Visit farmers market
This week is National Farmers Market Week. It follows closely on the heels of the Buy Local Challenge, which asked residents to pledge to eat at least one item from a local farm every day for a week. What better place to find that food than the local farmers market?
“Farmers Market Week is a great opportunity for Marylanders to get a taste of fresh, nutritious food grown right here in the state,” said Gov. Larry Hogan said a statement. “Buying local is a great way to support our state’s agriculture industry and promote sustainability. I encourage all Marylanders to celebrate this week with a visit to their local farmers market.”
According to the Maryland Department of Agriculture, there is a growing demand for local produce at both the state and national level. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Farmers Market Directory started with 1,755 listings in 1994, MDA officials said. That has reportedly grown to 8,500 listings nationwide.
The MDA lists 147 farmers markets in the state. Each county has at least one.
Queen Anne’s County boasts two farmers markets, where local residents can find fresh produce on a regular basis:
• Kent Island Farmers Market, on the grounds of and sometimes inside Christ Church, 830 Romancoke Road in Stevensville, runs Thursdays 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. year round.
• Centreville Farmers Market, Commerce Street and Lawyers Row, Centreville, is open 2 to 6 p.m. Wednedays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, April to October.
The MDA is asking patrons to promote Maryland’s farmers markets by sharing photos on social media using the hash tags# Farmers Market Week, #MarketFav and #MDsBest.
“With growing demand for fresh, local products, Maryland farmers offer a variety of fresh produce at farmers markets across the state,” said MDA Secretary Joe Bartenfelder in a statement. “These markets are an important source of income for our farm families, and provide an important link between the state’s urban and rural communities. Buying directly from the farmer gives consumers an opportunity to learn more about farming and develop trust in the integrity and accountability of our growers.”
The Farmers Market Coalition, in promoting National Farmers Market Week, offers interesting statistics about the positive benefits of local farmers markets. According to the FMC, the USDA reports that produce prices at farmers markets are lower, on average, than at grocery stores. The FMC states that proximity to farmers markets is associated with lower body mass indexes.
Another blind study citation on the FMC website states that shoppers have more than three times the number of social interactions at farmers markets than they do in grocery stores. Shopping at the farmers market is a social outing, as people mingle with friends and neighbors while picking out the perfect watermelon, bouquet of flowers, baked goods or bottle of locally produced wine.
“As farmers markets continue to grow across America, they’re also becoming critical community assets and public spaces that bring families from all backgrounds together to socialize, purchase healthy, affordable food and support their local farmer,” said FMC Executive Director Jenn Cheek in a statement.
If the farmers market is not part of your regular weekly activities, it should be. There is much to see, sample and take home.