Farmer’s Markets have never been as popular as they are today. Chestertown Farmer’s Market, located in Fountain Park in the center of Chestertown, Maryland boasts it is the longest continuously running Farmer’s Market in the state. And what a market it is.
At the Chestertown Farmer’s Market one can find every imaginable farm product from organically raised beef, chickens and lamb to fresh locally produced cheeses. Produce abounds in season, both traditionally and organically grown.
Tomatoes are always in season including newer varieties next to stands offering heirloom varieties and colors including yellow, striped and black. One grower specializes in hydroponic tomatoes, another in hydroponic lettuces so the market is never without fresh tomatoes or fresh lettuce no matter what the season.
Unlike many farmers’ markets that operate from May through September, Chestertown begins the first Saturday in April and runs up until the last weekend before Christmas.
When asked if it gets pretty cold in December, market manager Owen McCoy replied,
Yes it does, but the customers come out and the farmer’s know how to dress to keep warm.” McCoy market manger for almost thirty years adds, “Not everyone is here in December, there isn’t much produce, but those selling breads, pies and wreaths do a pretty good business”.
Much of the market’s success is attributed to McCoy’s firm hand, assuring only locally grown and in season produce is offered for sale. The Chestertown Farmer’s Market Facebook page was in a twitter earlier this spring, as one fan posted a derogatory comment, accusing a farmer of cheating and selling bananas. Everyone had a good laugh when it was discovered the farmer in question was selling small yellow zucchini that resembled bananas.
Currently the market is home to three bakers each offering something different. The Lapp
Family sells traditional sliced bread, rolls, pies and cakes. Magnolia Breads offers flatbreads in several varieties along with Maryland Beaten Biscuits. Doug’s Artesian Breads provide French croissants, baguettes and more. It’s not unusual to see a shopper leave with three loaves of bread, one from each baker, in their market basket.
Early spring sees a wealth of herb plants and as the summer progresses the stands sell fresh cut herbs. In the fall long time herb vendor Helen Merenda sells herb and everlasting wreaths.
Moon Flower Soaps is a favorite of locals and visitors specializing in hand crafted soaps made with herbs and flowers. A favorite among the kids is their Chesapeake Bay Soap embedded with a tiny plastic crab in the center of the translucent bar of soap.
The Chestertown Farmer’s Market is a visually beautiful market with flowers everywhere one looks. From early spring flowering bulbs through summer and the potted fall mums the market flowers through the seasons.
The Chestertown Farmer’s Market is more of an event than a shopping experience, a feast for all the senses. Come check it out for yourself. www.chestertown.com
Saturday’s from April through December 8a.m. until 12:00 noon.