University of Maryland Extension

Don’t Eat a Third Hand Tomato; Come to the Farmers’ Market

Author: 
Ginger S. Myers
Farmer selling produce (tomatoes, beans, cabbage) at a Farmers' Market


Mastering Marketing - Special Edition 2020

 

STOP!  Before you take another bite, you might want to consider that your food choices have a much bigger impact than you could ever imagine. Nothing beats the flavor of field-ripened Maryland tomatoes harvested at the height of their ruby blush. These tomatoes are planted and harvested using good agricultural practices which renders them disease- free and are miles fresher. Many store tomatoes were picked somewhere west or south of Maryland, sold to a broker, and then sold to the grocery-store chain for distribution. That’s a third-hand tomato.

Farmers’ markets were deemed essential over the last few months. However, farmers’ markets have already been celebrated as essential each year for the past two decades. The 21st annual National Farmers Market Week, is happening from August 2 to 8, 2020. National Farmers Market Week is a celebration started by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that highlights the essential role farmers’ markets play in the nation’s food system. The campaign runs throughout the first full week of August each year and is formally declared by a USDA proclamation. Maryland has multiple farmers’ markets open in every county and the City of Baltimore.

We recently experienced a food supply chain disruptions in the grocery stores. With growing season in full swing, Maryland’s growers and specialty foods entrepreneurs are bringing their best directly from their farms and businesses to your market basket. Take advantage of this bounty by shopping at your local farms, farm stands, farmers' markets, wineries, grocers, and markets that stock genuine local products.

Farmers’ markets:

  • Preserve America’s rural livelihoods and farmland–50% of farmers selling at farmers’ markets derive at least half their revenue from farmers’ market sales.

  • Increase access to fresh, nutritious food–with affordable prices and special programs for low-income people, markets are expanding access to fresh, nutritious food.

  • Support healthy communities–farmers’ markets provide communities with a healthy food environment. With abundant produce, farmers’ markets help increase fruit and vegetable consumption.

  • Promote sustainability–farmers’ markets create new business opportunities for farmers interested in selling sustainably produced food. This helps protect the natural environment, public health, human communities, and animal welfare.

Here are resources for locating Maryland’s farmers’ markets and market shopping tips:

Maryland Department of Agriculture

University of Maryland Extension

University of Maryland Extension-Eat Smart

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University programs, activities, and facilities are available to all without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, age, national origin, political affiliation, physical or mental disability, religion, protected veteran status, genetic information, personal appearance, or any other legally protected class. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in any event or activity, please contact your local University of Maryland Extension Office.