Walking through a regional farmers market is like checking an edible calendar. Bundles of glistening green asparagus signal springtime; a bounty of berries is a sign of summer; gourds of every shape and size greet autumn’s arrival; and a booming business at the mulled cider stand means the cycle is complete.
No matter what time of year, it’s a showcase of the best bites and the most superior sips from across the state.
More than 130 farmers markets have sprouted up across Maryland, giving ranchers, vintners, cheesemakers, craftspeople, farmers, foragers, and fishermen alike a chance to directly interact with a growing legion of locavores. On the flipside of the stall, community-conscious consumers now have a way to meet the producers who are helping them serve up a taste of home every day.
From the depths of the Chesapeake Bay to the heights of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the sprawling fields of southern Maryland, the Free State offers a diverse landscape to harness.
“Dairies, orchards, produce, local meats, and seafood—we have it all,” says Christine Bergmark, executive director of the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission.
“There are few states that have all those resources wrapped up into one.”
This attractive advantage cultivates A-list admirers. Chef and reality TV favorite Bryan Voltaggio, for instance, transplanted to Frederick to open haute-cuisine hot spot Volt in the summer of 2008 specifically because of the cornucopia of fresh goods cultivated nearby.
“I get stuff that’s straight out of the ground,” he says. “People show up at the back door with fresh products all the time.”
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