Last week, my wife mentioned that we should go to the North Beach Farmers Market. She reminded me again on Friday when I got home from work, which meant this was something she really wanted to do. I enjoy farmers markets, but it is hard to get me out of the garden on weekends.
Anyway, we were driving North on MD 261 at 6:30 p.m. and I noted quite a lot of
traffic going in the same direction. Once in sight of the Market, we saw that a crowd had beat us to it. Quickly we got into the flow. I was carrying a cloth sack in case we found things we wanted. Soon, that filled.
The Farmers Market is a social event. Friends meet friends and chat. Then they break off and shop until they see another friend. Antique cars line the streets, on display. Musicians use benches along the bay walk to practice their ballads. We visited with about 10 members of Calvert Eats Local at the Market, including two who were selling local grass-fed beef. Three farmers were selling strawberries. One was selling peaches. The venders take the time to explain where the food comes from.
The market is also a major business event for the vendors and businesses along the streets. Long lines formed at many of the booths. Restaurants, ice cream shops, and other stores near the Market were doing a brisk business as well. Many of the customers live some distance from the town. However, the Market has a reputation for being a fun community event and people are known to come regularly until the market closes in the fall.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been documenting the financial impact of farmers markets. Of course, farmers markets create jobs–from the labor required to grow and sell vegetables and fruits. However, in the USDA report entitled “Local Food Systems: Concepts, Impacts, and Issues“, the authors noted studies indicating that each full-time equivalent job created at farmers’ markets supported almost half of a full-time equivalent job in other sectors of the local economy. That is another reason to feel good about a trip to a local farmers market!