October 3, 2023

Airport Readies for Holiday Farmers Market

St. Mary's Airport holiday farmers market
Among Santa’s most important stops will be St. Mary’s Airport on Saturday, Dec. 22.

Santa is flying into St. Mary’s Airport on Saturday, Dec. 22, to attend the county’s only FLY-IN Farmers Market at the terminal building at 44200 Airport Road in California, MD.

Join the fun from 9 am to 2 pm at this first Holiday FLY-IN market. Get some holiday shopping done with Southern Maryland’s local fresh produce and meats, chocolates and whiskey, and much more. Santa will also be arriving via aircraft!

Pilots from around the region are invited as well as everyone wishing to arrive by land. There is plenty of parking for all!

Direct from the North Pole, Santa is expected to touchdown at St. Mary’s Airport. Santa will be available for pictures (bring your camera) starting at 10 am.

The market will include the following vendors:

  1. Battle Creek Beef – Full assortment of all “natural” beef and pork.
  2. Olga’s Cakes – Home baked cakes and cupcakes made by “Olga” the Cake Creator!
  3. R&H Farms – Pork products from free range heritage pigs. USDA gourmet pork.
  4. Just Loafin’ – Locally baked French and sourdough breads for your holiday dinner.
  5. Swamp Fox – Family owned small farm selling pastured raised chicken, duck.
  6. Tobacco Barn Distillery – “Grain to Glass” Bourbon, Whiskey and Rums.
  7. Blue Wind Gourmet – Local chocolate, coffees, and farm raised oysters.
  8. Free State Cidery – Hard Apple Cider from the highest quality apples.
  9. Goose Creek Farm – Farm raised Shiitake fresh and dried.
  10. Grandpap’s Honey – Assortment of local honey.
  11. Crabby Corn – Hand-popped kettle corns along with fresh greenery for the table.

This St. Mary’s County FLY-IN Farmers Market is the first of its kind in the nation, said Scott Sanders, one of the organizers of the market. It embraces the rural and agricultural characteristics of Southern Maryland, while highlighting the role our region has had in developing our nation’s air and space technologies. “It’s kinda who we are,” he said of matching up agricultural heritage and the high-tech draw of the Naval Air Station Patuxent River and expansion of diversified technologies at the St. Mary’s Airport campus.

St. Mary’s County Department of Economic Development, led by Chris Kaselemis,  is “energized” about the airport and with combining economic development and tourism, Mr. Sanders said. Mr. Kaselemis and his team help promote county tourism, agriculture and seafood, and business development, Mr. Sanders said. “So we’re looking for cool things to do. This event touches all three.”

Mr. Sanders has become involved with the expanding agricultural marketing efforts, including increasing numbers of people attending farmers markets in the area as one of three owners of the Tobacco Barn Distillery, which has been recognized by Whiskey Advocate magazine as Maryland’s best bourbon.

The idea for using the airport for a winter farmers market grew easily from seeing how other counties provided indoor venues for some limited markets in the winter, Mr. Sanders said. So he made a few calls.

Historic Sotterley, already operating a successful summer farmers market, joined on as an official sponsor of the Holiday Farmers Market. Sotterley will bring their farmers market expertise to the table, said Nancy Easterling, executive director of Historic Sotterley. “When Scott Sanders of Tobacco Barn Distillery first mentioned this fabulously creative idea as an extension of our summer farmer’s market, we definitely wanted to be part of this,” she said. “At Sotterley, we are committed to supporting our local growers – and how wonderful to offer fresh produce and meat to our local friends!”

The growing high-tech aspect of business development on the St. Mary’s County Airport campus has generated public-private collaborations. So everyone working on the airport embraced the notion of hosting the FLY-IN Holiday Farmers Market. It is a natural for this community, Mr. Sanders said. “It’s how we roll here in St. Mary’s County.”

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