Secretary Vilsack and Governor O'Malley Kick-off "Buy Local Challenge" Week July 23-31; Cookout Features Locally Grown Recipes Created by Selected Chefs
Governor and First Lady O'Malley today, joined by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, hosted the fourth annual "Buy Local" cookout and officially kicked-off Maryland's "Buy Local Challenge" week, which encourages Marylanders to incorporate at least one locally-grown, produced or harvested product into their meals each day. They also announced Holly Emmons, food services manager at Union Hospital, and Craig Sewell, owner of Cook's Café, as recipients of this year's Smart Green and Growing Buy Local Agricultural Challenge Awards.
Governor O'Malley has designated July 23-31, 2011 as "Buy Local Challenge Week" in Maryland to raise awareness about the benefits of local farms and food so that the use of fresh, local products among consumers becomes more familiar and more frequent. The cookout featured recipes from 17 teams of local producers and chefs from across the State showcasing the diversity of local products available in Maryland.
"Katie and I challenge all Maryland residents, institutions and organizations to expand their purchases of locally grown products for their favorite dishes and to try some new ones," said Governor O'Malley. "Buying locally is key to ensuring a Smart, Green and Growing future for Maryland families. It preserves farmland, protects the environment, keeps our money in Maryland while creating and saving jobs, and provides fresh, nutritious food for a healthy diet. We are committed to the success of our agricultural industry and are delighted to host this cookout to make Marylanders aware of all of the locally-grown options our State has to offer."
Prior to the cookout, USDA Secretary Vilsack held a roundtable forum with more than two dozen farmers to talk about issues facing Maryland producers today. "The Obama Administration is committed to developing local and regional markets to provide new income opportunities for farmers and to connect consumers with locally-grown food produced right in their communities," said Vilsack. "Today's discussion with local producers was an opportunity to highlight the diversity and strength of Maryland agriculture and the state's commitment to promoting new agricultural marketing opportunities that will create jobs and help rural communities thrive."
For this year's Buy Local Cookout, 17 teams of local producers and chefs were selected to showcase the diversity of local products available in Maryland for farmers; food buyers from groceries, restaurants and institutions; chefs; and "buy local" advocates on the front lawn of the Government House in Annapolis. The recipes were submitted by chef/producer teams and selected for their creativity, availability of ingredients, geographic representation, and maximum use of local ingredients.
"Including local, seasonal foods in our meals is easier than ever and buying local food helps our farmers, our environment, economy, and the health of our families," said Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance. "Today, there are more than 130 farmers' markets in Maryland. Community Supported Agriculture farms are thriving, and grocery stores are tapping into the demand for local farm and seafood products while saving transportation costs to bring the most nutritious, great-tasting food to our plates. The number of pick-your-own operations, roadside farm stands, and on-farm markets is growing too."
In addition to the selected chefs and producers, Roseda Beef, Honest Tea, Kilby Cream, Prigel Family Creamery, Maryland Wineries Association, Amber Fields Malting and Brewing Company, and Willow Oak Flower and Herb Farm donated their products for the cookout.
The Challenge, created in 2006 by the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission, has grown since into a statewide initiative. This year, Governor O'Malley invited teams of a chef and one or more farmer, waterman or producer to submit recipes featuring locally grown, raised or harvested ingredients. Nearly 40 recipes were submitted in the categories of appetizers, side dishes or salads, main dishes, desserts, and beverages. All 40 recipe submissions are available online at: http://www.mda.state.md.us/pdf/cookbook11.pdf. The Maryland Wineries Association recommended wine pairings for each recipe.
The cookbook is being published by Apprentice House, which is the country's only campus-based, student-staffed book publishing company. Directed by professors and industry professionals, it is a non-profit activity of the Communication Department at Loyola University Maryland. Using state-of-the-art technology and an experiential learning model of education, Apprentice House publishes books in untraditional ways. This dual responsibility as publishers and educators creates an unprecedented collaborative environment among faculty and students, while teaching tomorrow's editors, designers, and marketers.
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