Seeking some delicious Sunday fun? From 8 am until noon each Sunday morning, May through November, a cluster of colorful tents magically appear on the Annapolis waterfront steps away from the downtown Annapolis Waterfront Hotel. Curious tourists and savvy locals are drawn to the site of the Annapolis Freshfarms Farmers Market, a collection of some of the region’s finest producers of fruits, vegetables, herbs, meats, poultry, dairy, wine, potted herb gardens and all-natural beauty products made by a woman named Angela whose complexion is an “ad” for her products.
Travel writers like Rick Steves recommend “getting to know the locals” – and this Sunday morning event is the ideal place to do so. Wandering from stall to stall, I met two young men discussing the wonders of the sausages sold by Springfield Farm – where family members also sell fresh eggs, duck breasts and superb lamb and beef. Under another tent, I chatted with Annapolitans Mollie and Steve Flounlacker, he tending to baby Ella while Mollie browsed among the organic beauty aids at the Belles Acres stand and bought a coffee-based eye cream to help with the circles she had earned as a sleep-deprived new mother.
A show-stopper display of fresh raspberries, now in high season, attracted admirers at the next stall, where Annapolitan Susan Noyc sold gorgeous fruits and amazing fruit jams (one sample of the raspberry makes a sale) from AgriBerry, a family farm that participates in a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. Next up was a photo-op display of vibrant greens and vegetables so fresh they seemed just out-of-the-ground from Mock’s Greenhouse & Farm. Paul Mock Sr. was on hand to talk about the pesticide-free and hydroponic produce that make his produce special – even explaining how he manages to grow hard-to-fine organic ginger.
Another farmer proudly displayed picture-perfect baby eggplants, bunches of pearl-like green onions, and a rainbow of cherry tomatoes in colors of red, gold and purple. Alongside these beauties was a group of misshapen tomatoes, their “ugly” appearance belying the fact that their flavor is “beautiful.”
Nearby, a whole lot of sipping was going on at the Knob Hill Winery stall, a Maryland venture that has won numerous awards since starting to bottle at its Clear Spring location in 2010. With names like “Jealous Mistress, Embrace, Gold digger and Sweet Revenge” there was ample room for merriment, but tasting is always fun.
Next to the wine station, Sara Colhoun, a ninth generation member of an Edgewater family farm and apiary, was eager to talk about bees and flowers. Her booth was pretty – lots of cut stems and miniature herb gardens in pots to take home. This is the first year her family’s farm, Ivy Brand, has participated in the downtown Annapolis market.
But the biggest buzz was happening at Old World Breads, an artisan bakery that makes handcrafted, all-natural products made without preservatives or enhancers. We marveled at the muffins, croissants, fruit pies and a selection of breads that ranged from basic baguettes to olive, orange cardamom and cranberry walnut loaves. Blueberry scones were going fast as were bread pudding muffins and rosemary focaccia. A jolly gentleman and his young helper greeted regular customers by name.
Many folks stopped at Zeke’s Coffee stand as they strolled around the market, with some adjourning to benches along the harbor to enjoy their bakery buys. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has declared July 21 as “Buy Local Challenge Week,” asking Marylanders to eat at least one local product each day of the week. The Annapolis Freshfarm Farmers Market is a great place to get a head start. On a related note, the Governor is kicking off Buy Local Challenge week with the Governor's Annual Buy Local Cookout. Find details here.
OTHER ANNAPOLIS FARMERS MARKETS
- Pennsylvanian Dutch Farmers Market at the Annapolis Harbor Center, 2472 Solomons Island Road, is a full-scale market selling a huge variety of products – meats, poultry, vegetables, cheeses, candy, baked goods and prepared foods. Staffed by the Amish providers themselves, the market is an example of their exemplary lifestyle and a unique experience for visitors to Annapolis and the local that crowd the aisles and often have lunch in its restaurant. Open Thurs and Fri 9-6 pm, Sat 8:30 am-3 pm.
- Anne Arundel County Farmers Market, intersection of Riva Road and Harry S. Truman Parkway, Parole section of Annapolis, has a broad selection of locally grown or made products. Open 7 am-2 pm Sat and 10am-2 pm, Sundays May-Dec.