, because the farmer does not have to mark up his prices to earn money from a wholesaler, who marks up the prices again before they get to the supermarket. So, you're actually paying less money for a much better product, and who doesn't like that?
These markets profit Maryland farmers, as well, given that they have a weekly (or daily) market to attract customers, plus they do not have to ship their products days or even weeks in advance at wholesale prices, therefore they make a better profit, too. It's always better to buy from local MD farms, considering that the money stays in the local economy, and that means more jobs and profits - all from buying fresh local produce!
Finding Your Local Maryland Farmers Market
Farmers markets in most cases run from late May or early June through September or October, based on where you live and your climate. Really it all depends on the growing season in your area and when farmers can get their first products to market. Maryland farmers markets are such a big deal now, that typically local newspapers will print a schedule of markets in your area as the season is about to begin.
Often, you can find a schedule from your local Cooperative Extension or county agricultural board, too. They have become so popular, in fact, that some communities enjoy several farmers markets every week, so it pays to shop all of them and choose the ones that provide the produce and other products you like the best.
What to Look for at a Maryland Farmers Market
You will be sure to find local Maryland farms promoting their wares at affordable prices, but there are a few things to look out for. Make sure the produce is ripe and hasn't been sitting out in the sun too long, or has been damaged in transport. Many booths offer a free taste of whatever you are looking at, so you can check out new flavors and crops you may not have had a chance to experience before.
Some farmers will even supply you with recipes and other ideas on how to serve their products, too. At the really big markets, organizers may bring in free entertainment, arts and crafts booths, and other amusements to draw in the crowds, and they may even provide play areas for the kids, too.
Look for other items at your farmers market, too. Sometimes local meat, cheese, and dairy producers bring their wares, and big markets are more like a county fair, with food booths, information booths, and even games for the whole family. So, check out a local Maryland farmer market or two, and come home with everything else you need for a healthy, hearty dinner.