Photo courtesy of OneStrawFarm

Many people are talking about buying local… and right now is the perfect time to take advantage of it; Monday marks the start of the Buy Local Challenge! Are you up to the challenge of serving 1 local ingredient each day during the week of July 18th through July 26th?  Sign the pledge at as an individual, a family or for your organization/business.

There is nothing quite like the just-picked-tomato or that amazingly crunchy carrot… or, dare we say, that wonderful glass of beer or wine that’s grown or produced nearby.  If you’re wondering where to start you could try a few of our favorites: the Bel Air Farmers Market has everything you would want in a Farmers Market and more!  Boordy Vineyards and Fiore Winery have an endless lineup of events for family and fun, Brooms Bloom Dairy in Bel Air was just awarded fifth in the nation according to Tripadvisor’s Top 10 Ice Cream Shops in the U.S! If you are interested in joining a CSA veggie share One Straw Farm CSA is friendly and convenient. If you’re a beer enthusiast Birroteca in Bel Air could be just the place for you.

Thinking this might break the bank? …. think again! Farmers Market shoppers on average save 25% on food annually when compared to shopping at grocery stores according to the American Farmland Trust. So, the question we’ve asking is: how does buying local help out the local farmer, environment, or you as the consumer?

1. Support the Local Economy – When you purchase produce from a local farmer, it helps the local economy. If each Maryland household made a commitment to spend just $12 each week on local produce in just the summer season alone that could put over $200 million into our local farmers’ pockets, according to SMADC.

2. Keep Green Spaces – Without farmland, where do we expect our food come from – the other side of the US or another country? Support the local farmers so they can keep farmland here on the Chesapeake Bay! According to American Farmland Trust 50 acres of farm and ranch land are lost every hour in the U.S. to sprawl and development.”

3. The Road Less-Traveled – A study calculated food travels on average 1,500 miles from farm to consumer. When you buy local less miles are traveled which means overall oil consumption and CO2 emissions are reduced, both are linked to global warming. An added benefit, produce traveling less time or distance retains more nutrients, so now you’re getting a better bang for your buck.

4. Quality family time, testing out that vegetable we can’t quite remember how to pronounce…. Take the time to explore new vegetables with your family. Often local farmers offer a wider variety of produce, so ask their recommendations on how to prepare their unique offerings. Get cooking!