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Jun 10, 2010 06:45 PM

Amish In Baltimore City

Well, it appears as though Baltimore City now has it's own Amish three day market. I have occasionally visited the Cockeysville/Hunt Valley Market (used to shop at the Carrol County location when it was in business).

So, It's a "treat" to have an Amish Market nearby to my home. I tend to gravitate to the baked goods and some prepared vegetables. My hubby loves the candy section (stuff he can buy anywhere--but he seems intriqued by their selection).

Have only once or twice purchased meats from the Hunt Valley location. The steak was sub-par. Could have gotten better quality at Giant or even Super Fresh.

So, why am I enchanted with these types of markets? Nothing really sensational or exceptional. Just fun shopping in an attentive atmosphere perhaps??

Oh, lest I forget. I have found that there are some quality cheeses at competitive prices.

Since I haven't ventured out to the newest location, would love to hear opinions of any Chowhound who has shopped there. FoiGras

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  1. The Baltimore Sun had an article about the new Patapsco Dutch Farmer's market in yesterday's "Taste" section. They point out that "Amish" doesn't mean natural, organic or locally-produced. Chicken comes from Sysco, beef from huge feed lots in the midwest, baked goods are made with partially hydrogenated oils and trans fats. They caught one Amish vendor in a lie saying that his beef was grass-pastured in Lancaster County when in fact it was processed by John F. Martin and Sons, one of the largest industrial meat processors in the US who gets their beef from feed lots all over the midwest. That's not to say they all misrepresent their product or that they don't have the same right to sell such products. And that's not to say there aren't natural, locally-grown products to be had. Bottom line - enjoy the market for what it is, but be careful not to get caught up in the fantasy.

    9 Replies
    1. re: treetop tom

      Yes, but with all of the area "Dutch Farmer's" markets, they are a collection of individual shops, with a wide variation in product quality. Most of this is pretty obvious just by browsing. At the Annapolis market, I find that the prepared foods far exceed the ingredients on offer. Although I'm not sure about the provenence of the meats, they certainly never appeared that great, with a lot of the sausage/cold cut offerings obviously coming from a larger package. They never have the interesting cuts that you would expect from a full service butcher. As for produce, the chilean grapes/apples and the bananas are some of the pretty obvious tip offs that these aren't mostly amish grown products. I long ago decided that it made more sense to get produce/meat from the Whole Foods, now Fresh Market, in the same shopping center.

      Further evidence of the quality variation can be seen in the two bakeries. One offers some pretty average donuts and cake selections, and at one point they made a point of "now making our own cream filling". But the other baked good section has some really. really good comfort food offerings. Their rolls and whoopie pies are my favorites. Wait...they use hydrogenated oils? No kidding...I've never heard of a whoopie pie with any other kind of filling. I'm not even sure how it would be made. Again, not health food, but the baked goods from this stand, the fried chicken, the cafe, and the pretzel stand are what pull me in. Well made comfort food. Not some Amish idealism for their raw ingredients, which, as anyone who does a lot of shopping should notice, are average at best.

      1. re: Jason1

        I'm pretty sure that pie crusts and whoopie pies predate Crisco hydrogenated oil shortening's invention in 1911. Guess people must have used that newfangled butter thingy back in the old days.

        1. re: treetop tom

          More likely lard, but according to this history, vegetable shortening is traditional.

          1. re: Jason1

            Your "traditional" recipe notes that butter can be used for part or all of the shortening for whoopie pie filling. That would be my choice, personally.

            1. re: treetop tom

              That's fine. I'm sure it'll be very good. It just won't taste like a woopie'll taste like chocolate cake filled with buttercream.

              1. re: treetop tom

                Sorry treetop... but I have to agree with Jason1... my grandma's recipe was all crisco! And yummy!

                1. re: tapas gal

                  My point wasn't that people do or don't or should or shouldn't use shortening - I was responding to Jason's assertion "I've never heard of a whoopie pie with any other kind of filling. I'm not even sure how it would be made." I suggested butter (as do many whoopie pie recipes [including the one he linked to], in whole or in combination) and he suggested lard. Of course, I think Crisco has been trans-fat free for several years now.

                  1. re: treetop tom

                    But I also suggested that I whoopie pie made with a butter filling would taste incredibly different. It would be too rich, and, well, buttery. And, quite frankly, not very whoopie pie like. Sure, you CAN make it that way. You can make a grilled cheese sandwich with brie on ciabbatta, and I'm sure it's great. And hey, why not serve it with gazbacho. But ask people to think of a classic grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup, and I don't think that's what they'll be thinking of. Ask people who have been eating whoopie pies for a time what they taste like, and I doubt buttercream is the answer.

                    1. re: Jason1

                      You must have quite the educated palate if you can tell an "incredible difference" in taste between whipped-up sweet (unsalted) butter and Crisco after you've poured 1 1/2 cups powdered (confectioner's) sugar, 2 cups of Marshmallow Fluff and 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract into it.