Baltimore offers something to cheer about
Folks in Baltimore have sports on the mind as we head toward October. With the NFL’s Ravens coming off a playoff appearance, the team has sky-high expectations for 2023 and former MVP, quarterback Lamar Jackson is up for the task.
Then there’s MLB’s Baltimore Orioles, who have held first place in the tight AL East division for the better parts of two months and have a young core of all-start caliber players in Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson and Grayson Rodriguez fighting for a World Series berth.
While people going to the games will be stuffing their mouths with hot dogs, nachos and junk food, Baltimore’s fans will want to make sure they are eating enough fruits and vegetables during the month while they root for their teams.
And Baltimore has plenty of options for consumers to find great produce. With more than 2 million acres of farmland throughout Maryland, the state contributes $8.25 billion annually to the economy. As Maryland’s biggest city, Baltimore is key to the state’s agriculture business. Vegetable growing totals nearly 30,000 acres in Maryland, with sweet corn comprising more than 8,000 of those acres, followed by watermelon at more than 3,700 acres. Fruit accounts for more than 4,000 acres with apples leading the way with almost 1,800 acres.
Last September, Baltimore saw the opening of the new Lexington Market. For decades, the market has served as a place for people to buy food—including produce—from area small businesses.
Also popular in Baltimore and its surrounding communities are farmers markets and these local events offer foodies all sorts of delicious goods, not just produce, but also specialty coffees, fresh breads, and artisanal cheeses. While summer is the key season for these markets, many are open in the fall, and some are open for business year-round.
The city’s largest market, the Baltimore Farmers’ Market, is being held Sunday mornings until the end of January. Managed by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, which supports and promotes arts and culture in the city, the Baltimore Farmers’ Market plays an important role in providing people in the city an opportunity to buy healthy fresh foods while supporting local growers.
As the fall arrives, produce markets in the Baltimore area are sure to be offering fresh Maryland-grown produce, including items like peppers, cantaloupes, plums, blackberries, grapes, raspberries and winter squash, which will be in season through mid-September. Watermelons will be available until early October, while fall produce such as apples, pears, pumpkins, turnips and sweet potatoes will available throughout the season.
Then there’s the Maryland Wholesale Produce Market in Jessup, run by the Maryland Food Center Authority. The produce market originally opened its doors in the late ’70s when many of Baltimore’s produce wholesalers were based in various locations in the city’s downtown area.
The current market is located in the I-95 corridor in close proximity to the interstate for receiving product by using the highway system. Jessup was chosen because of its convenient location, halfway between Baltimore and Washington D.C.
Today, there are approximately 30 vendors who call the market home. Over the last few years, the market is going through a resurgence, with a multimillion investment into modernization of the market underway, including the expansion of the rear dock and increasing its power supply.
Baltimore has an increasing number of chef-driven restaurants who care about fresh, local and quality ingredients and thankfully, there are plenty of places for them to fill their needs.