St. Michaels Farmer’s Market Announces 2018 Season & Accepts SNAP

The St. Michaels Market is thrilled to announce the opening day of the 2018 farmers market on Saturday, April 14 and its new collaboration with the Maryland Farmers’ Market Association (MDFMA). One of the most exciting aspects of this partnership is that, for the first time ever, the St. Michaels Market farmers and vendors will accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) dollars.

“One of the new goals for our local market is to expand opportunities for more people in the community to be able to purchase and enjoy the wonderful, fresh, farmer-grown fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, flowers or locally-produced items our farmers and vendors offer,” says Board member, Niamh Shortt. “Partnering with MDFMA has made this possible in a new, unexpected way.”

MDFMA is a statewide non-profit that helps to connect people with farmers markets and that provides resources, technical assistance and services to market managers, farmers and consumers.

In more news, the St. Michaels Market’s is also excited to introduce Amanda Rzepkowski as its 2018 Market Manager. Amanda comes to the Market with a background in farming, nutrition education and event management.  “Like any good event, there is an incredible amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to keep everything running smoothly,” says Board President Randy Royer.  “We feel fortunate to have found Amanda and are looking forward to a great season under her care.”

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.

The Spy’s Monthly Sprout: Matt Herron

Over the next several months, the Spy will be doing short interviews with residents that have using the Trappe-based Eat Sprout prepared meal company. In a joint effort with Eat Sprout owners Ryan and Emily Groll, we wanted to hear first hand why both individuals and families decided to order using this new food option.

We continue this month with Matt Herron, owner of Mid-Shore Martial Arts in Easton.  Matt was motivated to use Sprout when it first started not only because his business encourages healthy eating, but he also must watch his diet due to a preexisting autoimmune deficiency that he has had for years.

By switching to Sprout, Matt found himself losing almost sixty pounds, but more importantly, found himself having more considerable energy and the ability to start limiting the use of drugs required to manage his rheumatoid condition. He also found himself going back to very bad habits when he temporarily suspended his orders, by rushing out for Dunkin Donuts or Hardee’s and spending more money on junk food than his monthly costs with Sprout. He came back in a hurry.

The Spy spoke to Matt at Mid-Shore Martial Arts on Information Lane space in Easton, which also serves as a Sprout distribution location) affectionately known as a Sproutlet, a few weeks ago.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. Full disclosure, Sprout donates food to the Spy from time to time. For more information about Sprout please go here

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 stmichaelsmarket@gmail.com.

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 OutstandingDreamsFarm.com.

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 &
more!

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

– 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 www.simpaticostmichaels.com.

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 www.opentable.com/stars 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 rjrhodes@umd.edu 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 www.extension.umd.edu/baywise or see us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/QueenAnnesCountyMasterGardeners

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 www.ChesapeakeBayHerbSociety.org.