Buy local to discover Maryland's 'authentic treasures'
Farmers' markets, seafood, wine and beer trails, artwork
and historical destinations among 'best of Maryland'
BALTIMORE (July 10) –During the last week of July, participants in Maryland’s annual Buy Local Challenge agree to eat at least one item from a Maryland farm each day. The Challenge promotes eating fresh, seasonal food from local sources – a practice that supports family farms and sustainable food production, according to the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission, the group that established this event five years ago.
A “buy local” perspective also goes beyond eating fresh produce and other products from area farms, says the Maryland Office of Tourism.
“Buying local is investing in Maryland’s signature products, attractions and events,” says Margot Amelia, executive director of the tourism office. “Travelers can sample the best of Maryland and enjoy Maryland’s authentic treasures with a multi-faceted ‘buy local’ approach.”
She recommends dining on Chesapeake Bay seafood, selecting Maryland wine and beer, acquiring the work of local artists, and visiting places along the state’s collection of Civil War trails, five wine trails (each featuring the wineries of a particular region) and a new ice-cream trail (includes seven dairy farms).
Ideas for trips into Maryland’s five regions with examples of events and attractions reflecting local flavor are below. Also, the Maryland Department of Agriculture has an online directory of farmers’ markets in the state.
- Artist Studio Tour of Garrett County, July 28-29, is an opportunity to meet 21 artists at seven locations and view their work: pottery, wood-work, fused glass, jewelry, handmade paper, recycled wood art and two-dimensional art (paintings and photography). Tour includes artist demonstrations. For more information, call or e-mail the Garrett County Arts Council, 301-334-6580.
- Mountain City Traditional Arts Center, Frostburg (Allegany County) – A showcase for local Appalachian art, the center has demonstrations, hand-crafted items for sale, artwork on display, classes and workshops, and occasional performances. It was established jointly by the Allegany Arts Council, Folklore & Folklife Programming at Frostburg State University, and the FrostburgFirst Main Street Program.
- Rinehart Orchards, Smithsburg (Washington County) – This 400-acre grower of apples and peaches has been in business 81 years, in a county known for its abundance of fruit orchards. Peach season begins in mid-July. Other summer produce includes nectarines, plums, watermelons, cantaloupe, corn and tomatoes.
- Montgomery County’s annual Farm Tour and Harvest Sale, July 28-29 is a way to become familiar with the local products produced at 14 county locations, including farms, orchards, animal sanctuary, alpaca farm and a vineyard. The county also has 21 farmers’ markets.
- Romano Vineyard and Winery, Brandywine (Prince George’s County) – Since 1998, the Romano family has kept bees and produced honey under the Golden Leaf Farm label at their property in the southern part of the county. In 2007, the family transformed the farm – where tobacco and soybeans had grown – into a vineyard. They now cultivate six wine-grape varietals and craft wine that comes only from the grapes in their vineyard. Honey is still available in season.
- The Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center, Frederick (Frederick County) – The Gift Gallery here features the work of Delaplaine members: jewelry; wood, metal and paper items; paintings; ceramics; and fiber arts. Located in the 100-year-old Mountain City Mill along Carroll Creek, the center offers arts classes and presents more than 50 exhibits each year in eight galleries. Events also include lectures, films, workshops and art trips.
- Howard County’s third annual film Feastival, Tuesday evening, July 17 at Clark’s Elioak Farm in Ellicott City, presents a screening of the documentary American Meat – a look at the industrial meat industry and the sustainable, local-food movement that has emerged in response to it. The evening also includes food samples from county restaurants that will participate in Farm-2-Restaurant Weeks, July 18 – Aug. 6. During that time, more than 20 restaurants offer pre-fixe menus with locally grown products at prices ranging from $10.12 to $40.12.
- Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Annapolis (Anne Arundel County) – This multi-disciplinary arts center offers participation in a wide range of programming related to arts education, the visual arts and performing arts. More than 5,000 individuals take art classes each year. The center also has four resident companies: Annapolis Chorale, Annapolis Opera, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Ballet Theatre of Maryland. A labyrinth – modeled after the one at the Cathedral of the Chartres in Paris – is available for public meditation.
- Maker’s Market at Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center, Solomons (Calvert County) – Held the first Saturday of every month, the market features handmade, homemade and homegrown items. Selection includes crafts, hanging baskets, organic skincare products, produce, cut flowers, baked goods, batik and fleece apparel, soaps and candles, herbal teas, and folk art. Annmarie has an outdoor collection of world-class sculpture.
- St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s River Concert Series, St. Mary’s City (St. Mary’s County) – Held outdoors on Friday evenings in July, this free series presents guest performers in classical, jazz and blues genres. The Chesapeake Orchestra under the direction of Jeffrey Silberschlag is the resident orchestra for the series. St. Mary’s College is adjacent to Historic St. Mary’s City, the birthplace of Maryland and one of the best-preserved sites of a British colonial settlement in North America.
- Sunset Concert Festival and Farmers’ Market, Waldorf (Charles County) – Friday evening concerts (through August) begin at 7 p.m. in O’Donnell Lake Restaurant Park next to the Hilton Garden Inn. Prior to each concert, a farmers’ market is open from 4 to 7 p.m. The market also opens on Saturday mornings at 8 a.m.
- Adkins Arboretum, Ridgely (Caroline County) – This 400-acre native garden and preserve has the region’s largest selection of native plants – more than 600 species of native shrubs, trees, wildflowers, grasses and ferns. The Native Plant Nursery is open weekdays. Soup ‘n Walk, July 21, allows visitors to take a guided walk on the property, have a light meal and get nutritional tips.
- Emily’s Produce, Cambridge (Dorchester County) – Patrons can pick their own cut flowers at this family-owned and operated market on Md. Route 16 (Church Creek Road). Summer produce includes sweet corn, tomatoes, blackberries and strawberries. Jams, jellies, relishes, sauces and homemade desserts are also available. Paul Jackson, owner and operator, is a fifth-generation grain farmer.
- Visitors can enjoy the bounty of the Chesapeake at these two annual events: Taste of Cambridge, a street festival held in the revitalized waterfront district of Cambridge, July 14; and the J. Millard Tawes Crab and Clam Bake (named for a former Maryland governor), July 18 in Crisfield – a coastal community built on oyster shells.
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. Recently reported visitor data shows that the state welcomed more than 32.2 million visitors in 2010. Those visitors spent nearly $13.1 billion on travel-related expenses – generating close to $1.9 billion in state and local taxes and providing 130,000 jobs to Maryland residents.