Monday, July 12, 2010

Howard County Farmers Markets - Early Summer Update: 2010 Peaches Will Be Small But Tasty

Even the great peaches are going to be small this year.  They're still the perfect fruit -- juicy and full of a flavor that I can't find in a supermarket aisle.

But they're small because of the drought, said the farmers at the Sunday farmers market in Columbia's Oakland Mills village center.  They're three weeks early too.  The same farmers had early apples already along with the plums and peaches that I would have expected.

Sunday's farmers market is really a place for people who want to shop.  There isn't a scene like the massive market under the JFX in Baltimore with its prepared food and semi-celebrity vendors.  But yesterday morning, Oakland Park's market had two vegetables stands, one fruit stand, plus Great Harvest Bread, a pie and sweets bakery, and a stand selling beef and pork.

I bought my first tomatoes of 2010 and bought a $6 basket of peaches.  Nothing beats a warm peach, a real peach like the ones that we may try to pick next weekend at Larriland Farm in Woodbine.  I nicked one on the ride home so I was forced to eat it right away.  Even sweeter than the first batch we had received from a friend last week.  Perfectly firm and ripe.  Absolutely worth a Sunday morning drive.

The meat was a new alternative to me at the Sunday market.  I'll check that out next time.  As I said, go to shop.  You'll get produce, bread, flowers, and more.  You'll be disappointed if you're looking for a big city farmers market scene, but quite happy if you're in the mood for a peach.

Any observations about the local produce markets -- especially the weekday farmers markets which I haven't visited?  What seems like a good buy?  What seems too expensive?

There are five markets in Howard County -- including new ones this year at St. Johns Church on Wednesdays and at Howard County General Hospital on Fridays.  Click here for a full list of the markets.  Other options include Clark's Elioak Farm in Ellicott City and the Gorman Produce Farm in Laurel.


Sarah said...

Haven't made it out there yet this year, but I love the fruit guys... we got so many apples last year...

Sheri said...

There's a new weekday farmers market in the National Business Park in Annapolis Junction: Thursdays, 11-2. It's only been open 3 weeks now, so there are very few vendors, but the Concierge office (subbed to COPT Property Mgmt) is trying to entice more vendors. I hope more vendors sign up SOON: this is an essentially captive audience who is eager to buy. There's next to nothing in AJ for lunch - just Joe's Cafe - which is very nice and always fresh - but it's fun to have an alternative!!

Megan said...

Just went to the Thursday market at East Columbia Library. I used to work down the street from the Penn Quarter Farmer's Market in DC, so I got used to a pretty big selection available. They don't have the variety at East Columbia, but it's still a decent selection, and the prices are better. I picked up beans, plums, peaches, and blackberries, and we've been snacking since. No meat there, and the only herbs I found were plants, not cut bunches.

I miss the Penn Quarter market, but I'll probably be back this Thursday. Not bad for not having to drive all the way downtown for produce. (Though I do miss the sheep's cheese...)