Touting the Best of Maryland’s Farm

Gov. Martin O’Malley at the Fifth Annual Maryland Buy Local Cookout in Annapolis July 19.
Gov. Martin O’Malley at the Fifth Annual Maryland Buy Local Cookout in Annapolis July 19.

The goals of the Maryland’s Best Program -- now in its 11th year and run by the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Office of Marketing -- are to promote Maryland agricultural products and to encourage consumers to buy locally produced and grown products in the Maryland and D.C. areas through advertising and marketing promotions.

The program works closely with grocery retailers, restaurants and institutional buyers to help them source locally and show them the benefits of carrying locally grown and produced food. In 2012, a poll conducted by the University of Baltimore’s Schaefer Center found that 78 percent of Marylanders said they would prefer to purchase and consume fruits and vegetables identified as having been grown in Maryland.

We strive to increase consumer preference towards local and help to identify local products so that they can be easily found. We also look to continue and increase our partnership with restaurant and retailer buyers to raise awareness of the great local options in Maryland when sourcing ingredients and food.

This was our primary purpose for helping to sponsor this year’s Chefs Go Fresh tour. Another event which we put on to help restaurants and grocery retail buyers connect with local producers is our Buyer-Grower Event, held every January in Annapolis. Be sure to visit our web site -- www.marylandsbest.net -- where consumers can search for locally produced agriculture products.

-- Stone Slade of Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Office of Marketing

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