Eating local is a trend that has been picking up speed across the nation. Luckily for Maryland, going from farm to table is a snap. Southern Maryland has a large community of farms and growers that produce fruit, vegetables and meats and dairy products, just a car ride away.
Late August is the time to enjoy summer’s holdovers like watermelon, sweet corn, tomatoes and Eastern peaches. As fall approaches, farms start harvesting root vegetables like beets, sweet potatoes, potatoes and onions. Fall is primetime for greens like kale, collards and a variety of lettuces. Shoppers can also buy locally produced jams, jellies and jarred pickled vegetables. Enrich your fall table with locally produced wine, craft beer, vodka and rum.
So how do residents find these fresh grown goodies? The Southern Maryland Agriculture Developmental Commission helps connect residents with farms by promoting farmers markets, agritourism and Buy Local campaigns. “SMADC always encourages consumers to explore all the delicious local foods and beverages available in the Southern Maryland region,” said Shelby Watson-Hampton, commission director.
“The farmers and producers here have so much to offer from meats, cheeses and seafood to fresh fruits and vegetables, jams, honey, wine, beer, and more.” The farms also offer various fall activities and traditions. Spider Hall Farm in Prince Frederick, Middleton’s Cedar Hill Farm in Waldorf and Knightongale Farm in Harwood offer corn mazes, pumpkin picking, hayrides and a petting zoo. Many farms offer pick-your-own programs for apples and other seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Farmers markets in the region continue through late October and early November. Visit smadc.com and marylandsbest.net to find listings of local farms, farmers markets, farm stands and products produced in the region. SMADC also produces a winter farm guide in November, filled with holiday gift ideas, Christmas tree farm listings and holiday events.
by Christa Emmer | Contributing Writer