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Local Choices: Supporting Sustainability

Even when the Farmer’s Markets are closed, there are many local food options that support community and enviroment.

I have a friend who posted on Facebook a picture of a chicken foot allegedly found in some take-out Chinese food in a far-flung area of the country.  She
noted, “This is why I only eat organic!”

First of all, chicken feet are a common snack in China.  Secondly, how did
she know it wasn’t an organic chicken?

Her whole attitude bothered me. So many of people see the term “organic” and assume it means better, when in reality that is often not simply the case.  Sometimes buying locally produced food can be a more important decision for your family, your community and the environment.

Most of us know that organic foods are a good choice because most pesticides, synthetic hormones, and other potentially hazardous practices are not used, according to the FDA.  We don’t want those things in our environment, and we certainly don’t want to feed them to our families. 

And yet, organic isn’t always realistic. It can be expensive. But have you also considered that but most of the time the food must be shipped long distances before it reaches your supermarket? According to OurEarth.org, food travels an average of 1,200 miles before it reaches your dinner plate and the implications of that can be immense. Locally produced food saves energy and prevents emissions from going into the air.

Plus it supports your community.

We are lucky these days that as consumers, we have a wide range of choices. Remember when you went to the grocery store and there was one kind of lettuce available? Two if it was a fancy store? 

But the range of choices can be overwhelming. 

If you’re trying to support local businesses and you are concerned about sustainability, good places to start shopping are your local farmers markets.  You can find lists of them at the Maryland Department of Agriculture website. 

But what about times like now, during the winter, when the markets are closed?

Think seasonally. 

The more “in season” your produce and vegetables are, the more likely they didn’t travel as far. Seek out local sources of meat and dairy – and talk to the folks that run them. They will help point you towards other local sources as well.

There are a number of sources for local food that are open year-round, and many of them also meet organic requirements or are raising their animals naturally and/or “Certified Humane.”  

Here are some of them. Check out their websites or give them a call before you stop by as hours and days vary, while some only offer delivery:

Clark's Never Sell the Land Farm
10500 Clarksville Pike, Ellicott City  21042
http://www.clarklandfarm.com

Against The Wind Ranch, Inc.
24235 Burnt Hill Road, Clarksburg  20871
http://www.againstthewindranch.com

DK Farms
79 Hidden Meadow Lane, Swanton  21561
(301) 245-4545
Evermore Farm
150 Rockland Road, Westminster  21158
http://www.evermorefarm.com

Ferguson Family Farm
3443 Beckleyville Road, Parkton  21120
http://www.fergusonfamilyfarm.com

Fox Hollow Farm
21804 Woodfield Road, Gaithersburg  20882
http://foxhollowfarm.org

Good Fork Foods
7981 Eastern Avenue, #216, Silver Spring   20910
http://www.kolfoods.com/goodforkfoods

Hedgeapple Farm
3735 Buckeystown Pike, PO Box 237, Buckeystown  21717
http://www.hedgeapplefarm.com

Jackstraw Farm
3038 Green Road, White Hall 21161
http://www.jackstrawfarm.com

Jehovah-Jireh Farm
7033 Ed Sears Road, Dickerson 20842
http://www.jehovahjirehfarm.com

Lovell Cattle Company
232 South Springdale Road, New Windsor  21776
http://www.lovellcattlecompany.com

Mary's Delight Farm
17429 Harbaugh Valley Road, Sabillasville 21780
http://www.marysdelight.com

Mountain Valley Acres
2216 Rohrersville Road, Knoxville 21758
(301) 432-5841

Nick's Organic Farm
8565 Horseshoe Lane, Potomac MD 20854
(301) 983-2167 (main office)
2733 Buckeystown Pike, Adamstown 21710
(301) 874-4854

Open Book Farm
10430 Rum Springs Road, Myersville 21773
http://www.openbookfarm.com.

Ruth Ann's Garden Style Beef
11051 Renner Road, Woodsboro 21798
(301) 898-7006

South Mountain Creamery
8305 Bolivar Road, Middletown 21769
http://http://www.southmountaincreamery.com

Wagon Wheel Ranch
661 West Watersville Road, Mt. Airy 21771
http://www.wagonwheelranch.org

Whitmore Farm
10720 Dern Road, Emmitsburg 21727
http://www.whitmorefarm.com

Know of any others?  Let us know!

Margie Jacobs February 04, 2012 at 12:33 PM
There's always Waverly Market which is open year round on Saturdays. There are quite a variety of vendors and they are always busy. The only time they would close would be if there was a blizzard. Right near the market is a great place for breakfast -- Pete's.

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