BERLIN — With the arrival of spring, the Ocean Pines Farmers and Artisans Market is ready to celebrate the end of an unforgiving winter and roll out the red carpet for springtime.
At the market shop of Longridge Gardens, signs of spring have been popping up for several weeks. Terry Jordan, owner of the floral stand, has just begun harvesting blooms from the more than 80,000 daffodil bulbs sown on her Wicomico County homestead.
Jordan gets a head start on spring by filling her market shop with forced seasonal blooms.
“Last fall, we planted thousands of tulips in our greenhouse, so the flowers would be blossoming earlier than those grown in the gardens,” Jordan said.
During the late months of winter, the avid gardener prunes budding spring branches from her property. Jordan then introduces branches of spring-blooming shrubs like pussy willow and forsythia to a warmer environment in the greenhouse, encouraging them to bloom for use in her floral arrangements.
Craig Brady of Stag Run Farm is also busy pruning branches. He regularly prunes the apple trees on his farm’s orchards during the late winter and early spring, to help keep the trees healthy and prevent overcrowding of the fruit bared later in the summer.
Spring is also the time when he applies a coat of protective paint to the base of the apple trees, preventing sunburn to the tree trunks during the summer.
Salad greens and herbs will be ready for transplanting into the fields in a few short weeks. The Georgetown, Delaware farm is also the largest grower of asparagus in southern Delaware, and the perennial crop is a sure sign that the local growing season has begun.
“We have seeded our lettuce and basil crops in our propagation greenhouse,” Brady said.
Next month, the Ocean Pines market will host its annual Easter Holiday market on April 3. Many of the market’s bakers will offer spring sweet treats, including Del Vecchio’s Bakery, which features traditional baked goods.
“We will be taking special orders to ensure everyone can get the items they want for their holiday table,” Jackie McKenzie, who manages the Del Vecchio’s stand, said.
Through the end of March, the market runs Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at its White Horse Park location. The market returns to in-season hours of 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., starting on the first Saturday in April.