by Heather Morris

Whether you are looking for a ready-made bite to eat or groceries for the week, a fun gift, or just looking to get out of the house, the farmers’ markets in Carroll County might have just what you need. Located throughout the county, farmers’ markets offer fresh, locally-grown produce, handmade crafts and gifts and entertainment. Below is a quick snapshot of what each market has to offer, and you can also visit their websites and Facebook pages for the latest information on vendors, events and weekly updates.

Carroll County Farmers’ Market

In its 48th year, the Carroll County Farmers’ Market is the second-oldest in the county and offers multiple offerings, including local wines and bourbon, meats, cheeses, handmade baked goods, dips, jams, jellies, candies, farm-fresh eggs, produce and handmade crafts. The market is broken into seasons: The spring season includes the Spring Fling, the Easter Show and the Mother’s Day Show and hosts about 75 vendors. The summer season hosts 40-50 vendors and runs from June 15 through Sept. 7. This season holds special events including Opening Day (June 15), Christmas in July, and the Peach Festival (Aug. 10). The Heirloom Tomato Festival (Aug. 17), which is held in conjunction with several master gardeners, will have recipes to share, a variety of tomatoes, seed exchanges and tastings. Several workshops from the gardeners will take place over the summer on topics such as gardening, weeds and bugs. The Fall Show will be on Oct. 7, and the Christmas Market runs from Nov. 2 through Dec. 14 and hosts over 100 vendors.
Carroll County Agriculture Center, Westminster • Open Saturdays Mar. 23 – Dec. 14 (Spring/Winter 8 a.m.-2 p.m.; Summer/Fall 8 a.m.-1 p.m.) •

Carroll Hospital Center Farmers’ Market

The Carroll Hospital Center Farmers’ Market features a selection of fresh local produce and baked goods. It offers a unique weekday opportunity to shop for fresh and local foods. Set up right on the hospital’s campus, this market is a great way for the hospital to promote health and wellness to its staff, visitors and the community.
Carroll Hospital Center Parking Garage (third level), Westminster • Open Thursdays June 20 – Sept. 19 (11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.) •

Downtown Westminster Farmers’ Market

The Downtown Westminster Farmers’ Market is the county’s oldest producer-only and longest continuous market with 27 full weeks of operation. The market carries prepared foods, baked items, cheeses, dog treats, local wine, flowers, produce and meats from about two dozen vendors (including a couple of organic vendors this year). One Saturday per month will feature a Kids’ Day with activities, and one Saturday per month will be a Nonprofit Day, allowing a local nonprofit organization to host a table to discuss and provide information about their initiatives. There is also live music and free Wi-Fi.
Railroad Avenue, Westminster • Open Saturdays May 18 – Nov. 23 (8 a.m.-noon) •

Hampstead Farmers’ Market

The Hampstead Farmers’ Market celebrates its 10-year anniversary this year with raffles and other fun events throughout summer. The big celebration is scheduled for Aug. 3, which will also kick off National Farmers’ Market Week. The market has 30 vendors signed on for 2019, offering local produce, meats, cheeses, breads, fresh-cut flowers, coffee, crab cakes, baked goods and other delights. Craft vendors offer jewelry, soaps, stained glass and crocheted items. Visitors will also enjoy live music and a chef from a local nonprofit will prepare breakfast each week.
Hampstead Fire Department Grounds, 1341 N. Main Street, Hampstead • Open Saturdays June 1 – Sept. 28 (8:30 a.m.-noon) •

Mount Airy Main Street Farmers’ Market

This market’s primary focus is to bolster the agricultural community in the area, so the few craft vendors in attendance each have some sort of agricultural component to them. One, for example, may do weaving demonstrations with wool sourced from a local farm. Another may make necklaces or crafts which contain air plants. However, most of the 25-plus vendors sell food, offering items such as fresh produce, meats, cheeses, honey and crab cakes. There is a pizza maker on site who uses fresh ingredients from other vendors to make unique pizzas. Roughly half of the vendors are there weekly, while the other half rotate out on a part-time basis to keep the market offerings fresh and new each week. Food and nutrition demonstrations and live music are also part of the attraction.
3 N. Main St., Mt. Airy (Behind the Historic Mount Airy Train Station) • Open Wednesdays May 15 – Sept. 25 (3 p.m.-7 p.m.; closed July 3) •

Sykesville Farmers’ Market

The Sykesville Farmers’ Market is located on Baldwin Drive close to the Main Street shops and attractions, so that the event can become a community gathering which supports all of Sykesville’s local merchants. Along with over 40 food and craft vendors offering local produce, herbs, olives, meats, baked goods, and jewelry, the market provides family-friendly entertainment to keep the kids engaged as well. Circus performers, Lego activities, visits from the Science Guys of Baltimore, farm animals, moon bounces, model trains and other children’s games and activities are part of the market’s offerings. Merritt Athletic Club will also be providing fitness activities this year.
Baldwin Drive, Sykesville • Open Sundays May 19 – Oct. 27 (9 a.m.-1 p.m.) •

Taneytown Farmer’s Market

The Taneytown Farmers’ Market is small but growing, and hoping to become the go-to market for local residents. The market currently has produce, fresh-cut flowers, herbs, potted plants, baked goods, cheese and a few crafts as well. With a consistent location and potential new vendors in the works, the market plans to grow and offer new items throughout the season and in the years to come.
Parking lot of New Beginnings Christian Learning Center, Taneytown • Open Saturdays May 25 – Sept. 28 (8 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) •