Lifestyle

We’ve all heard these mantras: Buy local. Eat healthy farm-to-table food. Get to know your farmer. Support the grassroots economy. And—while you’re at it—sustain our planet and reduce your carbon footprint. It’s super easy to do all this and more at one of the hometown farmer’s markets in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County. At least eight well-organized markets take place around the city and county weekly, each market spilling over with abundance. (See a full list here)!

Local Farmer's Market
Image courtesy of the author

Most are open May through October, and a few are open during the winter months. The Anne Arundel County designated farmers markets are “producer-only,” meaning that vendors can sell only goods they’ve grown, harvested, or produced themselves.

The lively outdoor markets offer locally produced agricultural products, seasonal vegetables and fruits, herbs, milk, yogurt, cheese, meats, eggs, baked goods, pickles, jams, honey, candies, soaps, and jewelry. At the markets, you can even find your lunch or breakfast, prepared just for you.

Going to a farmers market can become part of your weekly routine, something you’ll look forward to as one of life’s great pleasures. The vibrant, colorful markets are community hubs, social events, and great resources for the home cook.

Beautiful fresh produce and delicious meats and cheeses make it easy to be extra creative in your own kitchen. Who wouldn’t love a fresh salad of mixed spring greens or luscious summer tomatoes, topped with a light vinaigrette and edible nasturtium flowers, fresh herbs, and goat’s cheese?

Local Farmer's Market
Image courtesy of Abby Powell

Gift shopping is easy at these farmer’s markets. Your friends will love the artisanal soaps, handmade chocolates, and jars of pickles, jams, and honey. Just wrap your gifts up in brown paper, tie with twine and a sprig of green, and voila, you’re an artist yourself!

As summer winds down, look to the farmer’s markets for pumpkins, fall flowers, root vegetables, and hearty baked goods. Do your holiday gift shopping at the holiday market at the Riva Road location, where you can find fresh food for the Thanksgiving table, wreaths and greenery, handcrafted gifts, sweet treats, and more. And then, beginning on the first Sunday in January, look for healthy choices for keeping your New Year’s resolutions at the winter market at the Riva Road location.

The farmers market at Anne Arundel Medical Center takes place indoors weekly next to the hospital cafeteria during lunchtime hours. The market was initially created to bring fresh food to AAMC employees, but the market is also open to the public. The AAMC organizers have partnered with the University of Maryland Extension to provide free sampling, simple recipes, and demonstrations to encourage the use of fresh produce in cooking. This and some of the other farmer’s markets accept SNAP and other public benefit programs for food purchases.

Local Farmer's Market
Image courtesy of the author

Farmer’s markets around Annapolis are promoted by the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation. The AAEDC staff doesn’t operate the markets, but they do help to market and initially establish them. As part of AAEDC’s business assistance to farmers, they’ve created the Arundel Grown Guide, a directory of locally grown and produced goods that lists markets, farm stands, and local farms.

Their annual Ag Education Day is coming up on October 13, 2019, with agricultural vendors as well as farmers market offerings.

Another new market in the City of Annapolis (not listed in the AAEDC listing) is the open-air Mercado Hilltop Market held Saturdays through September 28, weather permitting, outdoors at the Salvation Army on Hilltop Lane. ‘El Mercado’ is the Spanish word for ‘the market’, and this market has a refreshing international flavor, with fruits, vegetables, flowers, handmade goods, piñatas, and more.

Be sure to stop by one of the local farmer’s markets this fall to see for yourself the abundance of goods and produce!

Ann Powell

Ann Powell loves living and boating on the Chesapeake Bay. A former attorney and graduate of the University Of Maryland School Of Law, she enjoys sharing with readers her travel, boating, and gardening experiences. Ann’s writing and photography have appeared in a variety of print magazines and online resources. Her photography can be viewed on Istockphoto.com in her Coastalpics portfolio.