by Lisa Tome
If George Lutz has his way, farm to table is about to take off in Cecil County.
Lutz, owner of the Mauldin Avenue, North East building which currently houses the Day Basket Factory and a collection of antique dealers, has now expanded to include a farmer's market at the location.
He's working to get it off the ground. The business is trading as Mauldin Avenue Farmer's Market.
"We want to enhance what we have and attract more people," said Lutz.
Lutz already has attracted local sellers. Detweiler's Farm of Elkton is selling coffee and other items. They'll soon add free range chickens.
Vic Priapi of Priapi Gardens in Cecilton is offering organic produce. An organic food co-op will be started. This is set for spring but may kick off sooner.
Magnolia Bread of Sudlersville is supplying all kinds of breads including the famous and much sought after Maryland beaten biscuits. They also have sweet potato biscuits and breads made with specialty wheat.
Other offerings include natural and flavored peanut butter, Eve's cheese, Randalia Bee honey, Cosmic Bean and Mennonite mission coffee, Little Barn noodles of Honeybrook, Pa., maple syrup, vinegars and oils and Wilmington Pickling Company.
After the new year, ice cream and frozen meats will arrive at the market.
In an effort to attract business, items have been offered up for samples in the North East business district. "It's word of mouth, literally," said Lutz.
The market is open everyday except Tuesdays from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Lutz wants to establish the indoor business now and expand to outdoors when the weather warms up. He said that selling food in the store makes sense. The building was once an Acme Market.
He said both he and his wife have agricultural ties. They are working to reclaim that. "We've lost our way when it comes to supporting agriculture," he said.
The farmers will rent space, Lutz said it is affordable. Staff at the market handles the transactions, and the farmers do not have to be on site.
"I'm an Eastern Shore boy. I'm proud that you have to pay to get in this county," said Lutz.
Local growers/producers who are interested in being part of Mauldin Avenue Farmer's Market may call 410-287-6100.
"Grow with us. We're sowing seeds and this is a seed," said Lutz.
In time for the holidays, the vendors have teamed up to produce baskets filled with various products. The Magnolia Bread Company is also taking orders for specialty biscuits and breads.
"You can spend $20-$40 here and are walking out with something you like," added Lutz.