Let’s be honest, there’s only one legitimate reason to wake up before the sun on a weekend. Throughout the warmer months, on those sacred mornings meant for sleeping in, we somehow can’t resist the urge to roll out of bed early in hopes of scoring some gourmet goodies at our neighborhood farmers’ markets.
“People love making it a part of their routine,” says Merritt Dworkin, who has been organizing the Fells Point Farmers’ Market since 2011. “We try to keep it lively so that it becomes like an outdoor living room.”
The weekly waterfront fete is among the many local markets preparing to return for the season. Dworkin, a longtime event planner and Fells Point local, was inspired to premiere the community gathering after learning that the numbers engraved in the cobblestone on South Broadway were originally used to designate stalls for farmers’ market vendors in the 1700s: “We wanted to bring history back,” she says.
Though the Saturday-morning soiree will still feature its signature produce, fresh-brewed Zeke’s Coffee, and made-from-scratch crafts from local artists, this year it will be moving to a new location due to the current construction in Broadway Square.
“I started this market from nothing and built it up,” Dworkin says. “I wasn’t going to just say, ‘Bye, we’re done.’”
This season, the event will set up shop in the parking lot at 950 S. Caroline Street on the border of Fells Point and the brand-new Harbor Point project spearheaded by Beatty Development Group. The festival kicks off on May 6, and runs Saturdays through November from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Aside from its close proximity to the market’s former site, Dworkin says that the temporary lot is ideal because of its high visibility, ample parking, and easy access via water taxi. She connected with Beatty through her work in the neighborhood, and the company was enthusiastic about being able to activate their new outdoor space.
“All of our projects are focused on making a more connected community,” says Chris Seiler, Beatty Development’s director of communications. “This was an easy, neighborly thing for us to do.”
While checking out the new location, be sure to swing by veteran vendors including Atwaters, Ekiben, Charm City Meadworks and One Straw Farm. The producers-only market will also highlight yoga classes, live music, and new items including desserts from PieTime Baltimore, house-made bagels and spreads from Bottoms Up Bagels, and refreshing treats from Charm City Pops.
“My motto has always been, ‘If you don’t make it or grow it, you can’t sell it or show it,’” Dworkin says. “People come and grab a bite from Ekiben, they have a waffle, get a cup of coffee, and just hang out for an hour or two. And they love it. That’s what’s important to us.”
Mark your calendar for Fells Point and all of the other markets making their return this season:
The Shops at Kenilworth might be in the midst of a multi-million dollar renovation (noticeable changes thus far include contemporary fixtures, updated floors, and a modernized main entrance with domed ceilings), but its annual Tuesday-afternoon farmers’ market will still be in full effect this season. Featuring local eggs, meats, cheeses, and produce, the market has all of the makings of a wholesome feast. Be sure to swing by the stalls of returning purveyors like Glenville Hollow Farms, Kite Hill Farm, One Straw Farm, Atwater’s, and Calvert’s Gift Farm to collect everything from arugula and spinach to sausages and sheep’s milk soaps.
Fresh finds: Aside from their crisp apples, the team from Three Springs Fruit Farm in Southern Pennsylvania brings a bevy of scratch-made pantry products such as ginger apple juice and pear-vanilla jam. Also, be on the lookout for Bees by the Bay—an Essex-based maker that highlights its signature honey straws in flavors like orange blossom, grape, cherry, and blueberry. 800 Kenilworth Drive, Towson, Tuesdays through November 3:30-6:30 p.m.
This summer spectacle under the JFX has some special festivities planned in celebration of its 40th anniversary this year. Of course, more than 100 vendors will be on hand for grazing, but the event is also debuting unique attractions (think cooking tutorials, barbecue contests, oyster shucking demonstrations, and story time for kids) on the first Sunday of every month. In between perusing produce and mingling with makers, indulge in bites from the likes of Migue’s Magnificent Mini Donuts, Dooby’s, and Blacksauce Kitchen.
Fresh finds: Though the boys behind Ekiben are hardly farmers’ market newbies, they will be setting up shop under the JFX for the first time this season. Other new noshes on display will include veggies from Bacarella Farms, sweet treats from La Bohemia Bakery, pita wraps from Greek on the Street, and produce from Reisterstown’s Rastafarmi, and spirits from Baltimore Whiskey Company. Underneath the Jones Falls Expressway between Holliday and Saratoga streets, Sundays through December from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Ditch the brown bag and get some fresh air during lunch at this Thursday-afternoon market downtown. Downtown Partnership is bringing back its annual pop-up event that transforms Pratt and Light Plaza into an oasis of eats including baked goods, fruits and veggies, pressed juices, and prepared foods. Get your fix of fresh produce while sampling eats from Dundalk Dan’s Awesome Beef Jerkey, Dizzy Cow Pizza, and Neopol Smokery.
Fresh finds: The bazaar is also a one-stop shop for sweets if you’re looking to treat yourself. You can’t go wrong with ice cream sandwiches from Cream Cruiser and Anandi Chocolate, or fresh-baked fruit pies from Mechelle’s Baking Company. 100 Light St., Thursdays through October from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Every Saturday throughout October, the parking lot at the Wine Bin on Main Street in Ellicott City is taken over by this vibrant gathering which features live music, family-friendly events, and, of course, a wide array of handmade goods. Grab your totes and stock up for the week with fruits, artisan breads, jams, farm-fresh eggs, and seasonal nuts, while hanging out in one of the area’s most tight-knit hoods.
Fresh finds: In addition to sampling barbecue bites and gluten-free goodies, quell sweet tooth cravings with Lisa’s Love, a new stall that sells cookies and handmade candies. 8390 Main St., Ste. 1, Ellicott City, Saturdays through October, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Regulars frequently flock to this Frederick Road fête to get to know growers while sampling snacks and enjoying local music. The smell of made-to-order Belgian waffles from Baltimore Waffle Company permeates throughout the site, which also hosts vendors like Big Bean Theory, Deception Salsa, and The Breadery.
Fresh finds: Foodies travel far and wide to snag a jar of Phil’s Dills Gourmet Pickles. Head to the Catonsville market to taste the fermented favorites, which come in flavors such as Old Bay, ghost pepper, and fire garlic. 730 Frederick Road, Catonsville, Saturdays through November 10 a.m.- 1:30 p.m.
A stroll around this open-air festival—which features a killer view of the Domino Sugars sign towering over the sparkling harbor—is an ideal way to kick start the weekend. Head to the Baltimore Museum of Industry’s waterfront pavilion to catch live music performances, rotating artists, and activities for little ones. The festival will also be home to this summer’s B’Eat More Pie Fest contest, which will add a plethora of pies to the market’s offerings on May 27.
Fresh finds: Make a Saturday-morning ritual of collecting bright flowers, local salsas and kimchis, and meats from area farms. 1415 Key Highway, Saturdays through November, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
The Harford Road lot that houses this weekly community event has a new backdrop this year. The site’s hand-painted wall mural, which was a spectacle featured in Light City’s Neighborhood Lights program, now illuminates under multi-colored bulbs. See the installation for yourself while canvassing crops from urban farms, learning tips from gardening experts, and sampling sips from The Brewer’s Art and Louthan Distilling. Other not-to-miss highlights range from performances by Bmore Hoop Love to pop-up puppy adoptions by Mutt Mart.
Fresh finds: Just in time for spring, grab a jar of honey from Lauraville’s Argonne Apiary. The market is also introducing two wineries this year, spotlighting varieties from Dejon Vineyard in Glen Arm and Great Shoales Winery in Silver Spring. 4500 Harford Road, Tuesdays through September from 4-8 p.m.
On the lush Rawling’s Conservatory lawn, gather with friends and neighbors to shop for local produce, jam to live music, and partake in special events like free yoga classes. In keeping with the market’s mission to prevent food insecurity, organizers showcase the products of local farms including strawberries, cherries and apricots from Dively’s Fruit Farm in Pennsylvania; asparagus, peas, spinach and Bak Choi from Stoecker Farms in Middle River; and squash, tomatoes, herbs, and flowers from The Green Garden in Hamilton. To cool you down from the summer heat, the lineup also highlights Italian ice from Just Ice Frozen Desserts and pressed juices from Indigo Love Potions.
Fresh finds: Edible products aside (think classic crab cakes and roasted turkey), the market also features some stellar artisans including Charm City Soaps and Zakiyyah Jewelry. 3100 Swann Drive, Wednesdays through September 3:30-7:30
Like clockwork on Thursdays throughout the season, the Towson Chamber of Commerce rings a bell at 10:45 a.m. that signals its vendors to begin selling their gourmet goods. A few new producers have been added this year, including Northern Maryland-based Lohr’s Orchard and Towson Spices—which peddles its all-natural hot sauces.
Fresh finds: Although there are plenty of new items to discover, don’t forget to peruse old favorites including Angelina’s Crab Cakes, sauces from Baltimore Barbecue Company, fresh-baked breads from Cunningham’s Cafe, and signature sips from Boordy Vineyards. Allegheny Ave., Towson, Thursdays through October from 10:45 a.m.-3 p.m.
This fan-favorite Saturday morning get-together in Waverly is one of the few markets that operates year-round, but it always welcomes a few new faces just in time for the spring season. Aside from requisite stops to Well Crafted Pizza and Hex Ferments, be sure to seek out new items including worldly dishes from B’more Tasteful, and mushrooms grown on the Eastern Shore from King Mushroom Farm.
Fresh finds: Treat Fido to a scrumptious supper from Pet Wants—an all-natural dog and cat food producer based in Annapolis that will be on-site this season. The event will also introduce Strength to Love II, a Sandtown-Winchester-based urban farm, which touts its homegrown peppers, beets, kale, radishes, and mustard greens. Corner of E. 32nd and Barclay Streets, Saturday mornings year-round from 7a.m.-12 p.m.