Imagine sitting down to a meal that you’ve prepared many times before, but this time it tastes different. The flavors are sharper, richer. The reason for the difference is simple. The fruits and vegetables on your plate were on vines and trees that morning.
“We go out to the farms in the morning and pick the produce fresh and bring it to the store,” said Andrew Wetten, owner of Carroll County Farm Fresh in Sykesville. “You can eat that night what was growing at 5 a.m. that morning.”
The store has only been open for eight months, but as its reputation grows, so has its offerings. Besides fresh produce, you can get locally sourced meat, ice cream, pies, dressings, honey, candles, body washes, and more.
“There’s so many clever people in Carroll and so many amazing things they grow and produce,” Wetten said.
Carroll County Farm Fresh works with a number of local farms and artisans. Before the store begins carrying a farm’s products, Wetten inspects the farm to make sure that the best practices are being followed and that it is 100 percent organic. In particular, he also makes sure that the animals on the farm are well treated and cared for.
The products the farm is selling must also be locally produced. Some farms supplement their offerings with items that are produced elsewhere and relabeled with a local farm’s logo. These products don’t make it to the shelves of Carroll County Farm Fresh.
For the farmers who are willing to go the extra mile to meet Wetten’s standards, they get something in return. Lots of sales.
“We push and promote the farms that we work with,” he said. “It’s not about us. It’s about the producer and the farm. We give value added to our suppliers.” Wetten wants people to come into the store and ask for products from particular farms.
Currently, Carroll County Farm Fresh works with at least 20 farms, according to Wetten. However, that number can vary depending on the season or whether or not a farm can keep up with the demand for their product.
While the reach of a single store is limited, Wetten’s goal is for Carroll County Farm Fresh to be known for its delivery service. Products can be ordered online and are delivered daily to Carroll, Howard, Baltimore, and Frederick County locations.
- Carroll County Farm Fresh is part of a 90-acre family farm in Sykesville, but the farm is not a supplier for the store. It supplies feed to livestock farms.
- Products in Carroll County Farm Fresh come from Maryland farms with an emphasis on Carroll County farms.
- Offers online purchasing and free shipping for orders over $35.
- All meats are frozen immediately after cutting to lock in the freshness.
- Pies are baked on Friday so Saturday shoppers can purchase them fresh on the weekend. You can order them ahead of time, and they’ll be waiting for you.
- All meats come from grass-fed animals that aren’t injected with growth hormones.
- Besides fresh, organic foods, you will also find canned fruits and vegetables, jams, honey, candles, and local beers and wines.
- A car recently struck the store damaging it. Luckily, things were repaired during the store’s normal days closed.
- All items are 100 percent guaranteed.
- Wetten considered adding a morning coffee café to the operation with locally grown coffee, but he decided that he couldn’t compete with the big boys like Starbuck’s, plus the early morning coffee hours were when his employees were picking up produce from around the region.
Carroll County Farm Fresh 2802 Liberty Road, Sykesville, MD 21784 • www.carrollcountyfarmfresh.com • 410-875-7502