Francis Myles, a Harwood farmer, once packed up his produce and drove to Washington on Saturdays, offering his vegetables and flowers to the folks at RFK Stadium and Capitol Hill.
There simply wasn't enough space for his produce stand in Anne Arundel County. But no more. On Saturday, the county unveiled a new pavilion near Annapolis, doubling the size of the farmers' market from 22 to 44 stalls.
"I am very delighted," Mr. Myles said. "I am doing pretty good. I'm looking forward to this being a big market."
"Give up Washington," Del. Marsha G. Perry, D-Crofton, told him. "We don't need you going all the way to Washington. If [Washington Redskins owner] Jack Kent Cooke can move to Virginia, you can move back to Anne Arundel County, where you belong."
Mr. Myles and other farmers who gathered at the corner of Riva Road and Harry S Truman Parkway said they enjoyed the larger market, which seemed to draw more people who spent more money. The Farmers Market Board, which regulates the market with county oversight, fought for the new pavilion for several years.
Of the 565 farmers in Anne Arundel, 59 have applied to the county to rent space in the market, at $85 a year.
"Well folks, it's happened," announced Peter Perry, a part-time farmer from Harwood and chairman of the market board. "We have our extension. I remember standing here three years ago in the heat and saying what we need. And there were a bunch of politicians, and they said they would give it to us."
One of the main reasons the second pavilion could be built was its price. Although original estimates exceeded $120,000, the pavilion cost only $38,000, which county officials attribute to a poor economy.
And the building was finished just in time. At 6 p.m. Friday, the roof still wasn't built. "I came here around supper time, and I had a lapse in faith because this place didn't have a roof," said County Executive Robert R. Neall.
But everying was ready by 8 a.m. Saturday, when people hungry for everything from corn to squash to kale flocked to the market, which also offered assortments of flowers, fresh bread and jam.
"I have always come down to select Maryland produce," said Nancy Travis, of Annapolis. "I didn't know it had expanded until I came down and had to fight the traffic."