Take a bite out of sum­mer: buy lo­cal

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

Chow­ing down on hot corn on the cob, juicy wa­ter­melon and hot burg­ers fresh off the grill are staples of sum­mer. Th­ese de­li­cious sum­mer delecta­bles and more could be made even bet­ter by purchasing them from your own neigh­bors right here in Charles County.

Farm­ers mar­ket sea­son is in full swing now, with sev­eral mar­kets tak­ing place weekly in lo­ca­tions through­out Charles County. In July, black­ber­ries, blue­ber­ries, cher­ries, mel­ons, peaches, corn, cu­cum­bers, egg­plant and more are in sea­son.

Not only do the mar­kets give the chance to buy lo­cal, in-sea­son foods, but they also pro­vide the op­por­tu­nity to put a face to the food: the farm­ers who grew and raised what will be on your ta­ble. Not only will the pur­chases taste de­li­cious and be fresher than the gro­cery store, but you’ll pur­chase them know­ing your dol­lars are go­ing to lo­cal farm­ers and their fam­i­lies rather than a gro­cery store chain’s profits. Ac­cord­ing to the South­ern Mary­land Agri­cul­tural De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion’s Buy Lo­cal Chal­lenge web­site, if ev­ery house­hold in the state pur­chased just $12 worth of farm prod­ucts for eight weeks, over $200 mil­lion would be put back in the pock­ets of lo­cal farm­ers.

There are two farm­ers mar­kets in Charles County. The La Plata Farm­ers Mar­ket, lo­cated in the court­house park­ing lot, op­er­ates on Wed­nes­days from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Satur­days from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Wal­dorf Farm­ers Mar­ket, lo­cated at 10440 O’Don­nell Place, is open on Satur­days from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Of course there are the per­ma­nent stands that are usu­ally open ev­ery day as well up and down main road­ways, and a few are tucked away off the beaten path. And don’t for­get the var­i­ous winer­ies and brew­eries whose prod­ucts — like those of other lo­cal pro­duc­ers — can be found at var­i­ous stores around the county.

For the 10th year, the South­ern Mary­land Agri­cul­tural De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion is hold­ing the Buy Lo­cal Chal­lenge from July 22-27. Dur­ing this week, Mary­land res­i­dents can take a pledge to eat at least one thing from a Mary­land farm ev­ery day. The web­site, www.buy­lo­calchal­lenge.com, gives one the op­por­tu­nity to make the pledge and find re­sources in­clud­ing recipes and meal plans.

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