Buying Local Food
A healthier you starts with eating fruits and vegetables every day. But did you know that purchasing those fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat locally makes not only you healthier, but your community as well? Buying local means your groceries don’t have to be transported great distances resulting in lower carbon emissions and cleaner air. It also helps support local farmers, which in turn supports your community.
There are several ways to buy local within Howard County including Farmers Markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA’s), pick-your-own farms, roadside farm stands and even the local produce section of many grocery stores. Some specialty stores focus on organic and other farming methods that try and reduce the use of chemicals.
We’ve done our best to provide a comprehensive list, but please note that they are provided for informational purposes only and do not represent any endorsement by Howard County Government.
Howard County CSA’s
CSA’s sell “shares” whereby a member receives a portion of the harvest. The produce is fresh, local and often organic.
- Breezy Willow Farm, Woodbine, MD. Breezy Willow Farm CSA offers food from multiple farms, linking with other local farms and small businesses to provide more variety. The growing methods of the partnering farms are Natural, Certified Organic and Integrated Pest Management. CSA members may pick up at one of several Howard County locations, including the Breezy Willow Country Store in Ellicott City.
- Gorman Farm, Laurel, MD. This farm focuses on their CSA program with a variety of organic produce. The CSA pickup is located at the Gorman Farm, 10151 Gorman Road in Laurel. The farm also offers pick your own strawberries in the spring.
- Love Dove Farm, Woodbine, MD. Love Dove participates in the Howard County farmers markets and offers a 10 week CSA share. Pick up is at the Miller Library in Ellicott City.
- TLV Tree Farm, Glenelg, MD. This CSA will email a questionnaire on the harvest products expected. Shares will adjust based on the responses and availability. CSA pickup is at the farm, 15155 Triadelphia Mill Road, Glenelg, MD. 21737
- Wheeler Farm, Sykesville, MD. Shares usually include 8–10 types of vegetables and complimentary herbs, enough for a family of 4. When available, the farm stand will offer fruit, eggs, cheese and meat from other local farmers. CSA pickup is at the farm, 13945 Forsythe Rd, Sykesville, MD 21784.
- Zahradka Farm, Baltimore County. During the winter season, this CSA delivers local produce to your home or office every week. During summer/fall members choose their own vegetables market-style at pick up locations in Howard County. Choose from different size shares to fit your needs.
Howard County Farmers Markets
Another excellent way to find local produce and support our farmers is shopping at local Farmers Markets. They feature the season’s freshest locally-grown produce, baked goods, fruits of the season, flowers, transplants, organically grown produce and specialty items. Markets are general open Wednesday – Sunday, each in a different location. Here is a link to the Howard County Economic Development Authority list of Farmers Market Locations and Dates.
While buying organic can tend to be more expensive the rewards can be plentiful. Organic farmers restrict the use of dangerous pesticides so the food that ends up on your plate is better for you and packs more nutritional value. By limiting the use of pesticides, organic farmers create less hazardous runoff and protect the soil from the addition of harmful chemicals. Here are some specialty grocers in Howard County. You can also seek out organic and locally purchased food at most grocery stores.
In 2014, Howard County convened a Food Policy Task Force to develop a strategy for food systems in Howard County. The task force was made up of leaders in the fields of food production, restaurants, the community college, and the corrections system. It also had members who work on behalf of our vulnerable populations.
The efforts of the Task Force led to the creation of the Roving Radish. Several report were also generated: