Just across the Washington, DC border is Silver Spring, an unincorporated city in Montgomery County, Maryland. Home to the Discovery Channel, the American Film Institute Silver Theatre, and an ever-growing collection of creative entrepreneurs, Silver Spring is far from your typical strip mall suburb.
Each Saturday, the center of the downtown business district is blocked off and filled with produce vendors from throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed in Maryland, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
The downtown Silver Spring market is part of FRESHFARM Markets, which strives to provide education in matters of local food, environmental issues and economic growth for local farmers. The markets also participate in SNAP dollars and gleaning programs, in which (often misshapen) produce that cannot be sold is donated to food banks throughout the region.
The market is rife not only with rich seasonal produce, artisan food products, baked goods and pasture-raised meats, but with stories. Each farm has a unique history and place in the community.
Holly Leber is a writer and editor based in Silver Spring, Md. When she’s not hunting for stories, she can be found going on produce-related shopping sprees, making jam, wine tasting and reading 1930’s Nancy Drew. Holly is the editorial director of The Daily Do Good.