Weekend markets are the best opportunity to buy local produce, meat, and cheese directly from the best sources. This weekend, head to the markets for high summer produce shopping season. Almost everything imaginable is on offer!This week, try some summer favorites with seasonal vegetables, like Caponata with eggplant, Latkes with zucchini and carrot, or Tabbouleh with greens and cucumbers. It’s a bit of a project, but consider making a small Carrot Cake featuring young summer carrots – you won’t regret having such a treat!
Shopping for weekly produce is directly beneficial to small farmers and local vendors, many of whom in turn support local farmers. I like shopping at markets because my dollars directly contribute to the local economy and I can support farms that I want to succeed. Markets also teach me what is in season, allow for shopping around to learn what items are priced in certain ways and expose me to new fruit and vegetable varieties that farmers are trying out. A trip to the market is a culinary inspiration!
On Saturday, the 32nd Street Farmer’s Market and Fells Point Farmer’s Market offer a great selection of prepared food vendors and many farmers to provide a full week’s worth of shopping. The Fells Point Farmer’s Market, open 7:30 am – 12:30 pm May through November, is near the Fells Point waterfront and makes for a nice morning trip! Some of my favorite vendors:
- Hope Ridge Farm: Beautiful organic veggies, interesting varieties, and good starter plants and herbs in the spring.
- Ekiben; Steamed buns not to be missed for breakfast, brunch, or an early lunch – the local boys at Ekiben make very creative food and can still be found where they got started, at Fells Point Farmer’s Market.
- Hillside Meadow: A stunning, delicious variety of sustainable vegetables, beef, chicken, and eggs.
- Cheese Galore and More: a shop based in the much beleaguered Cross Street Market, the owners also supply a market stand on Saturday mornings at Fells Point. They are one of the best cheesemongers in the city, and also occasionally purchase and age cheeses to perfection in their own cellar like classic French shopkeepers.
- Crow Vineyard: offers a good selection of locally grown wines.
- Rare Opportunity Farm: Tasty biscuits and baked goods! Rare Opportunity Farm also recently opened a cafe with an expanded menu in their hometown of Westminster, MD.
- Talmar Gardens: seasonal flowers, arrangements, and potted arrangements. Talmar also has a farmer training program for veterans and is doing some good work.
The Baltimore Farmer’s Market, on Sundays from 7:00 am – 12:00 pm April through December, is Baltimore’s largest. There are almost two blocks of vendors selling meals, meats, craft goods, soap, spirits, fruit, vegetables, flowers, and dairy – it can be overwhelming, but there are many great local goods to choose from! Some of my favorite vendors include:
- Two Boots Farm is a small farm in Hampstead, MD growing flowers (pictured here!), mushrooms, beautiful and tasty organic veggies, and interesting other foods like edible flowers, sprouts, and microgreens. We bought our wedding flowers from Two Boots – I do try to buy locally whenever possible!
- Rastafarmi is another small farm based in Baltimore County, also growing unique organic vegetables and herbs.
- Dooby’s makes Korean inspired food (often sourced from local farmers) and brews great coffee. Skip the line for Zeke’s coffee and pick up a morning market cuppa here! Dooby’s is also conveniently located next to:
- Pie Time, a stand offering sweet and savory pies made with seasonal, local fruits, vegetables, and meats! Everything here is delicious, and there are many different flavor and dietary options to choose from. These pies are great as a morning market breakfast and also hold up well for takeaway weeknight meals or large pies for a get-together.
- The Mushroom Stand is fairly self-explanatory – they sell a wider variety of mushrooms at higher quality and more reasonable prices than you can buy at any big grocery. Can’t argue with that!
- Hawk’s Hill Creamery sells ice cream, but I like buying their cheddars and raw milk cheeses, which are delicious. The farm has also recently opened Falling Branch Brewery, a farm brewery that grows hops and other minor ingredients on the same property as the creamery. For a time they poured growlers of their beer at the market as well. I’ve been meaning to visit their tasting room for some time to try their range of Belgian and German style beers!
- Black Rock Orchard sells a variety of sustainable fruits ranging from deliciously reliable apples and peaches to plums, pears, currants, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries. Whatever local fruit you’re looking for, they’ve got you covered.