Our Favorite Farms & Local Food
May 1, 2021
Finding local food is not as easy as sauntering through the grocery store.
If you're anything like me, you took to the internet to find some local food sources - farms, farmers markets, delivery services, etc. But... despite many attempts at centralizing a list of local food sources on websites around the internet, much of that information is outdated, sparse, and generally not user friendly to search. (I saw a listing for a farm last updated in 2001 on one site!)
It took me years to find my local hook ups for fruit, veggies, meat, and dairy.
I feel like so may people are on the same journey as me, searching for local foods, but not knowing where to start, where to look, overcoming the obstacles of transitioning from grocery store shopping to seasonal farm fresh shopping.
...and am I the only one who had massive amounts of social anxiety I had the first time I shopped at a farmers market and stepped foot in a farm stand?!
There were a few times that I would drive past the farm stand or farmers markets willing myself to be OK with this new grocery shopping experience before I pulled into their parking lot.
One of my biggest objections I had in my head about local food was not being able to find *everything* I needed. Since I've married my mushroom man, and gotten so familiar with local food and farmers markets, I've finally amassed a list of where to get basically any food product locally.
We work with some wonderful farms, you can always check out a list of farms who offer our mushrooms by visiting our farm partners page on our website.
So, where to find local food (and other goods)
First is to go to your local farmers market! Take a look around, see what's offered, maybe go to the one in the next town over if yours doesn't have what you're looking for.
Another option is to go to a farm stand that aggregates a variety of products to sell - Flying Plow Farm in Rising Sun, MD does a really great job of this in addition to their own products. You can find a lot of local producers through them!
Here's a few examples of local producers and artisans that I personally shop with and love:
Sarah, Tom, and their team grow organic vegetables, raise pastured chickens for eggs, and raise a variety of meats (pastured chicken, grass-fed beef, and heritage pork). They also source a lot of other local foods to their online store and farmstand (including our mushrooms). My favorite is their cheese selection, and Hex Ferments kombucha. You can find them at various farmers markets around the region, and they also have a robust home delivery program, and a shop at their farm open two days per week.
Steve and Vicky are such a joy to visit on their farm, along with their dog Pepper. They are beekeepers, grow vegetables, raise pastured chickens for eggs, and also for meat. You can find them at their farm each week.
I met Brittany and Michael a few years ago when Brittany was working for Flying Plow Farm. They started their farm in Dover, PA at the end of 2020, and Gary and I are now proud CSA members, picking up our farm share of veggies and eggs every Saturday at the Downingtown Farmers Market. You can find them at a few markets in the region, as well as doing CSA drop sites throughout the region (including Maryland!). They currently also raise chickens for meat, and plan to expand their animal protein offerings in the next few years as they become established at their new farm.
Bob and Diane Miller have the most delicious cheddar and colby cheeses in the region. And lucky for us - they sell their cheese at a lot of farmers markets and through a lot of other farms (like Flying Plow!). Their crabby cheddar is our favorite for a Chesapeake take on grilled cheese with some crab meat (or lion's mane mushrooms), and their butter is so rich and creamy. I'm excited to see what other products they begin to develop now that their daughter in law, Amanda, is working full time on the farm (she's a cheesemaker!)
Paula and Tom always have the quintessential summer and fall produce you're looking for - corn, tomatoes, watermelons, cantaloupes, and beautiful cut flowers. We miss them being at the Havre de Grace Farmers Market, but it's great to know we can always stop by their farm market in Churchville to pick up those summer necessities.
You''ll never find me without a cup of ice cream from Keye's Creamery on a hot summer day at the Havre de Grace Farmers Market. My favorite flavor is mint chocolate chip, but any flavor from David, Kelly, and Meghan Keyes will do. They also have a robust selection of cheese in blocks perfect for slicing for crackers.
Tim and Frances make a breakfast staple for me - their Camembert cheese. It's perfect on top of some toasted sourdough topped with some honey, and maybe some sauteed mushrooms or cured meat if they're readily available in the fridge or pantry. In addition to this soft, brie-like cheese, they make yoghurt, and have milk as well.
Toby is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to growing anything - and ask him about the time he accidentally planted his wallet in the field! Unfortunately, it did not grow a money tree... In the spring, he has plants for your garden, and throughout the summer, honey from his bees, vegetables from his fields, and fruit from local area orchards. You'll also find some unique crops from him, including sorghum in the fall - these are great decoration, but also have many uses for feeding livestock, and for feeding humans, too!
Jodi is the only farmer that I know who has put her meat into a Lyft for delivery. Her beef is so good, that a chef called her for a last minute delivery to the site of a cheese steak competition he was about to start. All cuts of beef, plus she always has my Downingtown Farmers Market staple - sweet beef sticks. You can find her at that farmers market, or can contact her for on-farm pick up.
A farm that raises everything - Axle and his family raise every kind of animal protein you could imagine, including pastured eggs. Located in the idyllic countryside of Lancaster County (but literally 8 minutes from me in Oxford), you can order to pick up from the farm, or you can shop in person at Oakmont, Eagleview, and West Chester farmers markets. They also raise turkeys every year for Thanksgiving!
The best bagels I've ever had. You can find "bread guy" at the Havre de Grace market with the huge line every Saturday. Also try their "sun buns" - croissant dough in a muffin shape topped with sugar and magic, and their focaccia bread - seriously could eat a whole loaf by itself.
Remember the Camembert cheese I told you about before? The one from Fiddle Creek? Best on toasted loaf of anything from Brandywine Valley Bread... They're based in Downingtown, so quite local to a few of our markets. ! I love that they mill their own flour from grains from a farm in PA. Makes it even tastier to know it's so much more local.
And there are SO many more growers, makers, producers, and artisans around the MD/DE/PA area I can recommend.
Need help finding a farmers market, or producer of a specific product in your area? Just send me an email and I'd be happy to make a recommendation or help you find one :)