October 27th, 2017

A Mountain Market’s Legacy

by Nate Charnas

The Mountain Fresh Farm Market in Oakland, MD has been around for almost three decades, and while it continues to bring in new vendors (including four new in 2017 alone), most of the farmers have been selling at the market for the better part of its existence. Some farmers even grew up working for their parents at the market and have now started selling produce from their own farms, which all located in Maryland’s westernmost counties or in West Virginia.

The market is especially popular with tourists that visit the area during the summer, and there’s always a big celebration at the market’s Labor Day corn roast. Last year there was also a quilt festival, with beautiful quilts hung all around the large, barn-like structure that houses the market. The crowds usually thin considerably in the fall, but the farmers stay until the end of October.  “If it’s snowing, they’re here,” says Darlene, the market manager.

Four years ago, after selling as a vendor at Mountain Fresh for two years with her husband Dave, Darlene took over market management duty. The pair still sell at the market under the name Sunnyside Wool, and if you stop by their table, you can pick up wool, needles, needle felting tools, and plenty of other supplies to make some warm and comfortable clothes. They even offer recycled materials like denim. Since summer isn’t always the most convenient time to buy wool, Darlene also sells at fall events like the Mountain Heritage Arts and Crafts Show. When not managing the market or selling their goods, Darlene and Dave tend to their herd of sheep, goats, chickens, a llama, a miniature horse, and a donkey.

Mountain Fresh Farm Market is open Wednesday and Saturdays, 10am to 1pm, June to October. If you find yourself in Western Maryland, be sure to check it out!

About the Author Nate Charnas

Nate Charnas is an AmeriCorps VISTA at MDFMA focusing on increasing benefits access for farmers market customers. He is originally from San Francisco and hopes the good people of Baltimore will accept all of his Giants clothing as a sign of solidarity with the Orioles.