I am a huge fan of my local Rancho Santa Fe Farmer's Market and can truthfully say; I attend most Sundays. So when I was visiting my friend in Maryland this past June, and she suggested we make a trip to her local Farmer's Market, I jumped at the opportunity. I was even more excited about the outing when I discovered; we were going to an Amish Market.
I am a total sucker for adventures big or small, and I get so excited about seeing and experiencing new things. When we arrived, the market was quite crowded. Like most farmer's markets, the Charlotte Hall market offers local produce and fresh cut flowers. However, besides what I expected to see, I was pleasantly surprised by three primary differences:
1. The Amish Market is a family affair. Unlike most market's I have been to, each booth was operated by a family unit. The corn stall, for example, had a young boy who took the money for my purchase while a young woman ensured the corn was stacked properly. At the same time, an older man was unloading the buggy and providing more corn for the woman to stack.
2. The homemade baked goods were without a doubt made in someone's home. It is not unusual to see freshly baked goods sold at a farmer's market however normally it is a bakery or catering service who brings the baked items to sell. In this case, it was several generations of Amish women who baked the goods in their homes each week and brought them to the market to sell.
3. At the Amish market, the saying cash only, actually means cash only with no exceptions. The Amish, traditional farmers who reject the use of machinery and other modern convenience do not accept any form of payment which would require an electronic device to process. On a positive note, we bought everything we needed to make a fresh, healthy dinner for 3 for under $20.00. So although you need to bring cash, a little goes a long way.
Lastly, I was determined to debunk a few common misconceptions. I had read somewhere that for the Amish, allowing your photograph to be taken is forbidden, so I asked. I was told by the woman we asked permission to photograph that photography is allowed. The caveat is that the Amish are not allowed to interact with the camera. All of the vendors seemed to have arrived in a horse drawn buggy. It turns out that while the Amish are forbidden to own a car, they may ride in one, especially for long journeys. Most modern technology is not allowed including radio, television, use of the internet, use of tractors for farming it turns out that most Amish communities allow the use of motorized washing machines. I am not sure why but as a mother of three, I was very relieved by that little tidbit.
A very fulfilling outing at a very quaint market, I do hope I have the opportunity to go back to Charlotte Hall, MD for another visit.