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.
Featured vendors include Zeke’s Coffee, 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.”
The 2018 Fells Point market will kick off on Saturday, May 5, at 7:30 a.m. back on Broadway Square. Here is a rundown of all 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 seasonal spectacle under the JFX will feature more than 100 vendors for grazing, and, like last year, will have 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 this season. Other new noshes on display will include veggies from Bacarella Farms, sweet treats from La Bohemia Bakery, cold-pressed juices from Gundalow, 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.
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.
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 and edible flowers, indulge in more than 10 varieties of garlic with Baccarella Farm, a new stall joining the market this June.8390 Main St., Ste. 1, Ellicott City, Saturdays through October, 9 a.m. to 1 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. This year, the market is celebrating its 10th anniversary with special programs throughout the season and a commemorative poster designed and printed on the historic presses in the museum.
Fresh finds: Make a Saturday-morning ritual of collecting bright flowers, pickles, and meats from area farms. 1415 Key Highway, Saturdays through November, 9 a.m.-1 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.