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Baltimore County Farmers Market opens June 1 at fairgrounds

The annual Baltimore County Farmers Market will kick off its 2016 season June 1 at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.
The annual Baltimore County Farmers Market will kick off its 2016 season June 1 at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. (File photo courtesy Baltimore County)

The recent heavy rains haven't stopped the Baltimore County Farmers Market from opening for a seventh year on June 1 at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, bringing freshly picked foods straight to local shoppers.

During the first week of June, shoppers can expect to see at the market such in-season crops as strawberries, asparagus, spinach, lettuce and spring onions, according to the fairgrounds' website. Vendors this year include Albright Farms, Inc.; Harford Vineyard & Winery; Hills Forest Fruit Farm; One Straw Farm LLC; Prigel's Family Creamery; Quite A Stir; Warns Produce and White House Nursery.

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The market is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays through Oct. 26.

Warmly referred to as the "Market Master," Bill Langlotz has worked for the Maryland State Fair for more than 50 years. He said the idea for a farmer's market came from visitors looking to buy produce displayed at the fair. As the Baltimore County Farmers Market Manager, Langlotz works with farmers and state fair officials to put together the market each summer on the fairgrounds.

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The market has undergone several improvements, Langlotz said. The location is now next to the state fair entrance and across the street from a busy Starbucks. Also, instead of waiting for the fair to open in the afternoon, as it has in previous years, people can now buy their produce starting at 10 a.m.

"The business of the market has greatly improved," Langlotz said.

This year will mark the first that Harford Vineyard and Winery, of Forest Hill, will participate in the market, said part-owner Teresa Mooney. A representative will bring a sampling of the winery's offerings, including semi-dry white wines and dry reds.

"Sweet wines are very popular in the summer," Mooney added.

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Albright Farms, in Monkton, has been involved with the farmers market since the beginning, said co-owner Tom Albright. At first, the farm sold more produce, such as tomatoes and strawberries. Now, visitors can find fresh beef, chicken and turkey among the farm's offerings.

"There's been a movement to buying everything at the farmers market, not just produce," Albright said.

Joan Norman, the part owner of One Straw Farm, in White Hall, also has noticed a trend toward expanding the market's wares.

"I think more and more people are concerned about where their food is coming from," Norman said. "They like meeting the people who are actually growing it."

The market is centered on the relationship between the farmer and the buyer, Norman said, adding that most of the available produce is picked the evening before the market opens. Anyone looking through their vegetables can ask a question on the spot, she said, adding that the transaction involves no middle man.

"It's convenient, it's fresher and it might taste better," Norman said.

More parents are bringing their children to the market to meet the farmers and learn more about fresh food, Langlotz said. Local schools, such as Pinewood Elementary School, in Timonium, organize field trips to the farmers market, where kids practice buying their own vegetables, he said.

"The kids seem to get a kick out of the market," Langlotz added.

Vendors at the market accept payments through the Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), WIC Fruit & Vegetable and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), according to the fairground website.

For more information on the market call 410-207-2165 or visit www.marylandstatefair.com/fairgrounds/farmers-market

Baltimore Sun Media Group reporter Rachael Pacella contributed to this story.

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