Farms are disappearing in Calvert County, perhaps due to discouraging growing of the traditional cash crop of tobacco. Luckily, some family farms are hanging on and excellent fresh produce is still available to us at produce stands and the North Beach Friday evening farmers' market.
About a mile north of the Calvert Hospital on the east side of Route 2/4 and up the drive is Tim and Amy Wallace's farm. Corn, tomatoes, cucumbers are picked each morning and they're open for business between 10 - 6. They also sell peaches, string beans, broccali, and watermelon "when they come in".
Just at the turnoff from Route 4 at Broome Island Road, is a popular mid-county produce stand.
For 17 years, the Sunderland family has provided corn, tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers, water melon, cantalope, onions, peaches grown on their own farm or locally by other southern Maryland farmers. The produce is picked daily, and by late afternoon it may be gone.
The stand offers local seasonal produce, locally grown beef, milk and milk products as well as local crafts.
West on Route 231 just past the entrance to Hallowing Point Park are sweet potatos
and mums. They're seasonalSeptember, October, November until they're sold out. And, they sell out fast.
The Lyons family farm, on Route 260 in Owings.
Conveniently on the route to Chesapeake Beach, everything at this produce stand is grown on the Lyons farm except for peaches. Tomatoes, cantalope, watermelon, corn, cucumbers. And, sunflowers. The section of sunflowers attracts finches in the summer and provides sunflower seeds for birdfeeders in the winter.
In the past, Lyons has wholesaled his produce to local restaurants, but now sells almost exclusively to local consumers and summer tourists. And for 20 years, the Lyons stand has provided summer jobs for high school students.
Friday evenings from 6 to 9, 5th Street in North Beach is blocked off for the farmers to set up, and the adjacent parking lot fills up with customers.
The long lines at the booths move swiftly and offer a chance to chat with others in the community. The booths quickly sell out of their wares.
Peaches and watermelon attracted a large crowd at this farmer's stand.
The farmers' market and family produce stands flourish and Calvert family farms may survive.
If you have a favorite produce stand, e-mail me with its location.