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Now Available: 2012 Maryland Farmers' Market Directory
The 2012 Maryland Farmers’ Market Directory listing locations and hours of each of the state’s markets is now available through the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) website.This year, some 138 markets will be open with at least one in every county and Baltimore City. Many of the farmers’ markets in the state are already open and offering produce and plants such as salad greens, spinach, asparagus, strawberries, blueberries, and bedding plants.Farmers’ market locations, hours, and producer/vendor and product listings are also available on the Maryland’s Best website at www.marylandsbest.net
“At farmers’ markets across the state, customers can purchase a wide variety of locally-grown and -produced products including fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, plants, eggs, meats, baked goods and cheeses,” said Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance. “Customers can enjoy some of the freshest and best tasting local products, and in turn will directly support our family farmers, our environment, economy, and the health of our families. Every dollar spent on local agricultural products contributes to the economic health of the community, keeps our land in farming, and helps to support a smart, green and growing future for Maryland agriculture.”
Farmers’ markets provide an important source of income for farmers and also provide the community with a meeting place where residents can catch up with each other while purchasing farm-fresh, nutritious, local products. Customers have the opportunity to ask farmers how their products are grown or produced, how to prepare fresh produce and how to incorporate local products into their home-cooked meals, gardens, and landscaping.
Farmers’ markets have become increasingly popular as interest in purchasing fresh, local food and connecting directly with farmers who grow the food has risen. In 1991, there were only 20 markets; there were 88 in 2008; 120 last year and 128 this year. In its 2009 Policy Choices Survey, the University of Baltimore Schaefer Center for Public Policy found that 77 percent of Marylanders want to buy produce that is identified as having been grown by a Maryland farmer.
About 400 farmers will participate in the farmers’ market nutrition program (FMNP) initiative which provides an additional source of income to farmers. More than $450,000 in checks will be available for eligible women, infants, children (WIC – FMNP) through the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s local WIC offices and seniors (SFMNP) through the Maryland Department of Aging’s local senior centers to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, cut herbs and honey (for seniors only) at authorized farmers’ markets from June through November for the 2012 season. The program is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is administered by MDA in partnership with the Maryland Departments of Aging and Health and Mental Hygiene.
For the 2012 season a Memorandum of Understanding is in place with the Washington, DC FMNP. This means that farmers authorized in the Maryland FMNP program can accept their Maryland checks at DC farmers markets and farmers authorized in the DC FMNP program can accept their DC checks in authorized farmers markets in Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties. The Maryland FMNP season has also been extended through November this year to encompass the Thanksgiving holiday.
To view the 2012 Farmers’ Market Directory and information on the Farmers Market Nutrition Program, see: www.mda.state.md.us/md_products/farmers_market_dir.php. The 2012 Maryland Farmers’ Market Directory print version is now available from MDA’s Marketing Division at 50 Harry S. Truman Parkway in Annapolis, 410-841-5770.
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