Bumper crop of produce sales calls to Carroll residents

Farmers market season opens across the county

  • Westminster organic farmer Greg Thorne is surrounded by his pepper and tomato plants he sells at the Westminster Farmer's Market, which opened for the season May 28.
Westminster organic farmer Greg Thorne is surrounded by his… (Photo by Phil Grout, Patuxent…)
May 31, 2011|By Katie Jones

Despite the fact that it was raining lightly, Margie Satterlee set out for the Mount Airy Farmers Market.

Satterlee has sold her fresh produce at the market since its start five years ago. A little rain wasn't going to stop her from attending the market's opening day on May 18.

"Rain or shine, once you got the stuff picked, you have to show up," Satterlee said of her collection of onions, strawberries, tomatoes, asparagus and more. "It takes a few weeks once we do open for people to really pour in."

While it wasn't crowded, a steady stream of families did attend the market. Sweet Angela's Cupcakery, a new addition to the market, sold out all four varieties of its cupcakes before the market closed for the day.

"I just thought it would be a great way to promote my business," said Angela Packan, owner of Sweet Angela's, of joining the market. "It's been awesome."

Throughout Carroll County, farmers markets are opening for a new season. Offering everything from fresh produce to live entertainment, bags of wool, local honey and more, the markets — there are now six weekly markets throughout Carroll, as well as a monthly market in Sykesville — are popular for not only their goods, but also for the community spirit they bring to local towns.

"It's been extremely positive. People look forward to it," said Sharon Callahan, coordinator of Hampstead's Farmers Market, which operates on Saturday mornings. "People needed a reason to come to Hampstead's Main Street. The farmers market gives people a good reason."

While last year was technically the first year of the market, it was much smaller and in a different location, Callahan said. Now located on Main Street at Hampstead Volunteer Fire Department, the market has a small market house, a local restaurant serving breakfast, a hot dog cart and lots of support.

"People come for breakfast and stay. They come to Market Street, and it helps them realize other businesses," Callahan said. "The mayor and Town Council … are very excited and very supportive."

Like Hampstead, Taneytown's farmers market is "new" — though it has come and gone throughout the years. It has an official new location on Route 140 in Memorial Park that offers plenty of room for people, vendors and parking, according to LaVerne Sokolowski, manager.

"We are hoping to draw a lot of attention," Sokolowski said. "We've established a permanent location and market. It won't be here and there.

"It's not a new market. It's a new look, a makeover."

The market offers produce, eggs, herbs and a variety of different things throughout the season, Sokolowski said.

"Local people have volunteered to come and entertain us," Sokolowski said. "It gives everybody exposure. We're hoping people learn a little bit about Taneytown."

Westminster's popular Saturday farmers market opened its season May 28 and will run through the weekend before Thanksgiving. A second market is operating in Westminster this year on Tuesday nights at the Westminster Antique Mall.

"The reason we started another one was to get one midweek so people can get fresh, local things midweek," said Jackie Coldsmith, manager of both markets. "I think it will have a totally different clientele stopping."

About 19 vendors will participate in Saturday's market, Coldsmith said.

Greg Thorne has been a long time participant of the Saturday market, selling vegetables as well as yarn, bags of wool and eggs.

"We have a core group of people that come every week, even it is pouring rain, they still come," Thorne said with pride.

Tuesday's market will be smaller, Coldsmith said, with about six vendors.

"The Saturday market is very popular. A lot of people come for the social aspect. They see friends in the community," Coldsmith said. "I don't think the Tuesday one will have that. It will be more a grab and go. It will be … simple. Hopefully, it will build."

In addition to those two markets, Westminster also has the weekly farmers market at the Carroll County Ag Center, which often carries a theme tied to holidays; and usually includes craft vendors, plant sales and more.

The Mount Airy Market was started on Wednesdays so as not to compete with the many Saturday markets, according to Dick Swanson, farmers market manager. Averaging about 10 vendors a week, the market features produce, roasted coffee, baked goods, flowers, herbs and more, as well as live entertainment.

"During the season, people know we're here," Swanson said. "We have familiar faces and some new ones."

Sara Ward and her two young sons visited the market for the first time on its opening day. Both her sons had their hands full of baked goodies.

"They actually made out like bandits," Ward laughed. "I got more candy than produce."

Carroll County Farmers Markets

Antique Mall Farmers Market — Corner of Route 27 and Hahn Road, Westminster. Tuesdays, 3:30-6:30 p.m., June 7-Nov. 19.

Carroll County Farmers Market — Smith Avenue at the Carroll County Ag Center, Westminster. Saturdays, 8 a.m.-2 p.m., now through Dec. 17.

Downtown Westminster Farmers Market — Conaway Parking Lot — corner of Railroad Avenue (Route 27) and Emerald Hill Lane, Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon, now through Nov. 19.

Hampstead Farmers Market — 1341 N. Main St., at the Hampstead Volunteer Fire Department. Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon, now through Oct. 29.

Mount Airy Farmers Market — 3 N. Main St., Mount Airy, at the Town Municipal parking lot. Wednesdays, 3:30-6:30 p.m., now through Sept. 30.

Taneytown Farmers Market — Memorial Park, on Route 140, Taneytown. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon, June 4-Sept. 3.

Sykesville Apple Butter Market — South Branch Park at Main Street, Sykesville. Last Sunday of each month, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., June to October.

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