Support Maryland farms during Buy Local Challenge Week

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FarmersMarketBy Crickett Gibbons

Take advantage of Maryland's Buy Local Challenge Week, July 18-26, to get your family to eat fresh foods, try new recipes, support local farmers and restaurants, and even have fun at a festival.

Have your family pledge to eat at least one thing from a Maryland farm every day during the week, and you'll support local farmers while encouraging a more sustainable environment and enjoying fresh, nutritious food.

The Buy Local challenge encourages Maryland residents to shop at local farms, farm stands, farmers markets, wineries, grocers and markets that stock local products.

Eating out? Make a point to visit a restaurant that serves food from local farms, such as A Cook's Café, Metropolitan Kitchen and Lounge, and Preserve in Annapolis or Victoria Gastro Pub, AIDA Bistro and Wine Bar, and The King's Contrivance Restaurant in Columbia. (See our list of some Maryland restaurants that source from local farms.)

Howard County's Farm2Table Restaurant Week kicks off July 21 at Clark's Elioak Farm with the annual Howard County Film "Feastival," featuring area restaurant food samples, a mini farmers market, music and an outdoor movie. The event is 6-8:30 p.m.

Or if you want to try a new dish using fresh, local food, download 2015 Maryland Buy Local Cookout recipes, submitted by Maryland chefs who source from Maryland farmers.

You can also have fun at food and craft festivals supported by local vendors. Join Artscape in Baltimore July 17-18, considered the largest free annual arts festival in the U.S. Or take a short trip to Linganore Winecellars for the Reggae Wine, Music and Art Festival July 18-19. (Saturday is sold out.) Sample local wines, tour the winery and shop for local arts, crafts and great food.

Take the Buy Local pledge before July 18 and make a point to show your support of local products and produce.

Kids can learn more about how farms can benefit the environment, economy and personal health and well-being through games, videos, crafts and other activities in Lets Go to a Farm.

Eating food that's fresh and grown locally promotes cleaner air and water and reduces your carbon footprint. Plus, it helps local business. In Maryland, if every household purchased just $12 worth of farm products for eight weeks, more than $200 million would be put back into farmers' pockets, according to the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission.

Click "Next" below for tips to to help you eat locally sourced food.

Article updated July 2015

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