The Food Lovers Guide

We scoured area markets and shops to fill our carts with some of the best items around town.

The produce section at The Fresh Market –Christopher Myers

We love a scavenger hunt, especially when it involves food. And that's exactly what it was like as we scurried around town, researching our local markets—from farmers' stalls and gourmet grocers to ethnic shops and organic stores. We discovered an array of new products and ingredients, including a wide assortment of vegan, raw foods, and gluten-free items. Our pantry is now bursting. (For good measure, we even asked chefs and restaurateurs to tell us where they grocery shop.) But even if you're not interested in cooking, we think you'll appreciate the abundance of interesting foods in our midst—whether you're wandering around an outdoor market, ducking into a tiny Italian shop, or making a pilgrimage to Wegmans. Just be forewarned: Our Food Lovers Guide is guaranteed to make you hungry!

The Fresh-Air Approach

Outdoor markets abound in Maryland.
By Maria Blackburn

The vendors at the Baltimore Farmers' Market quickly become associated with the products they sell. Thomas McCarthy may be "Thomas" to friends and family in Caroline County, but at the sprawling Sunday morning market underneath the JFX, he's the "bean and pea guy." Ethan White of J-Mar Stables and Farm in Monkton is known as "the monster carrot guy" for the 3.5-pound orange beauties he sells.

And that's just the beginning. There's also the mushroom lady, the doughnut dude, the curry couple, the peach people, the greens guys, the bison boy, and the pork chop girls.

Longtime market shopper Jill Levin reels off her list of favorites. "I've got a green bean guy, a leek person, a celery person, a French bread guy, my organic peach people, and a shallot guy," says Levin, who lives in Sabina-Mattfeldt, a neighborhood near Mt. Washington.

At a time when local and sustainable foods are growing in popularity, and every Tom, Dick, and Whole Foods has a farmers' market, the Baltimore Farmers' Market & Bazaar, now in its 34th year, remains the biggest outdoor seasonal market in the region. Its 100 vendors attract as many as 8,000 shoppers weekly. "Farmers' markets are open all over the place, but there's no place that has the variety and convenience that we have," says Carole Simon, the market manager.

But it's not just the arugula, granola, and "best fish on the planet" that bring market regulars like Scot Spencer of Reservoir Hill to the JFX market. It's the scene. From the aroma of pit-beef smoke mixed with fried spring rolls, to the sight of young families and tattooed hipsters shopping alongside church ladies in their hats and heels, to the thunderous noise of cars and trucks on the elevated highway above, Spencer can't get enough. "This is one of the best things about Baltimore," he says one Sunday as he scoops up a box of apples and loads it into his already full shopping bag. "It's a real cross section of the city, and it's always an adventure."

The atmosphere of the market is something Jack Dawson, aka the omelet guy, appreciates as one of its most distinctive charms. Every Sunday, you'll find the 72-year-old former journalist, world traveler, and owner of Humpty Dumpty Omelettes standing before his flat-top grill making omelets to order. It gets pretty busy on the line when the market is in full swing.

One morning a few years ago, Dawson was swamped with customers when an occasional customer walked by and jumped in to help him. "She saw I was in desperate straits, and, the next thing I knew, she was working behind the line with me," he says.

She walked away before he could offer to pay her. When he saw her a few weeks later, she declined the money or even a free omelet. Dawson hasn't forgotten their exchange, saying, "That, right there, is the spirit of this market."

To Market We Go!

Don't miss these other popular farmers' venues.
By Maria Blackburn

Bel Air
This producer-only market is celebrating its 36th season, selling items from carrots and herbs to ice cream and quail eggs.
The lowdown: 7-11 a.m. Saturdays, the parking lot of the Mary Risteau Courthouse off Thomas and S. Bond streets; 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesdays, the Kelly Ball Field parking lot, 502 Boulton St., www.belairfarmersmarket.com.

Green Spring Station
This Saturday afternoon market—with produce, meats, baked goods, seafood, flowers, and more—offers free parking.
The lowdown: 2-5 p.m. through November 19 at Green Spring Station, Falls and Joppa Roads, Lutherville. 410-828-5447, www.greenspringstation.com.

Hamilton/Lauraville
"Come for the fresh fruits and vegetables, stay for dinner" is the unofficial motto of this three-year-old Tuesday evening market that brings together more than 30 purveyors, selling items including breads, barbecue, jewelry, and quilts.
The lowdown: 4-8 p.m. June 7-October 25, next to the Safeway at Harford Road and Montebello Terrace, hamiltonlauravillemainstreet.blogspot.com.

32nd Street/Waverly
Three words set the Waverly Farmers' Market apart from the rest: open all year. Founded in 1980, the market has a wide array of produce, baked goods, prepared foods, and flowers. New this year is the installation of an EBT wireless machine that will allow vendors to accept debit cards.
The lowdown: 410-917-1496, www.32ndstreetmarket.org.

Towson
The Towson Farmers' Market, pictured, kicks off its 32nd season with the debut of several local wineries—including Linganore Winecellars, Basignani Winery, Boordy Vineyards, and Woodhall Wine Cellars—selling their wares for the first time at the market. Other products at this well-attended open-air market include local maple syrup, organic yogurt, free-range chickens, and, of course, fruits and vegetables.
The lowdown: 10:45 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursdays from June 9-November 17, Allegheny Avenue between York Road and Washington Avenue, 410-825-1144.

For a complete list of Maryland farmers' markets, visit marylandsbest.net and click on Farmers' Markets.

City Stalwarts

Municipal markets uphold food traditions.
By Martha Thomas

Before there were Giant and Safeway stores or the numerous farmers' markets, there were the Baltimore Municipal Markets, the oldest continuing city market system in the United States. Today, the City owns and operates five of the six municipal markets. (Lexington Market is run by a quasi-public corporation.)

Big changes are in store for the Broadway Market in Fells Point. Its two cavernous structures will be brought back to life as part of a new development—which will add 160 apartments in buildings flanking the market.

"It's a cool-looking structure, and it beckons to be something visionary and out of the box," says David Holmes of South Broadway Properties, the developer of the newly designated Marketplace at Fells Point. Plans involve renovating the south building to house the market's remaining tenants, and installing a new single enterprise in the north building.

As for the new tenant, nothing was finalized at press time. "It will be centered around food," Holmes concedes.

A bird's-eye view of Baltimore's Municipal Markets:

Avenue Market, 1700 Pennsylvania Ave., open 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Sat. The market was taken over by the City's public markets system in 2001. With the adjacent Murry's, a retail food store, the Avenue has a mix of stalls with prepared foods as well as cell phones, greeting cards, and T-shirts.

Broadway Market, 1640-41 Aliceanna St., open 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Sat. The market is undergoing renovations as part of a neighborhood revitalization effort.

Cross Street Market, 1065 S. Charles St., open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Sat. The popular market, pictured, is anchored on one end by Fenwick's Choice Meats and on the other by Nick's Inner Harbor Seafood, a popular beer-and-oyster spot.

Hollins Market, 26 S. Arlington Ave., open 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Tues-Sat. Built in 1838, the market remains the neighborhood's grocery store. There are seafood, poultry, produce, and butcher shops, along with other stalls.

Lexington Market, 400 W. Lexington St., open 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Sat. After visiting Lexington Market, poet Ralph Waldo Emerson is said to have described Baltimore as "The Gastronomic Capital of the Universe." The privately run market continues to attract visitors to its beehive of stalls, including Faidley Seafood with its famous crab cakes.

Northeast Market, 2101 E. Monument St., open 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Sat. Located near The Johns Hopkins Hospital, the market, established in 1885, serves Eastside residents as well as the legions of students and workers in the neighborhood. In 1955, the current brick building replaced the original wood barn. Richardson Farm, a longtime tenant of the market, offers fresh produce and poultry from its farm in White Marsh.

A Guide to CSAs

Here's what to expect when buying into a local farmer's harvest.
By Maria Blackburn

Want to buy local zucchini and heirloom tomatoes but can't make it to a farmers' market? Purchasing a community supported agriculture (CSA) share not only guarantees access to a steady stream of fresh produce and fruit all summer, but it helps to support a local farm, too.

Here's how it works: A farmer offers a limited number of shares to the public at the start of the growing season. Then, buyers share in the harvest by collecting a weekly box filled with a sampling of what the farm picked. "The idea of the CSA is that it's a partnership between the farmer and the consumer," says Joan Norman, owner of One Straw Farm in White Hall, which has been offering a CSA since 1999. "The consumer helps the farmer purchase seeds, fertilizer, and labor, and, on the flip side, they get fresh produce."

But before you sign up for a CSA, there are a few things that you should keep in mind:

Plan ahead. If you wait until the farmers' market season begins to join a CSA, you may already be too late. "Our CSA has a limited number of shares, and we're usually full by the middle of March," says Beckie Gurley, co-owner of Calvert's Gift Farm in Sparks with her husband, Jack, both pictured below. CSA sign-ups usually start in January, but "it's never too early to tell us you are interested in next year," she adds.

Gear up for lots of greens. "Spinach, kale, collards, chard, and arugula are all up in June, and in the beginning of your CSA, you'll eat enough of them to start to feel like a rabbit," says Norman. Ask farmers for recipes that will allow you to use the greens in new ways, she recommends.

One, two, three, cook. "You have to be prepared to cook dinner most nights," Norman says. The produce doesn't come pre-washed, pre-cut, or pre-cooked. You have to do it. "We grow more than just corn and tomatoes and cantaloupes in Maryland, and to use everything you get in your weekly share, you need to be creative in how you cook," Gurley says.

Start small. Most CSAs offer 24 weeks of produce. If that sounds like too much for you to eat each week, split the share with a friend. "I would rather see you succeed at a small level than fail at a large one," Norman says.

Find A CSA Near You

Farmer Friends

One Straw Farm in White Hall is the largest certified organic vegetable farm in Maryland, and its CSA is one of the biggest in the area, too. Buyers can pick up their products at more than 40 sites. Cost: $290 for a half share to $570 for a full share for the 24-week program. www.onestrawfarm.com.

Calvert's Gift Farm's Members of this CSA must go to the Sparks farm to pick up their shares of organic fruits and vegetables. Cost: $450 for 24 weeks. www.calvertsgiftfarm.com.

Breezy Willow Farm in West Friendship works with other area producers to offer the best selections of the season. Cost: $864 for a 24-week commitment. www.breezywillowfarm.com.

Calvert Farm in Rising Sun has summer and fall CSA options and pick-up sites throughout Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. Cost: Summer shares are $500 for 20 weeks; fall shares are $200 apiece for eight weeks. www.calvertfarm.com.

Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative—a nonprofit organic farmers cooperative of 75 family farms offering various shares. Pick-up sites include Towson and the Irvine Nature Center in Owings Mills. Cost: A full vegetable share is $700. www.lancasterfarmfresh.com. 

Grocery Havens

Where to find a variety of foodstuffs to fill your pantry.
By Suzanne Loudermilk & Martha Thomas

We love the big-guy supermarkets as much as the next shopper, but sometimes, we're looking for different ingredients, special service, vegetarian choices, or more ethnic options. Here are some of our favorite places to explore—and where we can gorge.

GOURMET

Eddie's of Roland Park
Two locations, including 6213 N. Charles St., 410-377-8040.

What You'll Find: The local market, in its third generation of family ownership, keeps its customers coming back with attractive displays offering quality produce, meat, seafood, and deli items. Service: If you want to be pampered, this is the place to go. The staff removes your groceries from your cart for the cashier and takes your bags out to your car. Best Bets: Eddie's showcases local food entrepreneurs like Mama Vida salsas and Michele's Granola made in Timonium. Incredible Find: "Gourmet to Go" foods for those days you don't have the time or inclination to cook. Look for entrees like a griled butterflied leg of lamb, broccolini stir-fry, and Asian pork barbecue. Secret Ingredient: Eddie's Caesar salad, sold in individual containers or for larger numbers.
Price Range: Moderate to expensive.

Gourmet Again
3713 Old Court Rd., Pikesville, 410-484-9393.

What You'll Find: A fine-foods market with prepared foods, a seafood counter, custom butcher, and deli, all in a small, customer-oriented space. Service: You'll be well taken care of by the genial staff. Best Bets: The bakery case with tarts, rugelach, cookies, French pastries, and that Baltimore favorite, rainbow cake. Also, don't miss the 14-inch "Take & Bake Pizzas." Incredible Find: Urns of Ariston cold-pressed Greek olive oil to fill empty bottles with the liquid gold. Secret Ingredient: Marinated meats, like flank steaks or a fajita mix that make cooking and grilling so much easier.
Price Range: Moderate to expensive.

Graul's Market
Several locations, including 12200 Tullamore Rd., Lutherville, 410-308-2100.

What You'll Find: A family-owned-and-operated store that started as a corner grocery in 1920. Its longevity can be linked to its careful selection of dry goods, produce, meats, and prepared items. Service: Personal and friendly. Best Bets: Its bakery turns out delectable cakes for all occasions. Incredible Find: Graul's signature spreads are great party fare. We especially like the pecan-olive spread and pimento spread. Secret Ingredient: The store has its own brand of jellies, jams, and preserves, pictured below, in luscious flavors like mint with leaves, guava, fig, and damson plum.
Price Range: Moderate to expensive.

Milk & Honey Market
816 Cathedral St., 410-685-6455.

What You'll Find: Besides the shelves and bins of produce and staples, there is a deli and cafe and a comfortable spot for lingering with your finds. The market, pictured above, is also hosting a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) this summer. Service: Happy and enthusiastic. Best Bets: Coffees, teas, honeys, pastas, and a well-stocked cheese case. Incredible Find: A bundle of lavender and rosemary from Blue Skye Farm in Virginia for grilling. Secret Ingredient: Gunpowder Bison & Trading Co. meats in the freezer section.
Price Range: Moderate.

ORGANIC/HEALTH

David's Natural Market
5430 Lynx Ln., Columbia, 410-730-2304.

What You'll Find: The 12,000-square-foot space is stocked with name brands: Annie's, Kashi, Celestial Seasonings, and the like, as well as bulk foods. There's a small section of organic produce and designated gluten-free products. Service: The staff knows its stuff. Best Bets: The bulk-food bins offer dried herbs, sold by the ounce, with small glass spice jars, sold separately, to pack them in. Incredible Find: Free-range eggs in a rainbow of colors: brown, pink, ivory, and blue, from Fran Kessler, an Eastern Shore farmer who delivers them each Friday. Secret Ingredient: Teaspoon-sized cubes of frozen herbs: basil, parsley, and dill (ginger, too)—just right for tossing into a soup, omelet, or stir-fry.
Price Range: Expensive.

MOM's Organic Market
Several locations, including 7351 Assateague Dr., Jessup, 410-799-2175. (Coming soon to Yorkridge Shopping Center in Timonium.)
What You'll Find: A store chock full of organic and natural groceries with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. The wide aisles make shopping an extra pleasure. Service: A cheerful, informed staff. Best Bets: Beautiful produce like gold beets, baby bok choy, and rainbow carrots; bulk bins of grains and beans; and pet food. Incredible Find: Self-serve canisters of Fair Trade loose tea, including rooibos, Darjeeling, China green, and chai green. Secret Ingredient: Organic kosher whole chickens.
Price Range: Inexpensive to moderate.

The Natural Market
2149 York Rd., Timonium, 410-560-3133.
What You'll Find: A locally owned health-food store that's been in existence for 24 years. A bonus is a vegetarian cafe and juice bar. Service: Laidback, helpful. Best Bets: There's a lot of stuff in this crowded storefront, including bulk flour, organic coffee, a great selection of herbal teas, fresh organic produce, products for special dietary needs, and a comprehensive inventory of vitamins and supplements. Incredible Find: Young green coconuts from Florida. Secret Ingredient: Agave nectar sweeteners.
Price Range: Moderate.

Roots Market
Two locations, including 5805 Clarksville Square Dr., Clarksville, 443-535-9321.
What You'll Find: A fully stocked grocery store, pictured, that carries natural, organic, and health items, including gluten-free and raw foods, and herbal and vitamin supplements. Service: A knowledgeable staff that will cheerfully answer any questions. Best Bets: Organic produce, including Fair Trade bananas and local hydroponic heirloom tomatoes; seafood like St. Brendan's Irish organic salmon; and meats like Roseda Beef New York strip steaks. Incredible Find: An amazing organic salad bar. Secret Ingredient: Organicville products: vinaigrettes, mayonnaise, relish, pasta sauces, mustard, and ketchup sweetened with agave nectar.
Price Range: Moderate.

ETHNIC

Asia Food
5224 York Road, 410-323-8738.
What You'll Find: Just about anything you need for an Asian-inspired meal, including 50-pound bags of rice, tins of curry paste and coconut milk, and several varieties of fish sauce. There's a small produce section. Service: The owners Mun-ge and Mun-ga Toung and their son and daughter are happy to help. Best Bets: Supplies to make your own sushi: frozen eel and flattened shrimp, sticky rice, eel sauce, nori seaweed sheets, and straw rolling mats. Incredible Find: A variety package of frozen dim sum—pork, shrimp, and vegetable—ready for steaming. Secret Ingredient: Sliced galanga, a rhizome known as Thai ginger.
Price Range: Inexpensive.

Black Olive Agora Market
At the Inn at The Black Olive, 803 S. Caroline St., 410-276-7142.
What You'll Find: A small Greek grocer, owned by The Black Olive restaurant folks, offering organic fruits and vegetables, fresh breads, sheep's milk cheeses like manouri and feta, local condiments, wines by the bottle, and takeout foods. Service: The staff is eager to answer any questions. Best Bets: The fresh seafood case with all manner of creatures from the deep, including Dover sole. Incredible Find: Sheep's milk Greek yogurt. Secret Ingredient: The Black Olive's Greek salad, of course!
Price Range: Moderate.

Heritage International Foods
8727 Liberty Rd., Randallstown, 410-655-6600.
What You'll Find: This Caribbean market is crammed with products, including packages of dried, salted fish; spices; dried fruits; and nuts. Service: The staff is not always familiar with the inventory, so if you need help, consult a fellow shopper. Best Bets: An entire aisle is devoted to fruit drinks and such concentrates as Mauby (made from tree bark), passion fruit, and guava. Incredible Find: Frozen snails, $5.99. Secret Ingredient: A box of peanuts to make peanut soup base and ogbono seeds.
Price Range: Inexpensive.

H Mart
Several locations, including 800 N. Rolling Rd., Catonsville, 443-612-9020.
What You'll Find: An Asian mega-grocery store, pictured, that carries, well, everything, including prepared foods, sushi, and an Asian eatery with seating. Service: The staff is polite but busy. Best Bets: The produce department is inspirational with dandelion greens, Indian eggplants, turmeric and lotus roots, Chinese okra, cactus pears, and so much more. Incredible Find: The fish counter is one of the freshest, most well-stocked in town. Secret Ingredient: A dazzling array of tofus.
Price Range: Inexpensive.

La Favorita
540 Cranbrook Rd., Cockeysville, 410-628-1442.
What You'll Find: A well-stocked storefront, filled with Latino packaged goods, meats, and produce. Service: A pleasant staff, many of whom speak English. Best Bets: Delectable Mexican pastries like the popular conchas (bread with flavored sugar on top) from El Gallito Mexican Food Store in Reading, PA. Incredible Find: Fresh cactus. Secret Ingredient: Banana leaves.
Price Range: Inexpensive.

Prima Foods
51 Kane St., 410-633-5500.
What You'll Find: This wholesale food distributor has a small storefront that offers Greek specialties from bulk olives to sacks of semolina flour. There's imported chocolate, pictured, falafel mix, several types of tahini, and honey. Service: Better if you speak Greek—or ask for owner Gus Bouyoukas. Best Bets: A three-pound block of frozen spinach, phyllo pastry, and a hunk of feta cheese—to make your own spanakopita. Incredible Find: A gyro family pack: pre-cooked meat, bread, and sauce for three sandwiches, packed in a box. Secret Ingredient: Whole octopus.
Price Range: Inexpensive, though rates can fluctuate.

Trinacria Foods
406 N. Paca St., 410-685-7285.
What You'll Find: An addictive Italian market and deli that is a busy hub filled with pastas, sauces, and more. For more than 100 years, the tiny space, now operated by the third generation of the Fava family, has been a draw in the once-bustling Italian neighborhood. Service: From shy owner Vince Fava to the men and women working behind the counter, you can count on cheerful conversations and knowledgeable cooking advice. Best Bets: It's a pasta paradise—from spaghetti and linguine to pennette and rigatoni. But there's lots more, including tomato and meat sauces, prepared foods, bakery goods, homemade breads, sandwiches, and a small wine shop. Incredible Find: A variety of frozen lasagnas. Secret Ingredient: Fresh made cannoli shells and containers of cannoli filling for an assemble-it-yourself Italian treat.
Price Range: Inexpensive.

CHAINS

The Fresh Market
Several locations, including Quarry Lake, 2510 Quarry Lake Dr., 410-580-1930. (Coming soon to 838 Dulaney Valley Rd., Towson)
What You'll Find: A softly lit food hall, reminiscent of a refined European marketplace, with dark wood beams adorned with hanging baskets of ferns and food attractively displayed. Fresh produce (pictured), cheese, a meat counter, prepared foods, and a bakery fill most of the store. Service: Well staffed and congenial. A woman at the butcher counter happily volunteered cooking tips. Best Bets: It's almost impossible to stick to your grocery list when confronted with so many options for artisanal sodas, infused olive oils, and more. Incredible Find: Yogurt. There's a dizzying variety, from Siggi's ginger-orange from Iceland to Kalona SuperNatural from an organic farm in Iowa.Secret Ingredient: A tiny container of white truffle butter that will jack up your grocery bill considerably but will add pizzazz to your next pasta dish.
Price Range: Moderate to expensive.

Harris Teeter
8620 Guilford Rd., Columbia, 410-290-5902. (Coming soon to Locust Point.)
What You'll Find: This North Carolina-based grocery chain's stores are brightly lit and well organized. The Columbia store is stocked with familiar brands—from Coca Cola to King Arthur flour—as well as a handful of store brands, including Harris Teeter Naturals (organic), H.T. Traders (mostly imported foods), and its moderately priced Harris Teeter line. Service: The staff is busy stocking supplies, but they'll stop and help you. Best Bets: There's a diverse selection of prepared foods for last-minute family meals: main courses like chicken (rotisserie, Moroccan, or tandoori style), with such options as braised asparagus and baked mac 'n' cheese on the side. Incredible Find: A well-stocked canning section. Not only glass Ball jars in several sizes, but plastic containers for freezing, pectin Sure-jell, and wax. Secret Ingredient: A bag of seasoned breading for fried chicken, proof that this is a Southern transplant.
Price range: Moderate.

Trader Joe's
Several locations, including 1809 Reisterstown Rd., Pikesville, 410-484-8373.
What You'll Find: A hip market offering a small-store vibe. It's not a health-food store, but it offers lots of organics. Service: Fun and congenial. The staff wears Hawaiian shirts, and, ahoy, managers are called captains and first mates. Best Bets: Coffees, peanut butters, chocolate bars, nuts, and cheeses. Incredible Find: Sweet potato gnocchi with butter and sage in the freezer aisle. Secret Ingredient: Raw California almonds as a delicious snack or for baking cakes and cookies.
Price Range: Moderate with weekly specials.

Wegmans
Several locations, including 122 Shawan Rd., Hunt Valley, 410-773-3900. (Coming soon to Harford County.)
What You'll Find: A big-box market with reasonably priced staples, a focus on organics, specialty foods, and numerous to-go stations from soups and sushi to subs and coffee. Get there early on weekends or you'll be circling a parking lot that resembles the mall during holiday season. Service: The staff looks out for you. On a recent visit, a shopper placed several loose green peppers in a bag. A produce guy spotted him and steered him to a more cost-effective package of peppers. Best Bets: Seafood, meats, deli, and bakery departments. Incredible Find: A Flavors of Africa section includes chutneys, hot and fragrant peri-peri marinades, Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans, and Moroccan couscous. Secret Ingredient: D'Artagnan specialty meats: chicken poussins, venison medallions, duckling, and lamb merguez sausage.
Price Range: Moderate.

Whole Foods Market
Several locations, including 1001 Fleet St., Suite A, 410-528-1640.
What You'll Find: An array of natural and organic foods from a company committed to sustainable agriculture. Service: The staff takes its customers seriously and strives to make your shopping experience a pleasant one. Best Bets: Check out Whole Foods's "365 Everyday Value" brand for a variety of good deals. Incredible Find: A bean bar, really! Pick out an assortment of dried beans, including red lentil, garbanzo, and kidney. Secret Ingredient: Panko crumbs in a variety of flavors from lemon and almond to sun-dried tomato.
Price Range: Moderate to expensive.

ON THE HORIZON

Baltimore Food Co-op
2800 Sisson St. in the former Mill Valley General Store space, 410-889-6842, scheduled to open in June or July.
What You'll Find: A full-service supermarket emphasizing local food. The co-op will be open to the public, but members—who pay a one-time fee of $100 per household with a small annual fee—will receive various discounts on store items and special weekly deals. Predicted Best Bets: Local produce, meats, and dairy products, in addition to some national natural brands.
Price Range: Inexpensive to moderate.

Green Onion
5500 Harford Rd., scheduled to open in June
What You'll Find: Winston Blick, chef/co-owner of the Hamilton restaurant Clementine, and Rich Marsiglia have partnered to open a corner grocery store about a block from the restaurant. Predicted Best Bets: Local meats, charcuterie, cheeses, breads, the restaurant's popular desserts, and shelf goods. Incredible Find: Locally made natural bulk laundry soap. Secret Ingredient: Ice cream from Prigel Family Creamery.
Price Range: Moderate.

SPECIALTY

The Market at Belvedere Square
529 E. Belvedere Ave., www.belvederesquare.com.
What You'll Find: An assortment of vendors—with Atwater's being the most prominent—offering fresh produce, prepared foods, candy and nuts, sushi, smoked fish, Italian foods, and Grand Cru, a wine shop/bar. Service: Pleasant and courteous. Best Bets: Atwater's soups, breads, and baked goods; Planet Produce; Ikan Seafood & Sushi; and Neopol Savory Smokery's savory pies (pictured below). Incredible Find: Fresh sausages at Ceriello Fine Foods meat counter, featuring flavors like Italian Pecorino Romano cheese and parsley, sweet and hot Italian, Italian fennel, and Italian tomato and basil. Secret Ingredient: Locally developed organic "tsp spices," which are sealed in convenient one-teaspoon packets.
Price Range: Moderate.

Pennsylvania Dutch Market
11121 York Rd., Cockeysville, 410-316-1500. (Open Thurs.-Sat.)
What You'll Find: It's a weekend marketplace, pictured, with stalls for food, quilts, candies, and furniture. There's also a family-style restaurant. Service: Cheerful and polite. Best Bets: Farm-raised turkeys, eggs, milk, and baked goods come from farms in Pennsylvania. Incredible Find: A two-pound roll of farm-fresh butter, wrapped in paper like at an old-time general store. Secret Ingredient: Bags of pastry filling—cherry, blueberry, lemon, and even cream cheese—ready to pipe into a pie.
Price Range: Moderate.

Seven Mile Market
201 Reisterstown Rd., Pikesville, 410-653-2000.
What You'll Find: The store boasts that it carries the largest selection of kosher products in the country. Along with its produce section, butcher, deli, and prepared foods (potato kugel, anyone?), there are dozens of variations of matzo crackers, an entire aisle devoted to all manner of canned fish: tuna, herring, salmon, kippers, gefilte, and products imported from Israel—including candles for Shabbat. Service: Even in a 55,000-square-foot grocery store, you can feel like you're visiting a kosher butcher on the Lower East Side. Best Bets: Look for a 12-pound brisket for your next holiday meal. Incredible Find: Vacuum-sealed pouches with ready-to-serve cuts of meat, a great way to enjoy a stuffed chicken breast with kishka without turning on the oven. Secret Ingredient: If you're a Nutella fan, you'll love the selection of chocolate spreads—Israel's answer to peanut butter.
Price Range: Moderate. 


Recipe

From the Farmer

Fattoush Salad

What's in it:
2 medium pita bread rounds
6 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 English cucumber, chopped
4 scallions, chopped
6 radishes, sliced
1 cup packed flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
½ cup mint leaves, chopped
1 cup purslane, stems removed, leaves chopped (optional)
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sumac powder (see note)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice

How to make it:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Cut open each pita bread into two rounds, transfer to a baking sheet, and toast in the oven until golden and crisp, seven to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Combine the tomato, cucumber, scallions, and radishes in a large salad bowl. Scatter the parsley, mint, and purslane, if using, on top of the vegetables.

Crumble the toasted pita bread on top and sprinkle the salad with salt and sumac. Whisk olive oil and lemon juice together, and pour into the salad. Toss lightly, and serve immediately. Serves 4-6.

Note: Sumac powder is available at Middle Eastern markets.

From One Straw Farm in "Dishing Up Maryland" by Lucie L. Snodgrass


Recipe

From the Farmer

Spring Greens With Cheese

What's in it:
2 pounds arugula, borage, chicory, dandelions, or mustard greens (or any combination of these), tough stems removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
Cayenne pepper
Salt and black pepper
2 ounces (½ cup shredded) Fontina cheese

How to make it:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Steam greens in batches over simmering water for 2 minutes. Rinse in cold water and squeeze out excess water.

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and sauté over low heat for about two minutes. Add greens, pinch of cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste; cook and stir for two minutes. Remove from heat, and let greens cool.

Divide greens into six portions and shape each into a ball. Place balls in a baking dish and make an indentation in the center of each ball, forming a little nest. Fill the indentations with grated cheese. Transfer the baking dish to the oven, and bake the nests for five minutes, until the cheese is melted. Serves 6.

From Calvert's Gift Farm in "Dishing Up Maryland" by Lucie L. Snodgrass 


Where Insiders Shop

Sean Dunworth
Owner, Regions Restaurant, Catonsville Gourmet
We go to the Catonsville farmers' market on Wednesdays and Sundays. We buy most of our produce there, including the pattypan squash and zucchini, local asparagus, and sweet and baking potatoes. We also like Han Ah Reum Mart [aka H Mart] on Rolling Road for Napa cabbage and baby bok choy since we make stir fry as a family at least once a week. I buy my bread at Atwater's bakery in Catonsville.

Gia Blatterman
Owner, Café Gia
We go to the farmers' market in Harbor East and the Jones Falls farmers' market at Fallsway. I love DiPasquale's in Highlandtown and Trinacria on Paca Street for cheese, infused oils, and infused balsamic vinegar. I also go to Ceriello [Fine Foods] in Belvedere Market. They have an awesome little spot.

Alfie Himmelrich
Owner, Stone Mill Bakery
I like Mastellone for mozzarella and Wegmans for fresh clams. I go to H Mart for Asian groceries, including lemongrass; Scittino's in Catonsville is the best Italian market ever. I buy the Peruvian chicken at Pollo Amigo on York Road and go next door to the Mercado Latino for Latino specialty items. The best Hispanic market is Cinco de Mayo on Eastern Avenue. 


Recipe

From the Farmer

Baked Penne With Bison Italian Sausage

What's in it:
1 (12-ounce) box penne pasta
1 pound Bison Hot Italian Sausage, sliced
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup white wine
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced
tomatoes with garlic
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 cups shredded
mozzarella cheese

How to make it:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Place sausage, onion, and olive oil in a deep skillet. Cook over medium heat until evenly browned.

Add white wine to skillet; cook for 1 minute, stirring to deglaze pan. Stir in tomato sauce and tomato paste. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Toss with cooked pasta, and place in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle top with cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serves 6.

From Gunpowder Bison & Trading Co., Monkton, Maryland


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