Buy a Big Veggie, Show Your Love for Farm Fresh!

Eagle Scout Beckett Mesko. Photo credit: Elizabeth Shaw Beggins.

The St. Michaels Farmers Market’s 2nd annual “Buy a Big Veggie” campaign is underway to help fund and launch another fabulous season of providing fresh, farmer-grown fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, flowers or locally-produced items to the people of Bay Hundred and beyond.

With the opening of the Farmer’s Market just a month away on April 14, the new Market Board invites people to celebrate the coming of the 2018 farm season by contributing to and personalizing their own “Big Veggie” sign for posting in St. Michaels during April. The campaign goal is to raise $7500 by ‘selling’ 100 of the signs, made by Beckett Mesko for his Eagle Scout project in 2017.

“We love seeing the four-foot veggies posted along Talbot Street. After the grey winter, the colorful four-foot radishes, peapods, corn ears and carrots are so fun,” says Board Secretary Rosemary Fasolo. “And I love the supportive, positive messages that people write on them, too. They’re so happy and just remind all of us that warm weather and local produce are coming!”

The St. Michaels Farmers Market’s success over the years is largely due to its ‘producer-only’ focus (meaning everything sold at the market is grown or produced by the person selling it), high-quality products, volunteer commitment, and its history as a place for people to come together. Financial support is also critical—especially now since the Market’s former parent organization is no longer involved.

“All really good farmers’ markets require people, financial resources and effort to look effortless and run smoothly. Community support is especially important for us this season since we are, in essence, starting from ground zero this year as our own entity, with new volunteer leadership and without the support of our former parent organization,” says Board Treasurer Bob Benson. “If we can reach our $10000 goal in sign sales and other donations, we’ll be able to purchase some sorely needed new set up items and also cover behind-the-scenes costs that keep everything working.”

To support the Market and get your “Big Veggie” sign, email

St. Michaels Farmers Market is a producer-only market and community gathering place for residents and visitors, that also provides economic opportunities for farmers and food producers, offers local food education and gives everyone access to healthy, fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs and other products.

St. Michaels Farmers Market Poised for New Era

After more than six months of planning, the St. Michaels Farmers Market is becoming its own self-governing organization and is pleased to introduce its first Board of Directors.

Earlier this year, the future of the local, producer-only Market was in question since its D.C.-based, parent organization had announced they would no longer provide the necessary administrative, marketing or financial support after the 2017 season. In a quandary, the Market’s volunteer leadership hosted a meeting in February to inform the community of the dilemma and ask for help. More than 100 people turned out to offer suggestions and show their support for the Market. In the end, a dozen people came together to form an “Action Team” that would tackle the challenge of how to ensure the Market’s future. After six months of discussions, planning and exploring a variety of options, it became clear that the time had come for the Market to become its own entity, run by a local board of directors.

“It was wonderful to see these 12 people, most of whom didn’t know each other at all, come together as a team to find a way to support the Market,” says Randy Royer, action-team-member-turned Market Board President. “We agreed on what we loved most, then looked into many options for filling the critical administrative role –forming our own entity and finding a new local umbrella organization. In the end, the option just made the most sense since our mission is locally-focused.”

The new St. Michaels Farmers Market Board reflects the interests in the community and has an eye toward future programs and partnerships that were identified by the Action Team discussions. Board Members are: Randy Royer, co-owner of Blue Heron Coffee Roasters in St. Michaels; Rosemary Fasolo, owner of Pixel Print & Post in St. Michaels; Joseph Coale who has a private law practice in St. Michaels; Bob Benson of Bozman who was in the financial services industry; Jena Paice, current Market farmer, owner and grower at Spirit Grower; and Niamh Shortt, Delmarva Program Manager for Future Harvest.

Collectively, their diverse experience, knowledge and skills will ensure that the St. Michaels Farmers Market continues to be a producer-only market that serves as a community gathering place for residents and visitors, while also providing economic opportunities for farmers and food producers, offering local food education and giving everyone access to healthy, fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs and other products.

“We are absolutely committed to keeping the many vibrant, rich aspects of the Market that many of us have enjoyed and supported for years,” says Royer. “Our Action Team explorations really helped us understand more about our community’s food-related needs and gave us lots of new ideas for increasing everyone’s access to our farmers, like hopefully accepting SNAP benefits next year. Those conversations also opened the doors for new partnership and program possibilities. I think I can safely say that the new Board is really excited to be part of the Market’s evolution. We are committed to opening in April 2018, offering locally sourced products and a unique community gathering place each Saturday.”

Celebrate the Season at Outstanding Dreams Farm’s Holiday Open House

Outstanding Dreams Alpaca Farm, located at 24480 Pinetown Road in Preston, invites you to their Holiday Open House on Saturday, November 25th from 10am – 5pm. Tour the farm, enjoy seasonal refreshments, meet and learn about their herd of alpacas, and shop for unique holiday gifts crafted from soft and luxurious alpaca fiber. This year’s Holiday Open House will coincide with Small Business Saturday, a nation-wide event that celebrates small businesses and encourages shoppers to support the small businesses in their community.

Now in its tenth year, Outstanding Dreams Farm is home to more than 25 Huacaya alpacas and a Farm Store that carries a variety of products ranging from handcrafted clothing, hats, scarves and gloves to children’s toys, jewelry and raw fiber. Situated on fifteen serene and peaceful acres on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the farm was founded in 2007 by Phil and Vickie Liske and has grown to be one of the top agri-tourism destinations in the region.

The Liskes are constantly adding new and unique offerings, such as their new line of Maryland-made products in the Farm Store. One of these products is their premium yarn, which is made from the farm’s alpacas and is available in many colors and weights. Another one-of-a-kind gift offering is the Adopt-an-Alpaca program, where you can “adopt” the alpaca of your choice for one year. The “adopted” alpaca stays on the farm where the Liskes take care of it, and the recipient receives a package that includes a Certificate of Adoption, a photo, a voucher for a farm tour to come learn about their alpaca and a $20 gift certificate to the Farm Store.

“One of our favorite parts of our job is sharing our love and knowledge of alpacas with our friends, community and visitors from near and far,” says Liske. “Our Holiday Open House is a great way for folks to come out, learn about these lovable animals, meet our newest arrivals and see what’s new on the farm.”

In addition to offering Champion alpaca breeding services and sales, the Liskes frequently offer farm tours for groups of all sizes. This past year, the farm has hosted numerous tours for a variety of audiences, including car and motorcycle clubs, artist groups, college students, senior centers, bus companies and children.

For more information on the Open House & Alpaca Festival or to arrange a tour of the farm, please contact (410) 673-2002 or visit

Simpatico Celebrates Columbus October 14 and 15

Simpatico, Italy’s Finest celebrates Columbus Day with the 8th Annual “Columbus Wine & Food Celebration at St. Michaels” of Italian Wine, Food, Art & Games in honor of explorer Christopher Columbus.

Now expanding to two days on Saturday & Sunday, October 14 and 15,  from Noon to 5 PM, the event will be held rain or shine both days in the tented lot “piazza” adjacent to Simpatico at 104 Railroad Ave. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the St. Michaels Community Center for a joint Simpatico-SMCC Prepared Food Project.

Stop by and transport yourself to Italy!

This not-to- be-missed event will feature the following activities to the public at a cost of $25 per person, kids free:

– Italian Wine & Spirits Tastings of over 60 wines, Limoncello, Italian Vodka & Gin, Prosecco, Bellinis,
Amalfi Coast Liqueurs!

– Italian Food Served & Tastings including Cipriani Pasta with Wild Boar Sauce, Antipasti, Pates, Pestos,
Truffle products, Olive Oils, Balsamics, Chicken Pesto, Caponata, Rice Salad, Orange Olive Oil Cake &

– Wonderful Artisan Cheese Tastings of Cow, Sheep & Goat cheeses directly flown in from Italy every 2

– Live Italian Music – with Marc DeSimone, come listen to your favorite Italian songs!!

– Italian Trivia & Pasta Game – Answer all the questions and you win a bottle of wine!

– Meet Columbus and hear about his adventures in exploration, and have your picture taken with him!

– Special pricing promotions for wines and other items in the shop.

Simpatico is excited to continue this event for the community; Bobbi Parlett, owner of Simpatico, comments, “everyone has such a good time at this fun annual event, it is like being in a piazza in Italy for the afternoon, and combines so many things we love – food, wine, art, history, music, games for all ages, and fun.”

Simpatico is a locally-owned, independent retailer and wholesaler specializing in exclusively Made in Italy items: a fabulous selection of Italian wines plus foods, ceramics, kitchen linens, ornaments, Murano Glass jewelry & Glasses, Florentine furniture and home accessories, wall art and more. Simpatico fall store hours are Monday through Thursday 10 AM to 5 PM, Saturday from 10 AM to 6 PM and Sundays 10 AM to 5 PM. To purchase tickets, go to Events on

Stars at Inn at Perry Cabin Wins Prestigious Award for Fine Dining

Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond’s flagship restaurant Stars has long offered one of the finest dining experiences on the Eastern Shore, not to mention incredible views of the Chesapeake Bay, and now it joins only 671 other restaurants across the continent to earn the Distinguished Restaurants of North America’s (DiRōNA) Award of Excellence.

The award acknowledges quality of cuisine—including creativity of dishes, variety of cooking techniques and quality of ingredients—as well as the property itself, décor and customer service. It is one of the most respected awards in the dining and hospitality communities, and DiRōNA has been the authority for excellence in distinguished dining since 1990.

Every ingredient Chef Ken MacDonald and Food and Beverage Director Samir Dhir feature on Stars’s menu is sourced within 150 miles of St. Michaels, and with Farm Manager Phal Mantha on board, that radius is rapidly shrinking. In fact, Inn at Perry Cabin is poised to launch its own farm-to-table menu this year. Through alliances with Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program, Chefs Collaborative, Fish2Fork and the Oyster Recovery Partnership, among others, the property also is committed to helping protect seafood populations and support Chesapeake Bay watermen.

Guests of Stars will recognize this commitment in popular starters such as the Jumbo Lump J.M. Clayton Crab Chowder and Seasonal Choptank Sweet Oysters, and in iconic entrées such as the Wild Local Long Line Caught Rockfish and J.M. Clayton Crab Macaroni and Cheese. Chef’s Daily Ravioli is packed with produce harvested right outside of the kitchen, breakfast is available all day, and features such as the Char Grilled Local Farm Berkshire Pork Chop, Roasted Organic Peri-Peri Marinated Chicken and Creekstone Beef Hanger Steak show off Chef MacDonald’s pedigree.

Stars is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea. It’s located at 308 Watkins Lane in St. Michaels, Maryland, and reservations can be made at or on (410) 745-2200.

Talbot County Garden Club was ‘Putting on the Glitz’

The Talbot County Garden Club held its biannual Symposium on April 18, 2017, at the Milestone in Easton, MD.  It was a sell out event with 245 attendees, 32 patrons and 14 sponsors.  The majority of the attendees were from Talbot County and the surrounding areas, but quite a few travelled in just for the event.

Chris Olsen (Photo Credit: Marsie Hawkinson)

The all day affair titled Putting on the Glitz featured three nationally acclaimed guest speakers who spoke on an array of topics ranging from Landscape design to Style to Floral Artistry.  The day kicked off with Chris Olsen – Master Designer from Little Rock, Arkansas.  Chris shared amazing ways to take your landscape from “Drab to Fab”, emphasizing color, shape and size in the landscape.  Bettie Bearden Pardee – lecturer and garden connoisseur from Newport, Rhode Island, followed Chris.  Bettie took everyone through the beautiful mansions and gardens of Newport, Rhode Island, sharing excerpts from her book “Living Newport”.  The final speaker of the day was Paige Canfield – owner / designer of Sumner B. Designs in Washington DC.  Paige’s presentation was chock full of bits of information on floral design which she demonstrated through a handful stunning arrangements.  Between speakers, attendees were treated to a farm to table lunch, and they were able to shop on “Roseo Drive”, a marketplace consisting of 14 vendors selling items including home décor, pottery, jewelry, and other accessories.  It was truly a day of day full of style and entertaining, enjoyed by all.

The event is this year’s largest fundraiser for the Talbot County Garden Club.  The funds support the club’s projects throughout the community.

About the Talbot County Garden Club

The Talbot County Garden Club was established in 1917 to enrich the natural beauty of the environment by sharing knowledge of gardening, fostering the art of flower arranging, maintaining civic projects, supporting projects that benefit Talbot County and encouraging the conservation of natural resources.  Noteworthy projects include maintaining the grounds of the Talbot Historical Society, Talbot County Courthouse, Talbot County Free Library, the fountain and children’s gardens at Idlewild Park and numerous other gardens and activities.  There are currently a total of 101 active, associate and honorary members.

Queen Anne’s County Master Gardeners Announce Bay-Wise Landscape Consultations

Homes on the Eastern Shore are within a half mile of a stream or other waterway flowing into the Chesapeake Bay. Creating an attractive yard is important to all of us, but how we do it can make a huge difference in property value and environmental impact. We all contribute–knowingly or unknowingly—to run-off, seepage, and airborne pollutants that affect the health of the Bay. Critical awareness of the environmental effect of our landscape choices and practices underlies the University of Maryland Extension Bay-Wise Master Gardener program.

pictured L-R: Master Gardener Jane Smith, Master Gardener Cindy Riegel, homeowner Laura Rocco, Master Gardener Betty McAtee, and Master Gardener Joyce Anderson.

The Queen Anne’s County Master Gardeners’ Bay-Wise program kicks off the 2017 season of Bay-Wise landscape consultations. Master Gardeners, are volunteers who are trained by the University of Maryland Extension, will come to your home or business to evaluate your property. They can answer landscape and gardening questions and offer advice on sound environmental practices. This is a free service sponsored through the University of Maryland’s Extension office. Home owners and businesses are encouraged to schedule a consultation.

Call or email the University of Maryland Extension Queen Anne’s County Master Gardener Coordinator, Rachel Rhodes, at 410-758-0166 or to initiate a consultation on your property. A Bay-Wise trained Master Gardener will then contact you to arrange a convenient date and time to meet with you at your property. A consultation usually takes about one to two hours, depending on the size and complexity of your yard. Consultations focus on practices of healthy lawn maintenance, storm water management, insect and disease control, composting waste, and selecting native plants and trees that enhance your property with minimum upkeep.  You are welcome to request advice about flower, fruit, and vegetable beds that beautify your yard and provide friendly habitat for wildlife like songbirds, butterflies, bees, and humming birds.

Complimentary Bay-Wise signs are given homeowners and businesses that demonstrate sound Bay-Wise practices. The University of Maryland Extension Master Gardeners hope to reach even more homeowners this season. Advice on improving your landscape, while helping the environment and saving time and money, is only a phone call away.  For further information on the Bay-Wise Program and other environmentally sound practices, please visit or see us on Facebook @

University of Maryland Extension programs are open to all people and will not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry, or national origin, marital status, genetic information, or political affiliation, or gender identity and expression.

CBHS to Hear About New Plants for 2017

Stephanie Wooton of Unity Nursery will present some of the new plants for 2017 at the April 20 meeting of the Chesapeake Bay Herb Society.  She will also try to help identify problems for people who bring samples from their gardens.

Ms. Wooton, a CBHS member, currently works at the Church Hill nursery.  She worked at Garden Treasures in Easton for 17 years before moving to Unity.

Wooton was born in Germany and spent her youth in many countries due to her father’s diplomatic career.  She obtained a degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin before moving east where she married and raised two sons.  Working at a garden center in Frederick led her to pursue her horticulture degree from the University of Maryland, College Park.  When she gets home from work these days, she says she continues to “play (toil!) in my own garden with two (un)helpful cats.”

The society usually meets the second Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. at Christ Church, 111 S. Harrison Street, Easton.  Meetings include an herbal potluck dinner, a short business meeting and a presentation on an herb-related topic.  The theme for the April dinner is herbs associated with the zodiac sign Aries.

CBHS was formed in 2002 to share knowledge of herbs with the local community.  The group maintains the herb garden at Pickering Creek Audubon Center.

For more information, call (410) 827-5434 or visit

Learn About Soil Health with Dr. Sara Via at Adkins Arboretum

Microbes in the soil have a huge impact on how plants grow and react to stress situations. It’s a wild world down there, and some of the interactions will surprise you! Learn about the importance of soil health on Wed., March 22 when Dr. Sara Via presents Life Underground: Healthy Soil, Healthy Plants, Healthy Planet at Adkins Arboretum.

Building and maintaining soil health is essential for food production, the conservation of forest and natural areas, and climate-resistant gardening, agriculture and forestry. Learn what healthy soil is, how to know if you have it, and how to build it if you don’t. A hands-on demonstration will follow Via’s talk.

The program runs from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and is $15 for members, $20 for non-members. Advance registration is requested at

Via is a professor of biology and entomology at University of Maryland, College Park. She is interested in the effects of climate change on agriculture and home gardening, biodiversity and human health. In association with University of Maryland Extension and Maryland Master Gardeners, she works with community groups, high schools and universities to increase awareness of the scientific reality of climate change and to motivate effective action to curb its rapid progression.

Adkins Arboretum is a 400-acre native garden and preserve at the headwaters of the Tuckahoe Creek in Caroline County. Open year round, the Arboretum offers educational programs for all ages about nature, conservation and gardening. For more information, visit or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Adkins Arboretum’s 2017 Juried Art Show on View through March 31

Playful, beautiful, zesty and often reverent, the artworks in Discovering the Native Landscapes of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Adkins Arboretum’s eighteenth annual Juried Art Show, speak about the remarkable variety of ways we look at nature on the Eastern Shore. On view in the Arboretum Visitor’s Center through March 31, this show also brings together a remarkable variety of mediums, including acrylic, oil, pastel, charcoal, collage, photography, monoprint, etching, ceramics, stained glass, metal sculpture and dried plant materials.


“Chives,” by Washington, D.C., artist Paige Billin-Frye

The show was juried by Katherine Markoski, Ph.D., Director of the Kohl Gallery and Lecturer in Art History at Washington College. Both she and the artists will be on hand for a reception from 3 to 5 p.m. on Sat., Feb. 11 to talk with visitors about the work in the show.

From entries submitted by artists from Maryland, Virginia, New York and Washington, D.C., Markoski chose 31 works for this show.

I was thinking in terms of the strength of the work and how compelling the interpretation of the subject was,” she said. “It was interesting to me to include a range of media that demonstrates the many different ways that you could come at this particular topic.”

Markoski awarded the annual first-prize Leon Andrus Award, named in honor of the Arboretum’s first benefactor, to “Chives,” a large, close-up photograph of a chive blossom printed in soft, subtle shades of brown on Japanese kitikata paper by Washington artist Paige Billin-Frye.

“It’s like a meditation,” Markoski said. “I think it’s compelling how the delicacy of the paper it’s printed on underscores the delicacy of the image. The way it’s presented has an incredible amount to do with its strength. It’s almost a portrait, in a sense, and creates a direct conversation with this single flower that’s part of the natural world.”

Second prize was awarded to Easton artist Diane DuBois Mullaly’s “Sun Stream,” a tiny oil painting of a rising sun spilling its light over meadow flowers.

“There’s something optimistic about it,” Markoski explained. “You feel the sun pulsating. It feels like light, even as it’s definitely paint. I think it packs a strong punch for its size. It feels to me like there’s no way another scale would have been effective.”

Sun Stream

“Sun Stream,” by Easton artist Diane DuBois Mullaly

In keeping with her interest in showcasing a variety of mediums and approaches, Markoski chose a large wall sculpture and a colorful digital photograph to receive Honorable Mention awards.

The sculpture “Eclipse,” by Baltimore artist Marcia Wolfson Ray, is a virtual explosion of charred and broken pieces of pine whose jagged, curving forms are just barely contained within a series of 15 open “boxes” constructed from dried plants and hung in a grid.

Markoski said, “I like the way this rigid framing powerfully underscores the unruliness of the individual units themselves.”

Of the photograph, which Chestertown artist Richard Hall took by zooming in on the swirls of bright blue water and green algae flowing through the grasses in the Arboretum’s wetland, Markoski said, “The painterly quality of it is striking. It’s an interesting metaphor for the intermixing of materials in our waterways. You could read it as a potential source of beauty but also a harbinger of terrible things to come, so it makes you think, what’s the nature of that particular flow? I think this one is conceptually rich in terms of the questions it might elicit.”

This show is part of Adkins Arboretum’s ongoing exhibition series of work on natural themes by regional artists. It is on view through March 31 at the Arboretum Visitor’s Center located at 12610 Eveland Road near Tuckahoe State Park in Ridgely. Contact the Arboretum at 410-634-2847, ext. 0 or for gallery hours.

Adkins Arboretum is a 400-acre native garden and preserve at the headwaters of the Tuckahoe Creek in Caroline County. Open year round, the Arboretum is the region’s resource for native plants and education programs about nature, ecology and wildlife conservation gardening. For more information, visit or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.


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