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Dec11 Local Food story
Dec11 Local Food story
In Maryland, our land provides abundantly, so what better way to celebrate our heritage and home than by setting a holiday table filled with locally sourced foods? After all, just because the Pilgrims traveled thousands of miles to get here, our Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t have to.
Here are just a few regional vendors and outlets to explore.
Filling Bread Baskets
Seek out rolls and breads ranging from herb to onion, sourdough to rye—plus cookies and pastries—at bakeries such as Canela Bakery in Gaithersburg, which sells its products in-store as well as at farmers markets.
At Milburn Orchards in Elkton, whet your after-dinner appetite with dozens of pies, including apple, caramel apple, walnut, brown betty, sweet potato, pecan, coconut custard, blueberry, raspberry, or blackberry. You better order early, though, says Ilene Milburn, to ensure you get your number-one choice.
If you plan on kneading your own dough, find a local egg supplier—there are hundreds in Maryland—to guarantee the best ingredients. You’ll be amazed at the orange-yellow yolks that come from grass-fed chickens.
From Farm to Table
In November and December, farms and markets still have a bounty of winter squashes and gourds, plus late-season veggies (including turnips, beets, onions, broccoli, kale, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and potatoes) available.
Locally grown cranberries are hard to come by, but choose from more than two dozen varieties of apples commonly grown in Maryland. And pears are perfect this time of year, too. At Baugher’s Orchard in Westminster, Kay Ripley says that Bosch, Asian, and Bartlett can be purchased well into December, depending on the year’s harvest.
Select farmers markets, including Rockville, Chestertown, Howard Park Community, and Piney Orchard, are open the Saturday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving, so you’ll be able to pick up last-minute (and extremely fresh) produce just before Turkey Day.
Raise a Glass to Family
Alighting on a favorite local wine is easy now that Maryland boasts some 40 wineries. Choose a dry white or red that won’t overpower your savory meal. Each winery has a specialty, so seek out varietals or blends that will complement your menu.
Solomons Island Winery in Calvert County has an award-winning sauvignon blanc; Elk Run Vineyards in Mount Airy sells an award-winning pinot noir. Pair wines with local cheeses, such as the artisanal goat cheeses from FireFly Farms in Accident.
Find fresh-pressed cider at dozens of orchards, such as Buppert’s Doran’s Chance Farm in Marriottsville. Heat the cider on the stove, add cinnamon sticks and whole cloves, and enjoy your winter warmer fireside.
Lastly, Local Additions
Scout for chestnuts at farms across the state. Crispens’ Farms & Greenhouses in Millersville typically harvests five or six bushels, which can then be roasted and used in stuffing or pudding, or eaten plain. Other nuts, including walnuts, are available, but you’ll have to scour farm guides to find local growers. One outlet, Hardesty Haven Farm in Calvert County, lets customers pick their own walnuts.
Marylanders who live near the Chesapeake may consider oyster stuffing Thanksgiving’s crowning dish. Local oyster sellers will be at various farmers markets, fish markets, and roadside stands around the bay. Grab a bagful and set to shucking.
Finally, instead of sugar, sweeten your dishes with honey from a Free State beekeeper such as Lord Byron’s Apiary in Thurmont.
Serve up your local feast with pride, telling guests which ingredients and foods came from where, and what’s new in your recipe repertoire. Who knows? It may inspire them to start buying locally, too!
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