Frederick County is home to over 1,300 farms with more than 181,500 acres of farmland. Agriculture and local businesses are a pillar of life in Frederick. Supporting these businesses allows the local economy to thrive and helps our community. Buying from a local farm protects the environment as it cuts down on the distance food travels and allows you to choose foods that don’t contain chemicals, pesticides, hormones, or antibiotics.
Shopping locally doesn’t have to be expensive. If every household purchased just $12 worth of farm products for eight weeks, over $200 million would be put back into the pockets of Frederick County farmers. Here are 10 ways you can buy local and save money:
- Look for products with the Homegrown Here logo. You can find these on menus, at farmers markets, and at grocery stores. This logo guarantees you are getting fresh products and supporting local farmers.
- Common Market Co-Op, a partner of LiveWell Frederick, offers local, organic, gluten-free, and hormone-free foods at competitive prices. They provide tons of savings with Co-op Deals, Bundle Deals, and Co-op Stock-Up Case deals. These sales change every two weeks, so you can keep healthy staples stocked. Common Market accepts food stamps/EBT and offers a 5% discount to those 60 years old and above every Wednesday.
- Search the Frederick County Farm Directory for farms with locally grown products. There’s even an option to select a category for the products you’re looking for like honey, pumpkins, or eggs.
- Join a CSA. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is becoming increasingly popular in Frederick County. Some Frederick County farmers offer “shares” to the public that interested consumers can purchase and in return receive seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season. Many farms offer specials, reduced prices, and access to pick-your-own produce for members.
- Shop at a local farmers market. The Farmers Market Coalition states that local farmers’ markets return over three times as much of their sales to the local economy than chain retailers. Farmers markets allow you to enjoy local foods. This guide lists farmers markets, CSAs, and orchards located in and around Frederick County.
- Eat only in-season fruits and vegetables. Picking produce that is in season ensures you will have the freshest fruits and vegetables. In-season produce is also much less expensive than out-of-season produce, which is typically shipped from other states or countries.
- Join Frederick Health Rewards. For simply signing up, you receive discounts to local health and wellness related businesses, including fitness clubs, top restaurants, farmers markets, and more.
- Grow your own food. Seeds, which can be purchased from local farmers markets, are inexpensive and can lead to a bountiful harvest in your backyard. You can grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs in your yard, a rooftop garden, or even in a pot on your windowsill. You don’t have to have a large amount of space to grow your own food. You can use this winter garden planner and checklist to help you schedule your gardening plans.
- Avoid unnecessary purchases at big retailers. By shopping at a farmers market or co-op, you can avoid impulse buys that you might find at bigger stores—many of which are unhealthy. You won’t waste money on foods like chips, soda, or candy since those local markets don’t offer those products.
- SHARE Food Network, a sustainable, social enterprise of Catholic Charities, provides healthy groceries at a fraction of grocery store prices. A new menu is available every month, and families can get grocery packages at a roughly 50% discount. Packages include four to six pounds of frozen proteins and eight to 12 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables. Thousands of volunteer hours make it possible for SHARE to feed thousands of families and individuals each month. Everyone is welcome to purchase food packages—there’s no application, qualification, identification, or documentation required.