There are few better ways to start the spring season than by grabbing your tote bag and moseying down to the St. Michaels Farmers’ Market (SMFM) in St. Michaels. Over the past 23 years, the SMFM has become a seasonal weekend ritual that brings fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs, meat, flowers, baked goods, even booze, to the Bay Hundred community and beyond. Starting on April 10, the market will return to showcase the region’s bounty. Located in the public parking lot at 204 South Talbot Street, it will take place on Saturday mornings between 8:30 and 11:30 a.m. through November 20.
In 2021, the SMFM remains a unique asset for the Eastern Shore community at large. As one of the region’s few producer-only farmers’ markets, customers can feel confident in knowing that every item available for sale is grown or produced within 60 miles of St. Michaels. The tomatoes in your basket, the flowers in your bouquet, the eggs in your carton, or the rum in your bottle all came from the Delmarva Peninsula, with annual site visits conducted to verify the local operation of each producer or farm. Customers can see and taste the difference in quality and flavor, with each dollar spent going directly into their community. By personally knowing the market vendors, they are also educating themselves on the importance of fostering a local food system.
This homegrown initiative is all the more important after the pandemic revealed deep chasms in our national supply chains in 2020, sparking immediate and intense demand for local food. Last season, the SMFM’s board, vendors, and volunteers tackled the unprecedented hurdles of COVID-19, swiftly implementing new safety measures while still providing vital food access for local residents. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the unwavering support of the community. This season, face masks will still be required, along with other safety policies and procedures, including social distancing and hand-washing stations.
Another 2021 change arrives with the addition of new market manager Devin Herlihly, who comes to SMFM from the Pickering Creek Audubon Center in Easton. Prior to this position, Devin worked as a bat biologist and environmental educator, though local residents will also likely recognize her from her time as a Rise Up barista, Chesapeake College science tutor, and Country School substitute teacher.
“I am so excited to continue to serve the Shore in this new position,” she wrote recently on social media. “I look forward to working hands-on to support the farmers and makers who bring healthy and local food to our county and, hopefully, getting to know many of you in the process.”
In other exciting news, the SMFM will once again be a SNAP-friendly market. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides benefits for low-income individuals and families to purchase eligible food items at approved markets and retail stores. Interested or existing SNAP customers should stop by the orange market manager’s tent for more details. This season’s market will highlight new vendors, such as last year’s pop-up produce farm Williwaw Farm and olive producer Our Greek Market, along with many beloved veterans supplying your go-to pantry purchases.
Those looking to get involved can sign up for volunteer shifts or donate via the annual Vegetable Sign fundraising drive, which is now open. To keep up with the St. Michaels Farmers’ Market, follow along on Facebook and Instagram @loveyourfarmer, check out the brand-new website at stmichaelsfarmersmarket.org, and sign up for the monthly newsletter for exclusive customer content.