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History of City Market part of program

July 06, 2007

The Hagerstown City Market, 25 W. Church St., is the oldest continuously operating farmers market in Maryland. Its long history will be highlighted as part of the Key Ingredients lecture series.

Ted and Colleen Garringer, market vendors, will moderate a discussion of "The Heritage of the City Farmers Market" on July 11 at 7 p.m. at the Washington County Rural Heritage Museum, 7313 Sharpsburg Pike, Boonsboro (Md. 65).

The public is invited to both learn about the market and add their memories to the history of this local landmark. Everyone who attends the market is part of its 200-plus years' history. Old pictures of the market will be especially welcome. With permission they will be copied and returned.

For more than a third of the market's long history, Dorothy Jones - the sprightly "Cookie Lady" has been on hand with cookies made from old family recipes. As an infant, she came to the market in a basket, carried by her grandmother. And she has been on hand at 5 a.m. nearly every Saturday morning since. Mrs. Jones was born in 1926 in the southern part of the county on the mountain near the Washington Monument. Mrs. Jones, the oldest of three sisters, attended the Zittlestown School through the fourth grade. Dorothy was brought up on her grandfather James H. Smith's farm, where they raised beef cattle, hogs, chickens and eggs as well as all their own vegetables. She recalls the early days when the market was twice its current size, also filling the space now occupied by the fire department.

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At market, the family sold everything they could grow or find in the wild. She caught wild rabbits, skinned, and then brought them to market in lard tins. Dorothy married her husband, Gerald Jones, just before he left for service in World War II. While he was gone, she worked at the Love Children's clothing factory in Boonsboro. For 30 years after the war she worked on the folding machine at the Hanover Shoe factory in Middletown, Md. - and hated it.

These days, Dorothy Jones sells a small selection of cookies - the luscious sugar cookies are made from her grandmother's recipe. Spring at the market officially arrives when Dorothy sets out huge bunches of pussywillows. Later in the season, she offers bouquets of old fashioned flowers - lilacs, peonies, zinnias and asters.

She just recently gave up growing vegetables when the deer invaded her garden. Today, at almost 81, when many people are sitting back in their rockers, the indomitable Mrs. Jones not only brings her baking talents to market but also works part time. Dorothy Jones is an energetic, living connection to three generations of food purveyors in Washington County. A reminder of life the way it used to be.

Key Ingredients - America by Food, will be on view at the Rural Heritage Museum until Aug. 4. During that time, the museum will be open Mondays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to noon and 4 to 9 p.m.; Fridays, noon to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m.

For additional information, call 240-313-2839. Directions: From I-70, exit 29, proceed south on Md. 65 toward Sharpsburg for about 7 miles. The Agricultural Education Center is on the left.

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