Local sourcing. Sustainable dining. Regional craft brews. Local vineyards. Dock-to-Table. Farm-to-Table. Organic ingredients. All-natural. Never ever. Antibiotic and hormone-free. Farmer markets. Local agriculture.
Type any of these terms into an internet search and find restaurants near your location that pride themselves on sustainable dining and local sourcing. In the past decade, nearly every community in our fifty states has jumped on board in efforts to reduce the carbon footprints of their industry as well as striving daily to provide the most healthy and natural culinary options in a highly competitive industry — and Ocean City, Maryland is no different.
In what first began as a fishing village, Ocean City has always been known for local sourcing of commercial seafood. In addition to the local fisheries, in more recent years we’ve seen an impressive collection of local and regional farms, breweries, distilleries, and bakeries emerging in our community as well.
For the past sixty years, Maryland has been home to Roseda Farm, an all-natural Black Angus farm — offering mindfully bred cattle. Their products are proudly served in multiple restaurants in Ocean City.
Everything from sandwich bread to baguettes and dinner rolls can be found locally sourced from the Crack of Dawn Bakery in Berlin, MD.
Quindocqua Farms, Chesterfield Heirlooms, Baywater Greens, and Terrapin Farms are some of the more dominant local farms in our area — each carving its own unique path in the landscaping of the local agriculture industry. Look for their names on area menus — and look for the farmers themselves delivering their goods.
Local brewing has exploded, figuratively and literally, not only in our area but in most culinary centers of our country. Craft breweries have paved the way for brew pubs and other eateries with similar mindsets to serve up a seemingly never-ending variety of creative and original brews. Draft and packaged beer alike are offered, and the canned and bottled versions often display the talents of local and regional artists on their labels.
In some restaurants, hand-crafted and regional liqueurs and moonshines have replaced the broad line, massed produced brands — offering our front-of-house dining professionals the opportunity to create awareness about these products with our passionate foodie diners and lovers of all things local in the culinary world.
A short number of years ago, who could have imagined an explosion of such natural, local and sustainable culinary love? A true celebration of the more remote communities, who, in the not-so-distant past, had to rely on high emissions of greenhouse gases just to receive products that were lower quality and less fresh.
Through their practices, our local farmers steward the land — making it more nutrient-rich and valuable to us for years to come. Dining establishments that support local efforts also support our local economy, create positive environmental impact and bring the community together with common goals.
Sustainable culinary love at its finest. Look for it here, and everywhere you go. It’s surprisingly easy to find.
Jody Kelly Wright
The Shark on the Harbor