Pack a better picnic basket
We all want a bargain, but finding high quality items from local sources keeps the cash flowing in our own neck of the woods--and these are businesses that use natural practices, less chemicals, or are organic. Maryland's rich landscape and talented people have created a whole basket's worth of foodstuffs and potables for the next time you use our handy summer guide to find a park or tucked-away waterhole for an afternoon adventure, or even throw down a blanket in the backyard. Cheers to deliciously local eats and drinks and fuck the ants.
1) Atwater's sourdough: A certified organic crusty, chewy sourdough round, it isn't too tangy and should be cut in half, then placed cut side down before slicing. $5, atwaters.biz.
2) Asparagus, radish, and leafy greens salad: Get a bunch of thin baby asparagus (or green beans once June is here), blanch it for a minute, mix with sliced radishes, and soak with plenty of vinaigrette. Wash a one-rooted bunch of mixed greens and wrap in wet paper towels. Rip the roots off at your picnic and toss with the dressed veggies for a light and crunchy salad. Chesapeake Greenhouse lettuce bouquet $3; Mr. Fountain's Farm asparagus $2; Gardener's Gourmet Cherry Bell radishes $3.
3) Gunpowder Bison and Trading hot dogs and burgers: Eating the naturally raised and dry-aged bison from Monkton is amazingly easy for a certain person who has trouble with bloody steaks and raw fish she's never heard of. The juicy dogs have a nice bite and a consistent texture while the patties are fresh and clean tasting (do not overcook this low-fat meat). Ground meat $6 a pound; hot dogs $8 for an eight-pack, gunpowderbison.com.
4) Broom's Bloom Dairy dill cheddar: Holds its own at warmer temps, and the subtle green dill adds just a touch of herby flavor to this artisan cheese. $9.99 a pound, bbdairy.com.
5) Zeke's coffee: Zeke's Natural/Fair Trade Guatemalan Huehuetenango is delish iced with just a touch of sugar and kicks your melty-feeling ass when drinking alcohol in 90 degree weather, so that's nice. $12 a pound, zekescoffee.com.
6) Sweets: Not really in our wheelhouse, but the strawberries are sublime right now, and come June it's raspberries and blueberries, July the stone fruits such as peaches and cherries, and almost everything fruity is ripe for the eating in August.
7) Resurrection Ale: Anyone not anticipating the arrival of the best local beer in a freaking can? We've heard it'll be on shelves early June, and that makes our collective and metaphorical panties bunch. Plus, fewer cans to haul home--you just can't drink this like a Boh sixer. $10-$11 a six-pack, thebrewersart.com.
8) FireFly Farms goat cheese: This cheese from the Allegheny plateau is grainy, grassy, and slightly smoky, with a firm texture that doesn't melt in the sun. Good with fruit but also a compliment to salty munches. Cabra La Mancha $24.99 a pound, fireflyfarms.com.
9) Black Ankle Vineyards Bedlam 2008: A lovely and crisp white with just a hint of fruit and a dry finish from Mount Airy in Frederick County. But seriously, tip it. Around $25, blackankle.com.
10) German potato salad: Screw creamy side dishes when those dressed in oil taste even better at room temp; this one features slivered raw onion, salty bacon, and sliced red-skin potatoes with a vinegar bite. $4.99 a pound, Eddies of Roland Park, eddiesofrolandpark.com.
11) Neopol Andouille sausage: Hot and spicy dry sausage with tempting reddish orange chunks of meat and creamy fat, locally made and smoked. $3.99 a pound, neopol.net.
12) Fresh baked buns: Hamburger and hot dog buns that don't dry out when grilled and can handle the weight ofA heartier meats--we cut the long hot dog ones in half for the stumpy bison dogs to keep the bikini-cruel carbs down. $2.89 a pack, Eddies of Roland Park, eddiesofrolandpark.com.
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