- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The 2012 Maryland Farmers’ Market Directory listing locations and hours of each of the state’s markets is now available through the Maryland Department of Agriculture website. This year, some 138 markets will be open with at least one in every county and Baltimore. Farmers market locations, hours, and producer/vendor and product listings are also available on the Maryland’s Best website at www.marylandsbest.net.
“At farmers’ markets across the state, customers can purchase a wide variety of locally-grown and -produced products including fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, plants, eggs, meats, baked goods and cheeses,” Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance said in an Agriculture Department news release. “Customers can enjoy some of the freshest and best tasting local products, and in turn will directly support our family farmers, our environment, economy, and the health of our families. Every dollar spent on local agricultural products contributes to the economic health of the community, keeps our land in farming, and helps to support a smart, green and growing future for Maryland agriculture.”
Farmers markets provide an important source of income for farmers and also provide the community with a meeting place where residents can catch up with one another while purchasing farm-fresh, nutritious, local products. Customers have the opportunity to ask farmers how their products are grown or produced, how to prepare fresh produce and how to incorporate local products into their home-cooked meals, gardens, and landscaping.
Farmers markets have become increasingly popular. In 1991, there were only 20 markets; there were 88 in 2008; 120 last year; and 128 this year. In its 2009 Policy Choices survey, the University of Baltimore Schaefer Center for Public Policy found that 77 percent of Marylanders want to buy produce that is identified as having been grown by a Maryland farmer.
About 400 farmers will participate in the farmers market nutrition program initiative, which provides an additional source of income to farmers. More than $450,000 in checks will be available for eligible women, infants and children through the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s local WIC offices and seniors through the Maryland Department of Aging’s local senior centers to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, cut herbs and honey (for seniors only) at authorized farmers markets from June to November for the 2012 season.
For information on the Farmers Market Nutrition Program, call 410-841-5770.