There are an amazing number of Farmers’ Markets in and around Baltimore. If you haven’t been to one of these, summer is definitely a peak time (although most operate at least through Thanksgiving and some operate year round!) The markets typically operate weekend mornings, but you can find one in operation on just about any day of the week somewhere within a 30-minute drive of downtown Baltimore.

What you’ll find at these markets can surprise a first timer. In addition to seasonal produce—fresh fruit and veggies including pickles, heirloom tomatoes, and mushroom varieties that you’ll never find at the super market—you will also find flowers, plants, baked goods, cheeses, ready-to-eat goods, bee pollen, beef, lamb, bison, seafood, and musicians hoping that you’ll drop some money in their bucket.

Produce availability changes with the season. June is the big month for local strawberries; July and August are peak times for most types of fruits; and melons are available through September and October, which is also the best time for apples and pears.
The downtown Baltimore City Farmer’s Sunday Market, has been around since 1985 and is one of the largest farmers markets in Maryland. The Sunday Market operates every from April through December under the Jones Falls Expressway at Holliday and Saratoga streets, from 7am to noon. I’ve often arrived bright and early at 8am expecting it to be empty, only to find over 500 people already shopping!

The “32nd Street” Market, in the parking lot at E. 32nd Street and Barclay on the edge of Charles Village, has been operating regularly since 1980 every Saturday morning year round from 7am to noon and is the second largest farmers market in Baltimore. Other markets in the city include one at the Museum of Industry off Key Highway on Saturdays from 9am to 1pm; Cross Keys (off of Falls Road) on Tuesdays from 10am to 2pm; and the Park Heights Market in the Pimlico Race track parking lot on Wednesdays from 9:30am to 2pm.

In Baltimore County, farmers markets include one in Catonsville on Wednesday from 10am to 1pm at 100 Bloomsbury Avenue; in Towson from 11am to 3pm at 17 Alleghany Avenue; in the Eastpoint Mall parking lot on Wednesdays from 10am to 2pm; at the Owings Mills Metro parking lot on Fridays from 4–7pm; and in Pikesville at 1700 Reisterstown Road on Tuesdays from 2–6pm.

Farmers market newbie advice: grab a parking spot where you can and enjoy walking through unfamiliar parts of the city—early morning is a good time for that! You’ll be amazed at how many people are there when the markets open at 7am! Photo ops of people and colorful stands are abundant for photography buffs. Bring a sturdy bag with wide handles to hold your purchases. You’ll be doing a lot of walking and there may not be a lot of places to sit down, so make a point of wearing comfortable footwear.

Gay Life August 2014

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