Support Maryland farms during Buy Local Challenge Week

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

Here are some tips from the Buy Local Challenge to help you eat locally sourced food and support Maryland farmers:

  • Add one or two farm items a day, perhaps fresh eggs at breakfast, a snack of local fruit or veggie at dinner, or a glass of local wine.
  • Visit a farmers market or a pick-your-own farm with your family and friends and create a dish together like strawberry shortcake or peach cobbler. Try a recipes for a yummy blueberry crunch dessert or strawberry pretzel parfait.
  • Take a basket of locally grown fruit to your office to share with co-workers.
  • Plan a dinner party menu around locally grown produce or perhaps a wine-tasting event featuring wine made from grapes grown in your region.
  • Dine out at local restaurants that are participating in the Buy Local Challenge – show them your support.
  • Take the kids to visit a Southern Maryland farm to see food at its source. Pick out a few new vegetables to try at a farmers market. For more ideas for family farm entertainment, food and fun visit

The Buy Local Challenge was conceived and launched in 2007 by the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC) to highlight the benefits of buying local to Maryland's economy and environment. SMADC and the Agricultural Marketing Professionals (AMPs) across Maryland worked together to bring the Buy Local Challenge to many Maryland counties. SMADC invited other states to participate in the Buy Local Challenge starting in 2010.