Food activist Alice Waters famously said, “Good food should be a right, not a privilege.” When she uttered these words decades ago, farm-to-table eating was largely reserved for foodies, not for working families on the move. In recent years, though, the local food movement, paired with the “Let’s Move” campaign promoting fresh food for children in schools, increased public awareness. For its part, Maryland is home to over 120 farmers markets touting meat, produce, flowers, and honey native to local ecosystems. No stranger to the benefits of local food, Charles County farmers markets have promoted farm-to-fork delights for over 40 years and counting.
Open midweek and on weekends, LaPlata, Waldorf, and Indian Head Farmers Markets offer convenient times and locations for buying food directly from your local farmer. Asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, collards, herbs, kale, lettuce, onions, peas, radishes, spinach, and turnips are May’s flavors to savor, as shown by the market stalls brimming with prime produce. View what’s in season and market details.
Since access to good, healthy food is so important, state and local advocates keep the sourcing and prepping of native eats easily available. The Maryland Department of Agriculture produces the Maryland’s Best Guide to what’s fresh on land and sea. If the finer points of cooking scare you away from the farmers market scene, fear not. Growers will happily share recipes that highlight natural flavors, so always ask. The University of Maryland Extension Office also has simple recipes to share, including the following:
2 pounds asparagus
Dash of salt
2 tablespoons white wine or cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon flat leaf parsley
½ teaspoon chopped tarragon leaves
Salt & pepper, as needed
Dash of onion powder
Dash of garlic powder
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Trim asparagus to remove the white, fibrous ends. Cut into 2-inch pieces on the diagonal.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add asparagus and cook until the spears are bright green and just tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water until chilled.
To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, parsley, tarragon, salt pepper, onion, and garlic powders until blended.
Add oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.
Toss chilled asparagus with vinaigrette or pass it separately on the side.
Farmers markets boost family farms, nutrition, and community spirit. In this sense, good food is really “food for good.” See you at the market!
- La Plata Farmers Market is open Wednesdays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., through Nov. 30. The market is behind the Charles County Courthouse in the parking lot on the north side of Talbot Street on Wednesdays and in the parking lot on the south side of Talbot Street on Saturdays.
- Town of Indian Head Farmers Market is open Sundays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Thursdays, noon to 6 p.m. from May 10 through Nov. 24. The market is at Indian Head Village Green, 100 Walter Thomas Road.
- Waldorf Farmers Market is open Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. now through Nov. 23. The market is located at 10400 O’Donnell Place.