There’s a quirky state-of-mind that many Delaware residents have developed over the past few years:
“I will never, ever buy a store-bought peach again. Instead, I will endeavor to eat them by the score during the few weeks of summer when they can be purchased in the absolute prime state of yumminess.”
Okay, that’s corny, and exaggerated . . . but not by much. Because for a few weeks every summer Delaware’s farmers markets offer the most extraordinary peaches from two major local farms, Bennett Orchards in Frankford and Fifer Orchards in Wyoming.
These peaches have become legendary for a couple of reasons. First and foremost because they’re usually picked within 12 hours of being offered for sale at farmers markets and other local venues. That means they’re delivered at the prime time for ripeness.
Second, peaches in general are very difficult to harvest and market if they have to be transported a long way before they’re sold. That’s why peaches harvested in places like Georgia are often picked before they probably should be, and expected to ripen en route or on your kitchen windowsill. Yes, they can still be pretty good. But they’re rarely as sweet and full of juice as these local babies!
Even better, they’re just one of many offerings from farmers markets that take place throughout the state. I’ve compiled this list to help you find one close to home if you live somewhere near the coast, which was easy because Bill and I live in Lewes.
If you live closer to Delaware’s middle or upper reaches you can check out sites such as usabynumbers.com or farmersmarket.net or check with your neighbors. Either way I’m absolutely certain you’ll find a good local market because the First State is still an agricultural powerhouse offering all kinds of fresh produce and other items year-round.
Right now, at the height of summer, here are some favorites near the beach.
The Historic Lewes Farmers Market has become renowned for the large number of farmers, bakers and meat and seafood vendors who offer their wares as often as three times a week. All of these folks use organic and sustainable farming methods and are carefully vetted for the way they treat their livestock and land.
It’s also become a favorite for all kinds of activities that take place, including games and educational offerings for kids and cooking and health activities for adults.
The Saturday market, which usually takes place at George H.P. Smith Park at Johnson & Dupont Avenues by Block House Pond, is especially popular because of its size and charming setting. It’ll be there from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. until September before moving to Lewes Elementary School for the Fall.
You can also pick up great goods at the Wednesday market from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Crooked Hammock, located on Kings Highway.
Check out hours and locations on their website.
Another favorite along the coast is the Rehoboth Beach Farmers Market. You’ll find lots of fresh local produce here along with terrific local seafood as well as wild-caught fish from elsewhere, along with crafts, herbs, desserts and locally-made bakery items.
It happens every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from May through September in shady Grove Park right behind the Rehoboth Visitors Center on Rehoboth Avenue just as you come into town.
If you live near the southernmost reaches of Sussex County check out the Bethany Beach Farmers Market, located at Garfield Parkway and Pennsylvania Avenue. Operating on Sundays between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., It also features a tremendous array of locally-farmed items along with all kinds of great experiences for shoppers and everyone who enjoys learning about sustainable agriculture.
Last week we wrote about beautiful historic Berlin, Maryland, which is about 45 minutes west of the beach and well-known for its lovely downtown and its Farmers Market as well. It happens every Sunday between May and September from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and features farm goods, seafood, meat, eggs and other items. If you don’t live close by it’s well-worth a day trip since you can stock up on farmers market items in the a.m. and stroll through dozens of charming downtown shops the rest of the day, with a stop for lunch at one of several great restaurants.
Another great day trip if you live downstate or even in the middle of the state is Milford, with its farmers market operating on Saturdays during the summer from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by lots of activities throughout the fall.
This is another spot emphasizing produce and other goods from local farms along with prepared foods, crafts and artwork alongside a beautiful and historic downtown.