BALTIMORE (WJZ) — You are what you eat, and since we’re all Marylanders, eat what’s grown in Maryland.

That’s the goal being pushed by Governor Larry Hogan’s administration over the next week.

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“It’s an executive order,” Hogan said at the 10th annual Buy Local Cookout Thursday, where it was standing room only. “I want you all to eat and drink as much as possible and have a great time.”

What’s served up there all comes from Maryland farms, wineries and breweries.

“Each year it’s grown,” says Joe Bartenfelder, Maryland’s agriculture secretary. “Started off with 400 people attending my first year. Now it’s over 600 people to attend.”

But the point of the cookout is to attract a lot more people to buy food grown in Maryland.

Officially it kicks off “buy local week,” but it’s a trend that really stretches for most of the year.

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Across the state, there are now more than 400 farmers markets, and polls show 78 percent of Marylanders want to buy locally grown food. That’s something the state is actively encouraging.

“The agriculture industry is our biggest industry in Maryland,” Hogan said. “Most people don’t realize that.”

The industry generates over 45,000 jobs, and contributes over $8 billion to the state’s economy.

“So it’s really important, and the more restaurants and grocery stores buy from the local farmers and watermen, the better off our whole industry does.”

So First Lady Yumi Hogan served up eastern shore chicken Korean style Thursday, while the governor obeyed his own executive order, indulging in the flavors of the free state.

You can find stores and farmers markets where you can buy Maryland-grown food at MarylandsBest.net.

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