By Gabrielle Rente
Elm Staff Writer
Every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to noon, Chestertown holds its award-winning Farmer’s Market. This local spectacle attracts farmers from all over the Eastern Shore to come out and sell their goods. Warmer weather means the artisans also return to partake in the market. This past weekend was the first day back for these resident artisans.
Walking around Fountain Park, one can expect to see a variety of products, from handbags, paintings, jewelry, and embroidery to potted plants, fresh produce, preserves, wine, and baked goods.
Locals describe the market not only as a place to find unique, high-quality products, but also as a place to catch up with familiar faces and socialize with friends. Many of the vendors have been attending the market for years. The Lapp Family Bakery has made an appearance at Fountain Park since 1992. They sell mouth-watering treats like pies, breads, granola, and cookies.
The Market also sees many furry faces. A person cannot walk more than a few footsteps before encountering a dog. Deer Valley Danes takes advantage of this dog-friendly atmosphere by selling organic dog treats. Owner Monika Phillips described the treats as “all natural freeze-dried.” On display were little bags of turkey hearts, dried cod, and lamb. She and her sister, who own three beautiful Great Danes, started the business to give back all the love pets share with us. They started attending the market last May.
Galena Blooms Farm has a variety of organic products for sale. “Sometimes life is funny …next thing you know, you own a flower farm,” Don Biggar said, sitting proudly behind his natural soap display. Across the pathway, his wife, Lisa, stood behind another table where she sold arrangements of flowers from their farm. The two have been attending the Farmer’s Market for more than 20 years. He explained that he makes 28 different soaps. This week, he made a special apple cinnamon soap, which he usually reserves for the fall, because of a special order for it. Biggar also sells natural body scrubs, facial cleansers, perfumes, medicinal salves, insect repellant, and even a natural spray to drive spiders away.
Another stand sold natural sheep wool. “No dyes or chemicals,” owner of Berry Bush Farms, Janet Ottenwaelder, said. Her table sported adorable crocheted sheep next to baskets of woven yarn. The business proudly owns 36 sheep and has aattended the market for more than eight years. She explained how she shears and collects the wool from each sheep and labels it individually. Each bundle of wool yarn has a label that identifies which sheep the wool came from. Next to their stand was a bulletin board describing various sheep markings and all the wonderful traits of wool. Ottenwaelder went on to explain how wool is naturally water repellent and fire retardant. This is an ideal stand to check out for anyone who crochets or knits.
Fresh faces are also to be found at the Farmer’s Market. The Nautical Connection is a small art business “inspired by nature.” They sell upcycled objects found on the beach, like stones, bottlecaps, and driftwood, which are transformed into decorative signs sporting Maryland pride and patriotic symbols. They also have a special collection of Harry Potter wands and art, a perfect spot for Potterheads to stock up on memorabilia.