Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, and with that comes all of the local, in-season produce that Maryland farmers and producers have to offer. An abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meats and other items are now available at farmers markets and farm stands throughout the state.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many consumers shifted to buying food from local vendors. As we return to a new normal, the department encourages Marylanders to continue to support our farmers and producers by buying local. Whether you are planning for the first barbecue in over a year or prepping for a crab feast, think about purchasing Maryland-grown, produced or harvested products first.
The department has made it easier than ever to buy locally. Use the recently published 2021 Maryland Farmers Market Directory to find a farmers market closest to you. For specific items, use the Maryland’s Best website — marylandsbest.net — to find local producers.
2021 Maryland Best Ice Cream Trail
Another way to buy locally is by participating in Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Trail. Back for its ninth year, the 2021 trail season officially starts this weekend. The Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Trail is made up of 10 on-farm creameries that sell their ice cream directly to consumers. The trail helps promote Maryland’s dairy industry, support local farmers, and offers the opportunity to spend time on a working farm.
As you head to Deep Creek Lake, Ocean City or anywhere else in Maryland this summer, there will likely be a stop on the ice cream trail along the way.
The trail spans 290 miles from Washington County in western Maryland all the way to Worcester County on the Eastern Shore.
Creameries on the 2021 trail include: Prigel Family Creamery (Baltimore), Nice Farms Creamery (Caroline), Kilby Cream (Cecil), South Mountain Creamery (Frederick), Rocky Point Creamery (Frederick), Broom’s Bloom Dairy (Harford), Keyes Creamery (Harford), Woodbourne Creamery at Rock Hill Orchard (Montgomery), Misty Meadow Farm Creamery (Washington), and Chesapeake Bay Farms (Worcester).
On May 26, I joined Maryland’s Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford at the Prigel Family Creamery to officially kick off the 2021 trail season happening now through Sept. 30.
Every year, the trail challenges the public to visit all 10 dairies in hopes of being named Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Champion Trailblazer.
This year, the department is asking our trailblazers to snap a photo or a selfie at each creamery and to submit them via email to email@example.com for a chance to win.
Download the 2021 passport and start plotting out your path today.
Your Memorial Day cookout may have some party crashers this year due to the return of the 17-year Brood X periodical cicadas in parts of the state. Do not panic though, cicadas do not chew, bite or sting.
Their loud mating calls, clumsy flying skills, and the sheer number of them can be a nuisance, but they are not a threat to humans, pets, animals and most plants. Even if your pet or animal consumes a few cicadas, they should be fine, just try to limit their consumption.
The department does not recommend using pesticides or insecticides to try to kill them — doing so will not be helpful in controlling populations and only poses a threat of harming other helpful, beneficial insects. A great way to dispose of cicada carcasses or exoskeletons is by adding them to your compost pile.
If you can, try to appreciate these remarkable creatures while they are here. They are seen nowhere else on Earth and appear for only six to eight weeks every 17 years.
At the beginning of the month, Gov. Larry Hogan even proclaimed May and June 2021 as Maryland Magicicada Months to celebrate the return of the Brood X cicada and to generate public awareness about these insects.
The cicadas you see today were born during the last emergence in 2004 and have been living underground until now. They will live above ground until the end of June when their life cycle is complete and the next generation retreats back below the surface. After this year, Brood X cicadas will not be seen again until 2038.
Even though Brood X cicadas may crash this year’s holiday cookout, our region is lucky to see their fascinating life cycle in action.