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Category: farmers markets

Finding Suitable Land Through Maryland FarmLINK

Finding Suitable Land Through Maryland FarmLINK

In late 2016, Benny and Courtney Pino started a quest to move their farm operation, Loblolly Farm, closer to the markets of the Washington D.C. region. They opened a map and narrowed their search to any suitable farm site within a few hours of Washington D.C. From their home in Southern Florida, they pulled up Google on their laptop, where FarmLINK websites from across the country popped-up. In the Washington D.C. region, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland all had FarmLINK websites which…

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Farmers Market vendors – an opportunity to grow your customers

Farmers Market vendors – an opportunity to grow your customers

By: Cia Morey and Priscilla Wentworth, SMADC Farmers market season kicks into full gear soon in Maryland. Over the past few years farmers markets have increased the ability to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Not only does this allow low-income participants the opportunity of adding fresh local fruits and vegetables to their diet, it allows farmers to increase their customer base too. SNAP redemption generated $18.8 million in Fiscal Year 2014 – “a nearly six-fold increase since 2008.”…

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Feeding the Foodshed

Feeding the Foodshed

It’s August and it’s hot, and this year in particular there has been a lot of rain. Yet many of our local farmers, from vegetable and fruit producers to meat and dairy farms, are working hard to bring enough to market. Last week was National Farmers Market week, and Maryland farmers showed up to share the fruits of their labor with the locals. And locals showed up to purchase it! The bounty, spread out in vast array this time of…

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Where is a Farmers’ Market that accepts WIC and Senior checks? There’s an App for That!

Where is a Farmers’ Market that accepts WIC and Senior checks? There’s an App for That!

By Cia Morey, Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission On St. Patrick’s Day last month, I attended Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Annual Maryland Farmers’ Market Conference. This all-day conference had numerous speakers and several presentations that covered everything from weighing scale certification, various resources for farmers and markets, information on permits for food safety, marketing presentations and at the end of the day vendor training and certification for accepting WIC at farmers’ market. The Conference began with a warm welcome from…

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Does a passion for growing food mean a life of poverty? Response to a NYTimes op-ed

Does a passion for growing food mean a life of poverty? Response to a NYTimes op-ed

The new and beginning farmers of today do not pursue the career to get rich. Most are drawn by the chance to work outside, to be their own bosses and to grow food to sell. A recent New York Times Letter to the Editor by Bren Smith entitled “Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up to be Farmers” (Sunday Review, Aug. 9) states that the “much-celebrated small-scale farmer isn’t making a living.” The letter disturbed me so much that I put it…

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START Farmers’ Network visits Sassafras Creek Farm!

START Farmers’ Network visits Sassafras Creek Farm!

Soon after we gathered, Jennifer and David Paulk explained their unlikely transition into farming. Since David was career U.S. Navy, they have lived all over the country. However, gardening has always been a hobby that both enjoyed. His last assignment brought the couple to Southern Maryland and they purchased a house with a 1-acre field to enjoy their hobby. Approaching retirement, David said that his work inside the beltway was particularly stressful and he realized that when he would get…

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START Farmers’ Network visits Monnett Farms!

START Farmers’ Network visits Monnett Farms!

When Benson and Jamie Tiralla moved onto Benson’s family farm in 2007, the land had laid idle for a decade and a half.  Like most farms in the region, Monnett Farms had been a tobacco farm, though some livestock had been raised as well. Monnett Farms was in need of a new farming strategy. Both Benson and Jamie were working off the farm at the time. However, they began raising some livestock as a hobby and to supply their family’s…

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2012 Ag Census – measuring the local food movement

2012 Ag Census – measuring the local food movement

As mentioned previously in this blog, both the National Restaurant Association and the National Grocers Association have identified the desire for local food as one of the strongest consumer trends. How is Maryland doing? The short answer is that we are making progress. One of the questions in the Ag Census asks farmers to report the Value of agricultural products sold directly to individuals for human consumption (referred to in this post as ‘direct sales’). The 2012 USDA Ag Census for Maryland…

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Put a cherry on it!

Put a cherry on it!

Vacationing here near Lake Michigan, it is easy to eat local. Grocery stores sell milk from local farms (grass fed and antibiotic free). Bread is locally sourced, some of it from organic grain farms. There are lots of greens in the local stores and farmers markets. Practically every restaurant we have visited has featured locally sourced foods. I have not seen a national chain grocery store or restaurant. This region near Traverse City Michigan has a signature crop – cherries!…

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For farm sales, no web page is like . . .no phone!

For farm sales, no web page is like . . .no phone!

Those who know Ginger Myers know that she is engaging and knowledgeable, but no nonsense. At the Producer’s Digital Toolbox class in Prince Frederick on April 15th, she noted that farmers who sell a product directly to consumers really need a website, and that “if you don’t have a webpage, it is like you don’t have a phone.” She said that you can have all the social media you want, but it works best if it directs consumers to your…

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