ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Corn, cantaloupes and other produce are hitting farm stands across Maryland and state officials are encouraging shoppers to enjoy them.

Next week is Buy Local Week in Maryland, and thousands have already pledged online to buy at least one item a day all week long.

Organizers say shoppers who buy local not only get fresh foods, they help preserve farmland, protect the environment through reduced shipping emissions, and support local economies. Locally grown foods also retain more nutrients and are less likely to cause foodborne illnesses than food that is shipped longer distances. Organizers say buying local lets shoppers choose farmers who grow foods the way they want, such as without pesticides, hormones, antibiotics or chemicals.


(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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