Buying locally produced food is becoming increasingly popular in Annapolis, Anne Arundel County and beyond. More farmers markets have sprouted up in recent years to accommodate demand for fresh fruits, vegetables and other goodies.
The produce helps keep money spent of foodstuffs in the local economy. Products are not shipped cross-country and they are picked when ripe or nearly so, and many swear the food just tastes better.
An effort to start and maintain community supported agriculture operations has been partially successful. Some startups, especially by Anne Arundel County growers, have met with challenges. No CSAs are currently operating in the county according to a list available from the Maryland Department of Agriculture.
But some keep going, supplied by farm operations outside the county.
A Cook’s Cafe owner Craig Sewell has led the charge for local foods for several years. and he has provided two methods of buying local.
One is a year-round market basket program where customers can order fresh, locally raised fruits, vegetables, meats and poultry online and pick them up at the store.
The other is a 25 week CSA working with organic One Straw Farm in White Hall in Baltimore County, which provides a mix of eight to 10 products a week. Unlike many CSA operations that deliver pre-sorted packages of food to a pick-up point or two, One Straw Farm delivers in bulk to A Cook’s Cafe in Annapolis and Sewell lays it out on tables for shareholders to pick — or swap if they don’t care for a particular product.
Aside from your own backyard garden, for most folks the best way to partake of locally produced food is to hit a farmers markets. Here’s a list of the 2014 markets in Anne Arundel County. Many — but not all — markets accept WIC and senior FMNP checks.
- Anne Arundel County Farmers Market, Riva Road and Harry S Truman Parkway. Open 7 a.m. to noon Saturdays, April 5 to Dec. 20, and 7 a.m. to noon Tuesdays, May 27 through Sept. 30. Contact: Brenda Conti, 410-349-0317.
- Deale Farmers Market, Cedar Grove United Methodist Church parking lot, 5965 Deale-Churchton Road. Open 3 to 6 p.m. Thursdays, July 30 through Oct. 30. Contact: Gail Wilkerson, 410-867-4993.
- Department of Natural Resources Farmers Market, parking lot of DNR headquarters building, 580 Taylor Ave., Annapolis. Open 3 to 6 p.m. Thursdays, June 6 through Sept. 5. Contact: Lisa Barge, 410-222-7410.
- Piney Orchard Farmers Market, Piney Orchard Community Center parking lot, Stream Valley Drive off Route 170, Odenton. Open 2 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays, June 4 through Oct. 27. Open noon to 4 p.m. from Nov. 5 through Nov. 27. Contact: Bill Morris, 410-867-9162.
- Severna Park Farmers Market, Ritchie Highway and Jones Station Road, open 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays, April 26 to Oct. 25. Contact: Anita Robertson, 410-827-9192.
- Westfield Annapolis mall Farmers Market, corner of Bestgate Road and Generals Highway. Open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays, April 6 through Nov. 23. (A winter market operates on the first and third Sunday of the month from January to April.) Contact: Brenda Conti, 410-349-0317.
- Maryland Department of Natural Resources parking lot off Taylor Avenue. Open Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., June 5 through Sept. 6.
- Anne Arundel Medical Center Farmers Market, at the Southport Eatery in the Medical Center South the Annapolis campus, 2001 Medical Parkway. Open 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays, June 6 to Sept. 26. Contact: Charlotte Wallace, 443-534-4515 or cwallace@AAHS.org.
- Annapolis FRESHFARM Market, Donner Parking Lot on Compromise Street in downtown Annapolis. Open 8:30 a.m. to noon Sundays, May 6 to Nov. 18. Note: Will not be open during the boat shows in October. Contact: Bernadine Prince, 1-202-362-8889.
The dates and hours of the farmers markets vary from year to year.