To experience another cultural side of Baltimore, Maryland and to escape the pack of tourists you will find at Harborplace and the National Aquarium in Baltimore, visitors should amble over to the Baltimore Farmers' Market on a Sunday morning or early afternoon. However, with some Sundays bringing in around 8,000 people, you aren't going to escape people in general! The Farmers' Market is set up underneath the end of the Jones Falls Expressway, at Holliday Street and Saratoga Street, just a few blocks from the Inner Harbor. It is open between the first Sunday in May to the last Sunday before Christmas.
The Baltimore Farmers' Market originally started in Baltimore's Market Place in 1977. Since then, it has moved to the corner of President and Pratt streets, and in 1985 it moved to its current location underneath the Jones Fall Expressway, which provides both buyers and sellers some protection from the elements.
For the past thirty-one years, the Baltimore Farmers' Market has been combining farmers, concessionaires, locals, and visitors, creating a staple of Baltimore culture. Each Sunday, local friends meet one another according to their own traditions, couples stroll around the stands, and visitors connect with a part of Baltimore life. Each year the market grows and changes a little. The 2008 year will bring over thirty-five Maryland-based producers and approximately twenty concessionaires. A few of the local favorites include Zeke's coffee, offering freshly ground, whole bean, and brewed coffee; and Beef Barron's, a stand open only at the market that offers pit beef and delicious Italian sausage.
Food lovers will revel in the market's variety of fresh and locally grown, cooked, and baked fruits, flowers, herbs, pastries, snacks, produce, crafts, artwork, and more. Chefs, of both professional and leisure pursuits, can find specialty ingredients like ginger cinnamon butter, sunflower sprouts, and wheat grass. Because viewing all of the food is sure to stir your hunger, you can choose from one of the many concession stands offering Spanish style food, Asian food, Caribbean food, Thai food, and everything traditionally American from hot dogs, to pit beef sandwiches, to gourmet snacks.
The popularity of the Baltimore Farmers' Market is stunning. A 2002 query estimated that the approximate 200,000 people who turn out each year between the hours of 8 a.m. and noon spend over $7 million in the few months that the market is open. Additional testament to the cities' love for the market is that fact that the market, surprisingly, closes not due to time constrictions but supply constrictions; sellers pack up when they are out of goods, and frequently have to tell customers to arrive earlier.
Besides the camaraderie and fresh foods, locals and visitors alike adore the Farmers' Market for the low prices. One pleased customer tallied four types of apples, two types of beans, beets, tomatoes, a small pumpkin, a rosemary tree, basil, leeks, and two types gallons of cider all for under $30!
Unlike many farmers' markets found throughout the country, the Baltimore Farmers' Market is true to its name, offering only locally produced items at reasonable, and sometimes drastically lower, prices. Customers admit feeling good about their purchases, knowing the lack of required transportation is more environmentally friendly, and knowing they have supported fellow Maryland residents. For visitors, the Baltimore Farmers' Market should not be missed.
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