Maryland Offers Countless Ways to Buy Local this Summer
State showcases dozens of local farms, restaurants and artisans – from the mountains to the bay – just in time for vacation season
BALTIMORE (July 7, 2014) – With the summer travel season officially underway, Maryland is showcasing hundreds of ways residents and visitors alike can support local businesses while enjoying everything from fresh farm produce to locally-brewed beers, artisan cheeses and world-class seafood.
“Buying local resonates with Marylanders, but also to those who visit the state over the summer months,” says Margot Amelia, executive director of the Maryland Office of Tourism. “Travelers are looking for an authentic Maryland experience, and when they buy local wine, beer and produce or enjoy freshly caught seafood, they experience the best of what Maryland has to offer.”
Maryland’s annual Buy Local Challenge will take place July 19-27. Participants pledge to eat at least one locally farm-grown food each day during the challenge week. The Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission established the Challenge seven years ago to promote good health and support the local economy.
Below is a list of ideas for trips into Maryland’s five regions with examples of attractions and events that all showcase local flavor. The Maryland Department of Agriculture also maintains an online directory of farmers' markets in the state for additional fresh, local produce.
Just a short drive from Baltimore and Washington, D.C., the Hagerstown City farmers' Market in Washington County is believed to be one of the three oldest farmers' markets in the country. The market has 30 vendors selling produce, baked goods, handmade crafts and a variety of other products. Visit the historic farmers' market any Saturday out of the year from 5 a.m. to noon.
Family owned since 1920, Misty Meadows Farm Creamery in Smithsburg makes their own ice cream, sorbet and frozen yogurt, along with homemade soups and sandwiches.
On Wednesdays and Saturdays from June through October, visit downtown Oakland for its Mountain Fresh farmers' Market. With farmers, artisans, cooks, and bakers from the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of Western Maryland, this market only offers items that are homemade or homegrown by its vendors from local produce to jewelry and flowers to fresh eggs.
Stop in at Firefly Farms Creamery and Market in Accident to taste their award-winning, handmade, locally-sourced goat cheese. With choices like MountainTop Bleu or the creamy Merry Goat Round, visitors can’t go wrong. Join their staff for a seasonal wine and cheese pairing tasting.
Whether visiting by water or land, experience Lakeside Creamery at Deep Creek Lake and taste their delicious, premium homemade ice cream. Open from mid-April until the leaves turn, this local and tourist favorite features an old-time ice cream shop and more than 90 flavors of ice cream and sorbet made with fresh milk from local dairy farms.
On July 26-27, the annual Farm Tour and Harvest Sale in Montgomery County will celebrate the county’s agricultural heritage. Purchase local fruits, vegetables, flowers, and plants as well as local foods at many of the county’s farms.
Looking for handmade jewelry and handbags as well as local foods? The American Market at National Harbor features everything from hand-crafted gift ideas to locally grown specialty foods including dips/sauces and sorbet. The market takes place every Saturday through October between Waterfront and Fleet streets.
Remember the milkman? South Mountain Creamery in Middletown is bringing the tradition back, delivering all-natural and farm fresh products including glass bottled milk, cheese and certified humane eggs right to your doorstep. Or visit the on-site store which sells these products and more than 40 flavors of ice cream to customers.
Flying Dog Brewery is one of the fastest-growing regional craft breweries in the mid-Atlantic and has been brewing world-class beer that pushes the confines of traditional styles for almost 25 years. The brewery is open for tours and tastings.
Baltimore has a number of farmers' markets where residents and visitors can purchase locally-sourced food and wares from a variety of vendors. Enjoy Maryland’s largest producers-only market at the Baltimore farmers' Market & Bazaar every Sunday from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. underneath the Jones Falls Expressway at Holliday & Saratoga streets. Vendors display a wide variety of local foods such as seafood, pork, bison, rabbit, baked goods, butter, eggs and cheese products. Other markets include the Baltimore Museum of Industry farmers' Market.
Don’t miss the new restaurant Parts & Labor on N. Howard Street in Baltimore, serving locally-sourced meat, cider and craft beer. It also features a butcher shop with pasture-raised whole animal butchery.
The Havre de Grace farmers' Market offers local produce, butchery and cheeses in downtown Havre de Grace on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. through the end of October.
Head to Clark’s Elioak Farm on July 22 for Howard County’s kick off to its “Love Local” Restaurant Week with the Howard County Film “Feastival.” From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., enjoy food from local farms and restaurants while watching several short firms about local agriculture. The event is free, with donations accepted at the door to benefit the county food bank. Continue to taste the local flavors of participating restaurants as they offer prix fixe discounted menus during Howard County’s “Love Local” Restaurant Week from July 21 through Aug. 4.
This year, Sotterley Plantation in St. Mary’s County unveiled its producer-only farmers' Market, open every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Visitors are also encouraged to stay and experience the site’s history and nature trails by hiking or taking a tour.
Look no further for the best in local housewares and products and head to the Village Green Flea Market in the town of Indian Head every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Local vendors showcase products, food and produce.
Along the way, pick up your copy of the new Southern Maryland Trails guidebook, a resource of all things handmade, homegrown and authentically Southern Maryland. The book features farms, art studios/galleries, wineries, eateries, lodgings, natural spaces and more in Charles, St. Mary's, Calvert, southern Anne Arundel and southern Prince George's counties.
Owned and operated by the Amish Community in St. Mary's County, Clover Hill Dairy is one of the newest local additions to the area, specializing in various, all-natural cheese flavors. The storefront is open Wednesdays to Saturdays, dawn to dusk.
St. Michaels appeal to those seeking a “spirited” experience includes a menu of beer, wine and spirits. For wine lovers, don’t miss St. Michael’s Winery offering informal tastings daily with no reservations required. With all beers brewed on the premises since 2008, Eastern Shore Brewing Company, invites guests to stop in and sample a wide variety of beers. Tours are available upon request. Lyon Distilling Company, a premier craft distillery produces hand-crafted sprits by transforming raw ingredients like molasses, sugar and local grains into rum and whiskey in small batches. Their liquor is only available for purchase at the distillery.
Raise your glass to the Toast Our Coast Wine & Ale Trail, which travels between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Highlights include Evolution Craft Brewing, Layton’s Chance Vineyard and Burley Oak Brewing Company. Additional wineries and breweries as well as events can be found through the web site.
Maryland is known for its hard shell crabs and guests of Maryland’s Taste of Cambridge Crab Cook-Off and Festival will get their fill of crab cakes, crab dips, crab soups and any other crab specialty items prepared by local chefs on July 12. Enjoy live music, contests and fun for kids, shopping and art.
About Maryland Tourism
The Maryland Office of Tourism is an agency of the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts within the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Visitors to the state spent more than $14.9 billion on travel-related expenses in 2012. During 2012, the Maryland tourism industry also generated $2 billion in state and local taxes, and provided more than 135,000 jobs for Maryland residents.