Lately I’ve split my time between Massachusetts and Maryland houses. Packing up one and preparing the other for arrival. Amidst the chaos which is packing and preparing, I’ve spent a little time exploring my new home.
One of my favorite discoveries is the Amish culture of Maryland. Being from Pennsylvania, I’m familiar with the life of the Amish. I’ve spent time in Lancaster, Bird-in-Hand and other Amish communities, appreciating their handiwork and especially enjoying their cuisine.
So when I discovered that my new town is very close to the Amish community, I was gleeful. For the past twenty years or so, I’ve lived in areas where farm stands are few and far between, local eggs have been almost impossible to find and fresh farm butter? Absolutely nonexistent.
That’s a thing of the past as I’m now an easy drive from dozens of farm stands and local food producers. It’s a foodie’s dream come true. One of my favorite finds was the Pennsylvania Dutch Farmers’ Market in Annapolis.
The market is located in a strip mall and looks unimpressive from the outside. But once you step in the doors, your senses are assaulted in the most welcome of ways. The scent of freshly fried chicken mingled with the sweet smell of fresh fried donuts will render you powerless against the calories that are sure to come.
If donuts are your thing, and how could they not be, then you’ll be in fried dough nirvana. Right in front of your eyes the donuts are freshly prepared. Bacon chocolate, Fruity Pebble topped, toasted coconut….. you name it, they make it. I was especially thrilled to find hot glazed apple fritters, my all time favorite.
Maybe you’re more of a sticky bun person. If so, then once again you will be beside yourself with joy as you watch the baker hand roll, cut and glaze more varieties than you even thought possible made right before you.
Seriously, cinnamon rolls for miles. I could watch the ladies make these for hours if I had the time. Make no doubt about it, I’ll be a regular spectator soon enough.
And if all of that isn’t enough to entice you to indulge, there are shelves stacked tall with freshly baked cakes, breads, cookies, muffins and other baked goods that I didn’t even know existed until this past weekend. If you are hankering for a sweet, I guarantee this is the place for you.
Just to the right of the bakery you will find a large meat case full of the loveliest cuts of meat. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, this is where I’ll buy my meats because not only are the prices competitive with the local grocery stores, the cuts of meat are of a higher quality. Just one look at the steaks sealed the deal in my mind.
And then there’s the deli. Locally cured bacon, freshly made scrapple and long ropes of farm sausage. Oh, and take a look at those ham hocks. Can you say bean or split pea soup? I predict next winter will be the year of the soup for my family.
And for the nights I don’t feel like cooking? Believe it or not, that happens on occasion. On those nights I’ll be picking up boxes of fresh fried chicken or smoky baby back ribs along with homemade potato and pasta salads from the deli. If I’m going to eat fast food, this is the way it’s going to happen.
Are you hungry yet? But wait! There’s more! Hidden in the way back of the market is one of the very best cheese counters I’ve ever seen. I used to think Whole Foods had the very best selection for cheeses. No longer. The Amish Market for the win. Not only do they have a vast selection of cheeses, the prices were the lowest I’ve seen. Hello epic cheese boards!
Next to the cheese case is a cooler filled with organic milk, local eggs, fresh churned butter and dozens of tubs of flavored cream cheeses. A dairy lover’s dream come true.
You can also find a vast selection of bulk spices, candies, dried fruits and nuts, savory salty snacks, fresh fruit and even flowers. The only thing they don’t sell are stretchy pants which might not be a bad idea to offer right when you walk through the doors.
If you’d like to visit the market, be sure to remember that they are only open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Check out their website for hours and be sure to bring your appetite. With all of the ready to eat foods waiting for you, you’re sure to satisfy any sweet or savory craving you might have.