Friday, July 3, 2009

Dutch Country Farmers Market, Burtonsville, closes

all photos (c)2009 Incorrigible Curmudgeon

The so-called Amish Market has been a Burtonsville, MD staple for over 20 years. Now the strip mall where it sat has been bought and the tenants all booted out so they can build (drum roll) another strip mall. Only now the anchor will be Giant Foods, the Supermarket currently resident in a similar strip mall right across the street. That mall, Burtonsville Crossing, is apparently being allowed to die, having already lost almost a third of its tenants.

I won't miss the Amish Market as much as most. I have shopped there maybe 5 times in the last 10 years, though I have elderly residents in DC who make regular pilgrimages 15 miles out to Burtonsville to shop here. They swear by it, particularly its rotisserrie chicken. Definitely an AARP kinda vibe to the place.

As a veggie, I always found the store heavy on the meats, and the air was always thick with the smell of meat, like a butcher store. The produce was okay, but the prepared foods were all heavy on the fats (usually cooked in lard), with lots of doughnuts, cakes, pies, home-made junk food, candies, potato salad, and ice cream. Think fried, sweet, salty, creamy. Gag.

Then there's the subtle but undeniable creepiness factor: most of the workers are dressed in nineteenth-Century attire (women in black an white floor-length dresses with white bonnets, men in black trousers with suspenders with white long sleeve collared shirts, the ones old enough sporting Abe Lincoln-style beards with no mustaches, some also wear the standard black and brimmed 'preacher' hats). Its like a casting call for Peter Weir's 1985 movie "Witness" (Harrison Ford as a cop who falls in love with an Amish woman, Kelly McGillis, while solving a murder) which for most of us is the only exposure we've had to the Pennsylvania Dutch culture. Nice people, just kinda cult-like.

Still I swept through one last time today on its closing day in Burtonsville, though it will be re-opening in 6-8 weeks in Laurel, MD, about 5 miles East of here.

I bought a pretzel and a half-dozen onion bagels (Amish bagels: now thats an oxymoron).

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