Going Local for an Authentic Maryland Experience

From markets to farm-to-table restaurants, the state serves up delicious opportunities to buy local this summer

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Connie Yingling,
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Leslie Troy,
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BALTIMORE (July 2, 2015) – With farmers markets and festivals galore featuring local products, July offers up multiple opportunities for summertime visitors and residents alike to support local businesses and get a true taste of authentic Maryland cuisine.

“Buying local is a maxim that resonates not only with Maryland residents, but also with visitors to the state,” said Liz Fitzsimmons, executive director, Maryland Office of Tourism. “By sampling the best our state has to offer—from breweries and wineries to farmers’ produce and locally-sourced seafood, travelers are able to have an authentic Maryland experience.”

Those looking to support Maryland farmers can take part in the state’s annual Buy Local Challenge, scheduled for July 18-26. Individuals, restaurants, stores, businesses and even hospitals can pledge to buy, eat or showcase at least one locally farm-grown food each day during the challenge week and share their progress through social media, using the hashtag #BuyLocalChallenge. The Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission established the Challenge eight years ago to promote healthy eating and support the local economy.

The Maryland Office of Tourism makes it easy to find local farm-to-table restaurants throughout the state which support area farmers while providing diners with meals made from fresh, in-season ingredients. The list includes Gertrude’s Chesapeake cuisine in Baltimore and the Elkridge Furnace Inn’s garden-grown organic vegetables.

Visitors and residents can locate nearby farmers markets throughout the week at Maryland Farmers Market Information and Maryland’s Best Agriculture.

Below you’ll find a few events and opportunities to “Buy Local” this month in Maryland:

Western Maryland

Enjoy a week of family fun at the Washington County Ag Expo and Fair July 17-25, featuring exhibitions of local produce and animals, carnival rides, musical entertainment, bull riding, truck and tractor pulls, a demolition derby and much more. 

Visit the 2015 Allegany County Fair July 18-25 for local agriculture and animals, exhibits, rides, fireworks and musical performances. 

Dine at the Moonshadow Cafe in Accident. The menu features fresh and organic produce, salad greens, berries, mushrooms, meats and eggs from nearby farms, including Savage River Farm, and local cheeses from neighboring Firefly Farms Creamery.

On Wednesdays and Saturdays, don’t miss the Mountain Fresh Farmers Market in Oakland for produce, fresh baked goods and crafts. On Thursdays, visit the Farmers Market at the Downtown Cumberland Mall to enjoy healthy, locally-produced food, flowers and goods. Every Friday, the Mountain Fresh Farmers Market at City Place in Frostburg serves up fresh, local veggies and fruits. On Saturdays, check out the Farmers Market at Canal Place.

Capital Region

Enjoy the ultimate boat and brew experience on July 11. River & Trail Outfitters has partnered with Barley and Hops Grill & Microbrewery in Frederick to create a relaxing guided 5.8 mile kayak or canoe tour along the mellow Monocacy River, the second largest tributary of the Potomac with a few moderate lively ledges and riffles. The cruise caps off at Barley and Hops Grill & Microbrewery with a tour and tasting. 

On July 25 at Jefferson’s Fox Haven Organic Farm, Eat the Farm - An Artisanal Tasting Event! allows participants to experience the fresh tastes of seasonal local ingredients in a beautiful farm setting. Guests can enjoy overnight accommodations in the restored farmhouse or bring a tent and camp under the stars.

Celebrate Montgomery County’s rich agricultural heritage, local farms and seasonally fresh food during the 26th Annual Farm Tour and Harvest July 25-26. The entire family can explore local farms and purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, plants and other local products, as well as other fun and educational activities.
Savor the sweet life at a Sweetgreen eatery in Bethesda, Silver Spring or College Park for delicious food sourced from local farmers. 
Celebrate the land and the American family farmer at Founding Farmers, a Certified Green Restaurant™, which has been featured on the Food Network. It offers a rich history of American cooking traditions incorporating products from Montgomery County farms, with seasonal menu changes to showcase local produce. 

In the heart of Frederick’s nationally-renowned historic district, the award-wining Volt showcases celebrity-chef Bryan Voltaggio’s delicious seasonal take on the farm-to-table concept. 

Central Maryland 

Peruse the work of 100 local and regional artists on July 5 as you stroll Annapolis’ First Sunday Arts Festival. Local restaurants set up outdoor cafes that are perfect for people watching and a leisurely afternoon bite. While you’re there, visit Preserve, opened in April by owners Jeremy and Michelle Hoffman, who are committed to using sustainable, local products.

From July 17-18, be part of Artscape in Baltimore, America's largest annual free arts festival with exhibits of sculpture, photography, and live performances of all types. The 2015 “Dive In!” theme encourages projects that literally or conceptually use water as a creative element across nearly every creative genre. 

Sway to the sounds of the islands at the Reggae Wine, Music and Art Festival at family-operated Linganore Winecellars on July 18-19. Sample 19 wines, take a winery tour and shop for art, crafts and great food. 

Kick off Howard County’s Farm2Table Restaurant Week with the 6th Annual Howard County Film “Feastival” at Clark's Elioak Farm on July 21. The event features area restaurants providing samples of the food made from locally grown produce, which they will be featuring during the upcoming week. A mini farmers market, music and an outdoor movie are all part of the “feastivities.”

Check out the Blackberry Bash Harvest Party at Milburn Orchards in Elkton July 25-26. With homemade, hand-cranked ice cream demonstrations, pedal tractor pull competition and a pie eating contest, the festival features many kid-friendly activities that the whole family can enjoy. 

Visit Maryland’s largest producers-only market in Baltimore on Sundays. You’ll find a variety of produce, meats, and dairy, along with food vendors selling burritos, smoothies, crepes and more. The bazaar also features original artwork, handmade furniture, vintage clothing, among other unique treasures.

Discover the farms, farmers and delicious food that showcase Prince George’s County’s agricultural roots and farming future. Whether you want to shop at farmers markets, pick your own produce, explore urban farmers inside the beltway, or learn about colonial farms, you’ll find a destination here

Discover the Carroll County Farmers Market on Saturdays in Westminster, the second oldest farmers market in Maryland. Nearly 100 vendors offer home-grown fruits, vegetables and fresh flowers, beautiful locally and handmade gifts and demonstrations such as basketry, jewelry, sewing tips and cooking tips.

Located in historic downtown Havre de Grace, award-winning Laurrapin offers contemporary American cuisine that celebrates the true flavor of the seasonal bounty of Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay region. Have a memorable meal at a restaurant that holds true to its name laurrapin, meaning over-the-top in delectable flavor, seasoning, and texture. 

Support local agriculture and respect the abundance and traditions of the region at Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood. A pioneer of the “locavore” movement, it even has an in-house, whole-animal butchery program that services Woodberry and its sister restaurants: Artifact Coffee and the new Parts & Labor, which also has a butcher shop. 

Herb & Soul in Baltimore is a unique farm-to-table restaurant honoring the rich taste of authentic soul food prepared with fresh, organic, locally raised proteins and vegetables. With two locations and a stall at the Baltimore Farmers Market on Sunday mornings, you have plenty of opportunity to enjoy the restaurant’s quality food.

At The Manor Tavern in Monkton, explore the traditional American-inspired cuisine highlighting area growers and purveyors, as well as gardens located on the property that produce a bounty of vegetables throughout the a year. The tavern also features unique craft beers and a vast selection of fine wines and spirits, coffees and teas sourced from artisan producers.

Southern Maryland

Enjoy seafood specialties, ribs, and barbecue from local restaurants while you enjoy the unique live-jazz experience of the Potomac Jazz & Seafood Festival on the lawn of St. Clement's Island Museum on July 11. Plan to tour the museum and take a complimentary cruise around St. Clement's Island State Park to learn more about Maryland’s earliest history and Potomac River heritage.

On July 18, visit the Coastal Arts Market, located at the award-winning Port of Leonardtown Winery on the grounds of the Port of Leonardtown Public Park. Enjoy products from local makers and growers, as well as handmade, affordable art from local and regional artisans, including painting, ceramics, glass, jewelry, wood, quilts and other delights. 

July 31 kicks off the three-day Southern Maryland Brew & BBQ Music Festival, packed with live music, games, unique vendors, fantastic food and a delicious craft beer and wine garden in Historic Leonardtown. Don’t miss the 2015 Maryland State Championship, a nationally sanctioned Kansas City Barbecue Society BBQ cook-off competition that has been featured on the Food Network. 

On Saturdays in July, head for the Sotterley Plantation to shop local at Sotterley Farmers Market. Purchase the best quality home-grown vegetables, fruit, and plants, as well as unique, hand-crafted items. After buying tasty local produce, stay and take advantage of the site’s beauty, nature trails, and history. 

Chesapeake’s Bounty store in St. Leonard buys products from local farms and sells them at farm direct prices. Open year-round, you can always find quality local produce, meats, seafood, dairy products, baked goods, and plants. Find other Calvert County farms, restaurants that serve locally-sourced dishes, roadside stands and more here

Build stronger communities and a healthier planet when you visit and purchase homemade, home-grown, locally raised products from Southern Maryland artisans, farms, farmstands, wineries, and agritourism destinations. Find downloadable guides here.

Visit Zekiah Farms, located in historic Bryantown, with the environmentally rich Zekiah Swamp running through it. The 300-acre farm provides a memorable livestock-farm experience and wetland tours. 

Eastern Shore

Feast on all-you-can-eat Maryland blue crabs, then embark on a three-hour cruise on the Chesapeake with drinks and dancing at Crabplace.com’s Crab & Cruise in historic Crisfield. Back on land at the adjacent Tiki Bar, the party continues for night owls with live entertainment. The events take place on July 11 and July 25.

On July 11, taste and vote for top crab dishes by local restaurant chefs in four categories during the 11th Annual Taste of Cambridge Crab Cook-Off, a downtown street festival honoring the Chesapeake's seafood heritage.

Don’t miss the J. Millard Tawes Clam Bake in Crisfield on July 15. The annual celebration, named in honor of Crisfield native and 54th Governor of Maryland, is an outdoor all-you-can-eat affair featuring crabs, clams, fish, corn on the cob, and watermelon. 

From July 16-18, farm queens, blue ribbons, animal auctions, and children play an important role in the annual Kent County Fair. Learn about the values of farming and quality agricultural work in an entertaining fashion, including tractor pull, 4-H exhibits, contests, rides, livestock auction, music, pet show and delicious food.

Enjoy a day of Cecil County and Maryland wines, tastings, foods from local eateries, crafters, artists, live jazz and swing music, and beautiful views of the Northeast River at the 2015 Cecil County Food & Wine Festival on July 18.

The charming Easton Market Square offers farm fresh produce and flowers, artisan breads, sweets and pastries (some gluten-free), award-winning craft-roasted coffees, local artisan cheeses and gourmet meals-to-go, making this year-round public market a small town gourmet experience to remember. 

Caroline County’s 400-acre Adkins Arboretum boasts a Native Plant Nursery that offers the area’s largest selection of ornamental native plants for the Chesapeake Bay gardener. Plan to walk the grounds to experience native plants in natural settings, ecological restoration projects and cultivated gardens. 

Stop in at Hemingway’s Restaurant to indulge in Kent Island’s largest variety of fresh fish and seafood. Every day as much seafood as possible is procured from local artisanal farmers and purveyors, as well as local watermen, in an effort to support sustainable "clean fish" to ensure there will plenty for the future.

In Pocomoke, enjoy the Shore’s only cow-to-cone homemade ice cream while visiting the herd that produces the milk for all of Chesapeake Bay Farms’ fresh dairy products. You can also purchase a wide variety of artisan cheeses, fresh milk, butter and eggs, and local grass-fed beef and pork, seafood, jams, jellies and honey, homemade rustic bread and fruit pies, and more. Be sure to stop by its Berlin retail store as well. 

The Shark on the Harbor in Ocean City prints its menu twice daily to serve the freshest catches of the day, even telling you which boat your meal is from. Featuring organic produce from local farmers and seafood from the commercial fishing harbor right outside the restaurant, the Shark provides healthy, nutritious meals based on what’s fresh, available and delicious. 

Don’t miss Salisbury’s Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, and immerse yourself in The Art of Sporting and Playing, an exhibit celebrating the local traditions, locations, and communities that make up the Delmarva Peninsula. From pony penning to fox hunting, and carousel rides to muskrat skinning, explore the art and artifacts that represent the region’s rich traditions of sport and play.

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 $15.4 billion on travel-related expenses in 2013. During 2013, the Maryland tourism industry also generated $2.1 billion in state and local taxes, and provided 138,682 jobs for Maryland residents.