Rose “RJ” Caulder is either a time-management wizard or her days contain more than 24 hours.
How else does one explain how the co-owner of Breezy Willow Farm at Hopkins Spring found a way to operate a 700-member community-supported agriculture program, manage Ellicott City’s Old Town Market from May to October and, most recently, open the Breezy Willow Farm Country Market on the corner of Frederick Road and Saint John’s Lane in Ellicott City?
“I’m into a lot of things, and I don’t need to sleep a lot,” says Caulder, who is also renovating her family’s 240-year-old Woodbine farmhouse in her “spare” time.
The country store is basically an indoor farmers’ market, featuring products from farmers and producers within a 25-mile radius, says Caulder, who will sell her own produce and wares there.
“When the CSA season ends, people still have local products to sell. This will give them a place to do that,” Caulder says of the store, which is located across the street from Rita’s.
The market’s decor is reminiscent of an old-time general store with bins, open shelving and quilted wall hangings. As you browse, what doesn’t make you inhale deeply with delight will make your mouth water. There are sausages flavored with Natty Boh, pickles seasoned with Old Bay or sriracha, an array of flavored hummus, and honey-lavender ice cream, to name a few of the food offerings.
Handcrafted soaps and body lotions with names like Ewe Are Marvelous and Chocolate Bliss, and soft socks and scarves made from sheep and alpaca fibers add to the evolving mix of items for sale.
Colin Bickley, chef at EC Tasting Gallery, which is known for its enterprising pop-up dinners, appreciates Caulder’s desire to give local businesses a boost.
“To be able to support local markets is so important to the community, and it’s wonderful to have a local spot where people can do that,” says Bickley, who, with fellow chef Kevin Brothers, is selling fresh pastas made with Breezy Willow produce, like pumpkins and beets.
“The synergy there is really great,” he says.
Caulder’s husband, Ken, and adult children, Casey and Jason, all have a hand in Breezy Willow’s multiple farming outlets.
“What it boils down to is the community supports us and we support the community,” Caulder says. “We want to continue to give back.”