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Market Envy

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Yes, I admit it. I envy those who live in Olney for the size and selection at their community market. Don’t get me wrong, I love our markets but they don’t have that festive community atmosphere that Olney has.

This market is only in its sixth year. It is a farmers and artists market, and also has food vendors. On opening day, they had special events and it was pretty crowded.

Yesterday when we went, they had a special display for kids, a bug petting zoo. Right next to the Master Gardeners who are committed to be there each week.

We started with Zeke’s Coffee and an omelet burrito, made while we watched the early attendees fill the area.

Some of the same farms frequent this market, like Falcon Ridge, who sold me rhubarb Friday in Columbia at the hospital market. Only here, they had a huge presence, with dwarf fruit trees and lots of plants.

Atwater’s was there, so I don’t have to drive to Catonsville to get artisanal breads. A loaf of rosemary Italian came home with us.

This market was the brainchild of one woman, who pitched it to the community. It took hold and grows every year. It would be wonderful to have something like this here in Howard County, like at Symphony Woods. I would volunteer to help. Why can’t we “Choose Community” and do something better than five small scattered markets?

I already posted that I was concerned at Glenwood, that South Mountain is no longer coming. Neither is Woodcamp. Thankfully, TLV stepped up to bring meats to Glenwood. Breezy Willow will be there in June, but Saturday, there was only one farmer selling spring produce at Glenwood. That is sad. There were three last summer.

It looks like I will be getting my meats by going directly to TLV and getting other things I need at Olney. It is closer to me in West County than most of the Columbia markets and Ellicott City, and equidistant to get to the hospital market. I don’t want to abandon Howard County, but if we don’t step up what we do as a county, will we lose to markets like Olney?

Should we add artisanal foods and art? That is a sticky subject, but brings in customers. Is purity more important than profit? I don’t know that answer. I just feel that our farmers are being shortchanged, and good vendors are going where the communities support them with bigger draws.

Am I off base?


About AnnieRie

Retired, I am following my dream of living in quiet west Howard County, a rural oasis, not far from the urban chaos, but just far enough. I love to cook, bake, garden, and travel. I volunteer at Howard County Conservancy. I lead nature hikes, manage programs and show children all the wonders of nature, and the agricultural connection to their food.

7 responses »

  1. That looks amazing….Second Sunday is small but has a similar vibe. Think i’ll be in Olney for this market sooner than planned!

  2. Pingback: Getting Ready for a Hectic Holiday Weekend « AnnieRie Unplugged

  3. Ooh. That market looks like it may be worth the wife and I venturing out of DC for a trip one of these days.

    • It is a great market. Not year round like some of the DC markets, but a bit more reasonably priced. Love the food vendors, too. I believe the market is full at 50 vendors.

      Like your blog, by the way.


  4. What I like about the Howard County Markets is that the farms are producing their own products. They are not from a wholesaler, when you purchase items from them you know where in Maryland, Virginia or Pennsylvania the items are coming from. Other markets are not producer only markets.

    What would be great is if we could support the farmers in getting Howard County to allow tastings to happen at the markets thus getting more vendors at the markets.

    • So true about resellers. Many markets and produce stands have fruit with the tags on them saying other areas, like Mexico. I try to avoid resellers at markets who allow them, even if it means paying more for the locally produced seasonal items.

      I didn’t know about the tasting. Is that a change? I remember South Mountain giving samples of their yogurt drink, and tasting the biscotti at the hospital market. I also recall Bowling Green offering samples somewhere, maybe not at the markets. Is it a county regulation?

      • The tasting license is approved by the state but each county has to approve for the county. This would be great for the farms to use to hit home how wonderful fresh local produce is!!!

        Howard County Health Department restricts any sampling unless permitted at special events like wine in the woods etc. I would love to go to the markets and have my coffee, some cheese, and maybe a sausage sandwich, support the health department to push through the tasting license.


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