Governor Larry Hogan has designated August 2nd - 8thFarmers' Market Week in Maryland to coincide with National Farmers' Market Week. The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) encourages citizens to celebrate the week by visiting farmers' market and buying local products. There are more then 140 farmers' markets across the state – at least one in every county and Baltimore City. Search for one near you at www.marylandsbest.net.
"Buying local supports our family farms, our local jobs and our local economies," said Governor Hogan. "By shopping at farmers' markets, Marylanders can offer their families fresh, healthy produce while ensuring a greener, more sustainable Maryland. I hope that Marylanders will join in the celebration by visiting a market near them."
"Maryland's farmers are now offering their freshest products at farmers' markets across the state. These markets provide an important source of income for farmers as more and more consumers seek the freshness, quality, and wide selection of locally grown produce, meats, dairy, and more," said Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. "They also serve as integral links between urban, suburban and rural communities. By talking one-on-one with farmers, consumers can learn where their food comes from, how to best prepare it, and useful storage and handling tips."
More than 400 Maryland farmers also participate in the Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) for Women, Infants, Children (WIC) and Seniors. This program helps expand access for low-income Marylanders to be able to purchase fresh local produce at their local farmers' market. About a quarter of the markets also participate in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) – formerly known as food stamps. Some statistics about Maryland farmers' markets:
- Total number of MDA Recognized Farmers Markets: 143
- Number of markets with FMNP/FVC authorized farmers: 143
- Number of markets with SNAP: 46
- Year-round markets: 12
This year MDA continues its partnership with the Maryland Department of Human Resources (DHR) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to increase the use of SNAP benefits through wireless technology at market. In 2013, the program was expanded to allow certain farmers to apply for funding. Markets and farmers interested in implementing SNAP programs or being reimbursed for SNAP costs should contact Amy Crone at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible for more information.
National Farmers' Market Week follows soon after the Maryland Buy Local Challenge week (July 18-26), which Governor Hogan celebrated with a Buy Local Cookout at Government House on July 16. During the Challenge Week, Marylanders were asked to eat at least one locally grown product every day. MDA hopes that consumers will continue to eat local every day throughout farmers' market week and beyond, taking advantage of the fresh summer produce available from Maryland farmers.
For more information on farmers' markets in your area,visit www.marylandsbest.net or call 410-841-5770.