Our county boasts 335 farms with agriculture sales topping over $200 million, according to the Howard County Economic Development Authority. In Ellicott City, there are a number farms that sell fresh produce and products direct to the public.
Harbin Farms at 9944 Old Frederick Road operates a daily summer produce stand weekedays from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Clark's Produce Stand, on a seventh generation farm across from the Iron Bridge Wine Co. on Route 108, operates daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Clark's offers fresh vegetables straight from the farm grown without the use of any synthetic chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. In addition, there is fruit, 100 percent grass-fed beef, pasture raised lamb, chicken, eggs, pork and cut-your-own flowers and herbs. The farm also runs a summer community-supported agriculture (CSA) program.
The Miller Library at 9421 Frederick Road plays host to a Howard County Farmer's Market every Wednesday from 2 to 6 p.m. through Nov. 5. The producer-only market offers a variety of vendors, including Bowling Green Farm, TLV Tree Farm, Great Harvest Bread Co., Greenway Farms, Lewis Orchards, Love Dove, Penn Farm, River House Pizza Co., Stone House Bakery, Elk Run Winery and Books With a Past.
In the historic downtown area, The Ellicott City Old Town Market is a weekly Saturday event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., through Nov. 8, held in two locations — the Courtyards of Tonge Row off of Parking Lot D in front of the Little French Market Cafe and the Wine Bin parking lot. Both locations offer a variety of live music starting at 10 a.m.
The Tonge Row vendors include Orchard Breeze Farm, Pong's Orchard, Down to Earth Farm, Shepherds Manor Creamery, Rare Opportunity Farm, Little French Market Cafe, River House Pizza Co. and Thai Spices. The Wine Bin parking lot vendors are Breezy Willow Farm & CSA , Baugher's Orchard, Brooks Brand Salsa, B'more Dills, the Breadery, Harmonious Earth, Paulie's Cookin' and The Wine Bin.
Valley Haven Farms CSA, at 11696 Carroll Mill Road, offers a 20-week CSA membership, May through October, where 75 percent of the produce is grown naturally at the farm and 25 percent of the produce is sourced from local similar-minded farms.
For more information on these farms and markets, go to http://www.ellicottcityoldtownmarket.com, http://www.harbinfarmsproduce.com, www.clarklandfarm.com, www.howardcountyfarmersmarkets.com and http://www.hceda.org (use the search engine to find the farms).
Whether you buy local farm fresh produce or grow it yourself, here's a wonderful program from the University of Maryland Extension in Howard County — a series of workshops focusing on the methods and best practices for preserving your local bounty. The Grow It, Eat It, Preserve It workshops in August include, what to do with all those tomatoes (Aug. 11), preserving the perfect pickle (Aug. 18) and herbs and the art of drying (Aug. 20). Registration is $25 for the first workshop and $15 for each additional workshop. All classes are limited to 12 participants. For more information and to register, go to the http://www.extension.umd.edu and search Howard County.