By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
(July 26, 2018) Worcester County offers a wide variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables, as well as other homemade goods, at several area farmer’s markets.
The Berlin Farmer’s Market, on Artisan’s Way, reopened for the season on Sunday, June 17, two months after the original Friday market closed.
“When the other market ended at the end of April I knew we couldn’t be without a farmer’s market here in town so I immediately went into starting the farmer’s market zone,” said Ivy Wells, director of economic and community development for the Town of Berlin. “I had started one previously back in Sykesville so I knew what I was doing and it took not even two months to pull this off.”
In addition to vendors, a children’s corner offers games and activities and a band plays throughout the market. Animals are welcome to the market, which Wells refers to as “Yappy Hour.”
“The Sunday market is a very cozy market and we get a lot of foot traffic and it’s run a lot better,” said Berlin resident Tom Pfeifer, who owns Eastern Shore Kettle Korn. “There’s music and things for kids to do.”
“It’s been awesome,” Pittsville resident and produce vendor Stephanie Barfield said. “Lots of repeat customers every week. We had some people come down from Bethany Beach, which is nice. It’s more of an event than a market.”
The Berlin market will now take place every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. until the last Sunday in September.
“[However,] if the farmers still want to be here then I have no problem keeping it open longer,” Wells said. “It’s a farmer’s market not a produce market. These farmers are selling what they sell [for a living].”
Many vendors in the Berlin market also participate in the Ocean Pines market on Saturdays.
The largest farmer’s market in the northern Worcester area is located in Ocean Pines. It has been held for several years on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. until this May, when the market also began taking place on Wednesdays from 4-7 p.m.
Held in the tree-shrouded White Horse Park, the market includes dozens of vendors who provide items ranging from locally grown produce to deli meats, seafood, clothing, jewelry, homemade soaps and lotions, woodwork, carpets and kitchen appliances.
There is even a small petting zoo featuring alpacas.
“I like the community feel,” Ocean Pines resident June McKenna, who sells lemonade and iced tea, said. “I love that everything is local.”
The Wednesday market is new to Ocean Pines this year and has received praise from local residents.
“There’s been a demand for it from the public for the past couple years and we decided to finally open it up [on Wednesday],” Ocean Pines Market Manager David Bean said. “A lot of folks that come into town on Saturday come after 1 p.m. and they can’t get here on time, and by being here on Wednesday from 4-7 p.m. we can accommodate those people.”
Some new activities were also introduced at the Ocean Pines market, including Goat Yoga, where baby goats interacted with yoga participants during the first week of June.
“I think it was totally fun,” Ocean Pines resident Janice Applebee said about goat yoga. “It was a brand-new experience and it’s always good to try new things.”
The market in Ocean City is held on 142nd Street, bayside, on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“It’s everyday with a ‘U,’ as we say,” said Lawrence McDonald of Quin Deca farm in Somerset County. “It’s a great market. All the vendors that are here have been here for several years and have friendly competitions with each other. In the middle of the season you can get [almost] anything that you can find in the grocery store.”
The Ocean City market has been around for at least two decades and is the only USDA-sanctioned market in Ocean City.
While smaller than the other markets, there are several selections of fruits and vegetables to choose from, as well as wine, pottery, flowers and bread.
“It’s a nice location,” Snow Hill resident and Rachel’s Winery vendor, Donald Cheeseman, said. “We get a lot of people who shop various types of goods from plants to fruit to vegetables. It’s fun to just watch people.”