The Dutch Village Farmers Market (DVFM; click here for their address, driving directions, etc.) is located in Upper Marlboro, MD, a 20-minute or so drive to the north of us up Rte. 301. The word “Dutch” in this case isn’t related to The Netherlands, but rather to German immigrants to Pennsylvania now known as the Pennsylvania Dutch (Dutch coming from the word Deutsch, which means “German” in the German language; for more on the etymology, see this Wikipedia article). From their home state, the Pennsylvania Dutch have spread to other parts of the country. Maryland is known for having three communities of Pennsylvania Dutch, which you can read about on the Amish America site. The largest group of them are in St. Mary’s county to our south, where you will see road-signs warning drivers to be on the lookout for their slow moving horse-and-buggy mode of transportation.
The DVFM is only open on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, but unlike a lot of other farmers markets, which are seasonal, it is open all year long. On the days DVFM is open, it is almost always busy. Today, we got there about 11:20 AM and it was swarming with police. Not that there was any problem or emergency — it looked like they were all grabbing their lunches to-go. There were also quite a few public works trucks in the parking lot (Upper Marlboro is the county seat of Prince George’s County).
The space inside the farmers market is divided into many small shops, which vary in size from a few that are not much bigger than a broom closet, to others that are yards wide and deep. We stood in line for a sit-down lunch at the Kountry Grille, but after 20 minutes or so threw in the towel. Their seating area isn’t exactly huge, and a lot of folks seemed to be taking their time, sipping coffee, reading, etc. For those looking to really put on the feedbag, though, if you get there during their first hour of breakfast service, they offer all-you-can-eat pancakes for just 99¢. We figured we’d get some food to-go and eat when we got home.
We proceeded to walk around the perimeter of the farmers market. It’s sort of like a big doughnut, with a bunch of shops in the middle, ringed by an aisle with more shops on the outside. Off to one side, near the entrance, there’s also an area where they sell arts, crafts, and furniture. The first shop we came to offered meats, but we didn’t buy anything there.
My wife, Cindy, next stopped for cheeses at the Riehl Cheese Shoppe — she loves all kinds of cheese. I like some cheese, but the strong flavored/aromatic ones can be a bit much for me. Also, I’m lactose intolerant, so need a large helping of lactase enzymes to be able to consume much dairy.
We then passed B&C Produce, which had lots of fruits and vegetables on display, along with a variety of pickles you could select from large plastic barrels (I remember them as wooden barrels when I was a kid). Our next stop was J&R Bakery. I got three flavors of fritters: apple, blueberry, and strawberry. Cindy got a caramel doughnut, a coconut cream doughnut, and a cruller. We also looked in at Stoltzfus Poultry, but didn’t buy anything.
Our last stop before heading home was at Sadie Ann’s Soft Pretzels (the website says “Sadie Ann’s” in one place, and “Lydiann’s” in another, and unfortunately the pictures I took didn’t capture the name, so I’m not really sure which name it actually goes by). Every time we have visited, this place has had a line of 10 or more people, but today, there were just four! So, I stopped to pick-up lunch while Cindy went to look at the bird feeders and houses just around the corner.
In addition to the big soft pretzels, they seem to specialize in variations on pigs-in-a-blanket, but instead of wrapping hot dogs in a simple bread dough, they use pretzel dough. They have, of course, hot dogs in pretzel dough, but they also had what looked to be Vienna sausages, along with such variations as ham and cheese, chopped steak and cheese, buffalo chicken and cheese, turkey breast and Swiss cheese, pepperoni and cheese, well… you get the picture (actually, look for the photo gallery below, and you’ll see a picture). Cindy wanted a ham and cheese, I got a steak and cheese, and we got a large soft pretzel with salt, too. Unfortunately, there is no picture of the pretzel that I can share with you, because we ate it in the car on the way home.
If you’re ever in Upper Marlboro on Thursday, Friday or Saturday, you should make it a point to stop by this place. The Pennsylvania Dutch food is great! ♦