If you live in Maryland and are looking for a farmer's market to stock your fridge and pantry with local, sustainable groceries, there are several choices
. Just in the capital, there is one in the Nordstrom parking lot in the Westfield Mall every other Sunday, one on the corner of Riva Road and Harry S. Truman Parkway every Saturday, and one downtown every Sunday. My favorite is the one in the heart of downtown Annapolis on the corner of Compromise and Randall streets. It started up just last summer. This market is open every Sunday morning until noon, and parking is free until 10 a.m. They have everything you would expect from a farmer's market -- fresh fruit, veggies, preserves, etc. They also have some vendors that are rather unique. My goal for the summer is to buy fresh, local food every weekend, and eat it all! (I have a bad habit of buying an entire head of lettuce, and only making a single salad out of it.) There is such a variety that I think this is a very doable goal. I challenge you to join me!
One of my favorites is a vendor who sells bison meat from just north of Baltimore. Local, sustainable meat is not easy to come across without dishing out lots of extra money or traveling for hours. Gunpowder Bison
does not add any hormones or additives to the feed of their livestock, and their staff is very helpful about how to cook it. (Really ... how often do you get to eat bison?) I highly suggest at least buying some burgers and trying them. Bison tastes just like beef; it is not "gamey" as deer tends to be. At just over $2/burger, what do you have to lose?
Another popular vendor is a pasta maker from Richmond. I have not caught the man’s name yet, but the same sweet Italian guy is there every weekend with his coolers. Cavanna Pasta
uses local ingredients to make several types of delicious noodles and sauces. So far, my favorite is the pesto and gorgonzola gnocchi, but their alfredo sauce is a close second.
There is also a bakery from West Virginia who has fresh bread, as well as some delicious muffins and cookies. I always buy a muffin for breakfast while I walk around the market and a loaf of bread to last me through the week. In addition to the ones I mention, there is a cheese vendor
, a mushroom vendor and a fresh flower vendor. (Danielle from MNN does a great job of showing how to use those flowers
to make a beautiful bouquet!)
I do not mean to skip over the orchards and other vendors — they are all fantastic with helpful staff, and so far, I have enjoyed everything I have purchased. I will be returning every Sunday morning, and hope to see you there, too!
Photo: Dan Smith