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Homegrown cookbook

Free publication gives market shoppers a hint about where food comes from

Free publication gives market shoppers a hint about where food comes from

October 31, 2007|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

On Saturday, vendors at the Hagerstown City Farmers Market will pass along more than good karma to patrons of locally grown produce.

The first 150 or so visitors to the market will receive "The City Farmers' Market Cookbook 2007," a free cookbook with recipes submitted by the market's vendors.

Vendors hope it will help them capitalize on the recent interest in supporting local growers and "knowing where your food comes from," said Colleen Garringer, a vendor and the market's liaison with the city.

The book has around 30 submissions, including Garringer's recipe for pumpkin soup, a combination of pumpkin, pured sweet potatoes and a bit of peanut butter.


There's also a recipe for Edwina Beachley's Rosemary Roasted Red Potatoes, an old family recipe. Beachley, who owns Mountainside Deli in Boonsboro, is a fan of hearty soups and prefers to make things from scratch - usually from things she and her husband grow.

In many ways, Beachley could be seen as the quintessential farmer's market vendor.

She is the daughter of a farmer. She's married to a farmer, William Beachley. She wants people to appreciate the months' worth of hard labor that went into the freshly plucked produce she and her husband sell at their booth (which goes by the name The Farmer's Daughter).

"These things aren't grown in a day," said Edwina Beachley, who lives just south of Boonsboro. "It's back-breaking work."

They've been coming to the market for the past eight years, Beachley said.

"With us able to cut out the middleman, I think we're able to offer fair prices," Beachley said.

Not all of the cookbook's contributors are farmers. Garringer and her husband, Ted, are in the photography business and they sell her husband's photos at their booth, Garringer Images.

In order to be a vendor, you must offer either homemade or homegrown goods, Garringer said.

Market-goers also have varied expectations - some looking for food, others looking for goods. Garringer described the crowd like this:

The Hard-core Breakfast People. They are the older Hagerstonians who have been coming to the market for years. They get there by at least 5:30 a.m.

The Shoppers. They want to get first dibs on the seasonal produce. "The farmers are pretty much cleaned out by noon." They usually arrive by 7 or 8 a.m.

Families and Transplants - people with kids, out-of-towners and newcomers to the market. They usually arrive later in the day.

Still, Garringer said they'd like to see more people at the market - "the people who say, 'I used to go' or 'Oh, I've been meaning to go,'" she said.

Many believe the Hagerstown farmers market is one of the oldest farmers markets in the country. The date most commonly associated with the market's birth is 1791, the same date as the founding of Hagerstown, said Jennifer Kram, recreation assistant for the city.

But Kram said other records have recently emerged and suggest that the market existed in 1783. The market has been located on West Church Street since the 1920s.

Kram said the city released a similar cookbook about five years ago.

If you go ...

WHAT: Hagerstown City Farmers Market. Free copies of "The City Farmers' Market Cookbook 2007" will be distributed.

WHEN: 5 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 3. The market is open Saturdays, year-round

WHERE: 25 W. Church St., Hagerstown

COST: Free admission

MORE: For more information, call 301-739-8577, ext. 183, or go to

Upcoming Hagerstown City Farmers Market events:

Nov. 3 - "Taste of the Place." Cookbook giveaway, food samples and cooking demonstrations.

Nov. 10 - Apple-cooking contest. Vendors will bring apple dishes to be judged.

Nov. 17 - Thanksgiving dinner basket drawing. Food, gifts and gift certificate donations from the city and market vendors. Free to enter. Lou Scally will broadcast his radio show live from 8:30 to 10 a.m.

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