ANNAPOLIS — Gov. Larry Hogan and First Lady Yumi Hogan hosted the 11th Annual Buy Local Cookout at Government House on July 19. This event officially recognized “Maryland Buy Local Week,” which encourages Marylanders to incorporate at least one locally grown, produced, or harvested product into their meals each day.

Hogan officially declared July 21-29 as “Maryland Buy Local Week” to raise awareness about the benefits of local farms and food so that Marylanders will become more familiar and more frequent consumers of fresh, local products.

“The annual Buy Local Cookout is a celebration of the thriving agriculture and seafood industries that we have right here in our state,” Hogan said. “Every year, I look forward to this event, as it is an opportunity to recognize our farmers, producers, and watermen for the valuable role they play in Marylanders’ lives every single day. The chefs at this year’s cookout have masterfully crafted recipes that represent the best of Maryland grown and harvested products, and I thank each talented chef that submitted recipes for this year’s event.”

 

This year’s event comes as many crab processors on the Eastern Shore are facing significant losses due to a shortage of H-2B visas for temporary workers. While the administration continues to work with federal partners to find a long-term solution, the state is exploring all options to provide immediate support to this important industry. The Board of Public Works recently approved $375,000 from the contingency fund to be used for a marketing and outreach campaign that will aim to boost sales of Maryland blue crab meat.

The Buy Local Challenge, created in 2006 by the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission, has grown into a statewide initiative that has continued to expand. In its 2012 Policy Choices Survey, the University of Baltimore Schaefer Center for Public Policy found that more than 78 percent of Marylanders said they want to buy produce grown by a Maryland farmer.

“With dairy farms in Frederick, crab operations on the Eastern Shore, wineries in Harford, and much more, Maryland has an abundance of diverse local products,” said Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “Buying locally not only benefits Maryland farmers, but also entire communities, local economies, and the state at-large. I encourage all residents to participate in the ‘Buy Local Challenge’ and find Maryland-made products.”

Earlier this year, Hogan invited teams of chefs and producers to submit original recipes that highlight the diversity of local products. Some 27 recipes were submitted and 16 were selected. Yumi Hogan and Government House chefs provided an entrée and dessert for the cookout. This year also featured recipes by student chefs from Talbot County Public Schools Culinary Arts Program, Annapolis High School ProStart Culinary Team, and Caroline Career and Technology Center.

All recipe submissions have been compiled and published in the 2018 Buy Local Cookout Recipes, which includes wine, beer, or spirits pairing recommendations. This year’s cookbook and all previous cookbooks are available for free on the department’s website.

In addition to those contributing to the recipes featured at the cookout, the Brewers Association of Maryland, George’s Mixes, Honest Tea, Greenstreet Gardens, Maryland Distillers Guild, Maryland Wineries Association, and two of the nine dairy farms on Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Trail – Kilby Cream and South Mountain Creamery – also provided products for the event. Musical entertainment was provided by The Geckos.

Agriculture contributes $8.25 billion annually and 45,600 jobs to Maryland’s economy every year, according to a University of Maryland Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics 2013 report. Attendees included agricultural leaders, producers, chefs, buyers from grocery stores, restaurants and institutions, and legislators.

For more information, including menu stats, benefits of buying local and more, visit the Maryland Department of Agriculture website. Find local Maryland products, locate a farmers market and more at: www.marylandsbest.net.