(ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND) – It may be winter, but don’t think that Maryland farmer’s markets are closed until spring. Our state’s farmers remain committed to providing consumers with fresh goods and produce year-round.
Aside from the delicious goodies you can find, winter farmer’s markets also serve as a huge community-building opportunity — they help to establish relationships between you and your local farmers. “People across the state can enjoy the fact that many farmer’s markets are open during the cold weather months,” says Juliet Glass, external relations director at the Maryland Farmers Market Association. “So, when the spring harvest comes, the customer base is already there.”
Marylanders have become increasingly interested in local food production, and visiting a winter farmer’s market allows you the opportunity to learn just how your food is grown. With dozens of products and many different types of operations — from conventional to organic, large-scale to micro, heirloom to hybrid — you can talk to the farmers and employees firsthand and even get the skinny on what’s coming up in the spring.
Maryland boasts over a dozen farmer’s markets that are open for business during the colder months. While you may not find rows of bright local berries or watermelons, there are still plenty of options that will leave your taste buds craving more.
“The Mid-Atlantic region climate allows farmers who use greenhouses, high tunnels and hoop houses to extend the growing season,” says Juliet. “So at winter farmer’s markets alongside the likes of apples, pears, winter squash, potatoes and other root vegetables, you can find cold-kissed winter greens like kale, spinach and lettuces, as well as year-round crops like mushrooms and microgreens.”
Here are some winter farmer’s market tips:
- Confirm schedules. Before heading out, check the market’s Facebook page or website to ensure they are open for business. With winter comes inclement weather that may prevent vendors from setting up shop. Don’t hesitate to call if you’re not sure.
- Dress appropriately. While some markets may offer indoor space, others are likely to be outdoors. Check the temperature before you leave, and layer your clothing as needed. Comfortable walking shoes are also a must for any season!
- Embrace what’s available. Visit your local market with an open mind. Be experimental with seasonal cooking and get to know your root vegetables and squash a little better. Maryland’s Best offers a bunch of tried and true recipes that call for fresh seasonal products.
Farmer’s markets are a place where you can find fresh produce and local goods during all seasons. They are also a fun place for people to gather and be a part of their community, something there seems to be a greater need for during the colder winter months.