Written by Susan Elnicki Wade
July 2016

Forget those soggy sandwiches in the cooler and leave your can opener in the drawer. The Chesapeake Bay offers a simpler and healthier way to feed your crew. Farmers’ markets are sprouting up all around the region as part of the field-to-table craze. Fresh meats, artisan cheeses, homemade breads and vegetables just plucked from the soil provide a nourishing alternative to fast-food feeding frenzies.

Plus, these outdoor marketplaces are pet friendly and much more entertaining for kids than a boring grocery or convenience store. Live music, chef demonstrations, home-spun crafts and recreational activities lend a festive feel to buying organic items for your galley. Here are 11 farmers’ markets located near or on the Chesapeake Bay, where shopping is fun and growers are friendly.

Annapolis FreshFarm Market – Annapolis, Md.

Open May 1 to Nov. 20, Sunday 8 a.m. to noon. but closed during boat shows. Located on Compromise and Main streets at the City Dock in downtown Annapolis. This waterfront market supports farmers and producers from the Mid-Atlantic region.

Where to Dock: Annapolis City Dock

Cambridge Main Street Farmers’ Market – Cambridge, Md.

Open May 6 to the end of Oct., Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Located in the parking lot of the former Cambridge City Hall and Guernsey County Courthouse. Special events include children’s activities, tastings, cooking demonstrations and nutritional clinics. (cambridgemainstreet.com)

Where to Dock: River Marsh Marina

Eastern Shore Farmers’ Market – Grasonville, Md.

Open early May to Oct., Friday and Saturday 8 a.m. to noon. Located across from Ewing Pond Park and Grasonville Elementary School. Eastern Shore growers, producers and artisans present local seasonal products in a lively rural setting.

Where to Dock: Piney Narrows Yacht Haven

Farmers’ Market at Baltimore Museum of Industry – Baltimore, Md.

Open May 7 to Nov. 26, Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (closed May 21 and Oct. 15). Located between Boyle and Webster streets overlooking Inner Harbor. In addition to fresh food and artisan wares, this urban market offers live music and family activities. (thebmi.org)

Where to Dock: Baltimore Marine Center at Harborview

Havre de Grace Farmers Market – Havre de Grace, Md.

Open May 7 to Nov. 19, Saturday 9 a.m. to noon. Located in Hutchins Park at the base of Congress Avenue overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. Founded in 1995, the market hosts 25 local vendors from beekeepers to pie makers, BBQ chefs and organic farmers. (havredegracefarmersmarket.com)

Where to Dock: Tidewater Marina

Irvington Farmers’ Market – Irvington, Va.

Open May to Dec. on the first Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Located in Irvington Commons behind Chesapeake Bank. The bustling market has a festival vibe with live entertainment and 100-plus vendors presenting local seafood, fresh meat and produce, dairy and baked goods, crafts, artwork and more.

Where to Dock: Tides Inn

Old Beach Farmers Market – Virginia Beach, Va.

Open Jan. to May, Saturday 9 a.m. to noon, June to Sept., Saturday 8 a.m. to noon, and Oct. to Dec., Saturday 9 a.m. to noon. Located at the corner of 19th Street and Cypress Avenue in the parking lot of Croc’s 19th Street Bistro. This market provides an assortment of local delicacies ranging from fresh produce and meats to flowers and Virginia wines. (oldbeachfarmersmarket.com)

Where to Dock: Cavalier Golf & Yacht Club

The Onancock Market – Onancock, Va.

Open May 7 to Oct. 31, 9 a.m. to noon. Located across from the post office about a block off the water between the north and central branches of Onancock Creek. Established in 2012, this venue gives local watermen, farmers and artisans the chance to show off their fresh seasonal products. (onancockmarket.com)

Where to Dock: Onancock Marina

Portsmouth Olde Towne Farmers Market – Portsmouth, Va.

Open May to Oct., Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Nov. to Dec., 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Located in the courtyard garden of Portsmouth’s historic courthouse, and a few blocks off the Elizabeth River. Chef and artist presentations, as well as kids’ activities and a variety of vendors, make this market especially fun. (portsmouthfarmersmarket.com)

Where to Dock: Tidewater Yacht Marina

St. Michaels FreshFarm Market – St. Michaels, Md.

Open April 16 to Oct. 8, Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Located in the public parking lot behind Shore BBQ,
between Talbot and Fremont streets. Established in 1998, this waterfront market showcases seasonal foods and offers cooking demonstrations by local chefs.

Where to Dock: St. Michaels Marina or Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

Yorktown Market Days – Yorktown, Va.

Open May 14 to Oct. 29 (except Oct. 1), Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Located between Buckner and Ballard streets on Riverwalk Landing on the York River. The 10th annual market hosts 35-plus farmers, vendors and
artists throughout the season with a variety of homegrown favorites. (yorktownmarketdays.com)

Where to Dock: York River Yacht Haven