County directory points shoppers to farm-fresh foods


It used to be difficult for a city dweller, and even a local, to find straight-from-the-farm beef and vegetables in Carroll County - until now.

A directory of Carroll farm products is showing up in library branches and tourism offices.

The Carroll County Farm Product and Service Directory is a 56-page booklet listing 81 farms that sell meat, produce, milk, herbs, flowers, bedding plants, baked goods, Christmas trees, wool, llama fiber, straw and other items. Each farm has a number, and the numbers show up on a corresponding map of the county.

"It tells you where you can go to get what," said Anna Marie Devilbiss of Uniontown, who picked up a copy at Country Acres Salon, where she gets her hair cut by owner Kathleen Zepp.

Country Acres was one of the first places to get the directory because it was put together by the owner's son, Gabriel Zepp, agricultural marketing specialist for Carroll County.

He was hired in April 1999 to boost agricultural business in the county.

"When I first got this job, I had something like this in mind," Zepp said. "I think it's a good resource. People will still go to the grocery store, but if they want to support local farms and buy vegetables or freezer beef, they'll know where to look."

The directory also lists area farmers markets and their hours. The cover uses the same logo developed by Zepp for the farmers markets this year. It's a farm scene with the slogan "Home Grown In Carroll County" and what he hopes will become a familiar icon to tourists and consumers.

Zepp designed the directory to be used by the agricultural community, too, with a list of farm services and agriculture-related businesses in the back.

Zepp spent a year putting together the directory. The 5,000 copies started going out last week to library branches, where Zepp expects the most people will find them. He will also distribute them at the Carroll County 4-H Fair beginning July 28 and at the Maryland State Fair in August.

He sought farms through the Carroll County Farm Bureau and Maryland Cooperative Extension, which mailed surveys that he supplied. Zepp said there are bound to be farmers he missed and that they can contact him to be included when the directory is updated, perhaps in two years.

The directory was funded through the county Office of Economic Development. Its director, Jack Lyburn, is on vacation, and other staff declined to say how much the directory cost.

Devilbiss said she enjoyed reading the book and finding the same farm families that she and her husband once did business with through their trucking company before they retired.

Though she has a large garden, she said, she likes to know where she can buy other vegetables and meat to freeze or can.

Kathleen Zepp said her customers have taken about 50 copies so far. Farm families like to read them cover-to-cover, and city and town residents appreciate the information that they didn't have before, all in one volume, with a map included.

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