Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Maryland Local Foods Labelling Regulations

Maryland recently published revised proposed rules regulating the advertising of "local" foods in the Maryland Register for public comment.

The regulations were drafted by the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) as part of a 2010 state law that seeks to bring clarity to consumers as to what constitutes "local". After reviewing initial comments, MDA has redrafted the regulations.

According to MDA, food products are adverted as 'local', the proposed regulations will require businesses to disclose the product's origin.

The law authorizes the Secretary to regulate the use of the terms "local" or "locally grown" when used to advertise agricultural and seafood products.  It aims to support Maryland farmers and provide transparency to consumers interested in purchasing local foods by informing Marylanders about their local foods purchases. 

The law was drafted in response to increased interest in locally produced foods. Local food trends have led to the rapid growth of farmer's markets, as well as demand for local products in restaurants and grocery stores.  Despite the popularity, there has been little agreement as to the definition of "local" foods.

Input for the proposal originated from a task force of farmers, retail representatives, consumer advocates, and other interested stakeholders.

The redrafted regulations require businesses that advertise raw meat, eggs, fish, fruits, vegetables, shellfish and processed dairy products as local or being locally grown, regionally grown or produced, or otherwise represented as having originated close by, must have point-of-sale signage indicating the state of its origin.

A "Frequently Asked Questions" document is available online at: http://www.mda.state.md.us/pdf/buylocalfaq.pdf

The Maryland Register entry can be viewed at:


source: MDA press release

Friday, April 22, 2011

Maryland Shad - Herring Fishing

hickory shad
hickory shad

Anglers are reporting good fishing during Maryland's 2011 Spring shad and herring run. In rivers and creeks of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, blueback herring, hickory shad and American shad have been found in varying numbers.

Hickory shad numbers are up in several creeks, with anglers enjoying catch and release fishing. Shad and river herring (bluebacks and alewives) are often found together, with anglers catching multiple species with the same lures.

The exact techniques and lure choices depend on local preferences, but most anglers use some variation of classic shad darts or similar lures. These small, simple lures are fished by themselves or rigged in tandem.

Depending on the location, anglers may jig or cast for shad and herring. Fly fishing is practical in some areas and can be very productive. In other areas such as small creeks in wooded areas, tight quarters call for ultralight spinning tackle and simple shad darts.

Occasionally, anglers can fish from bridges, bulkheads or other structures that provide access for jigging. Maryland shad and herring can also be caught from kayaks or small boats. These smaller craft are often the only option as shad and river herring prefer small, moving creeks which usually contain a maze of obstructions.

Adding to the excitement are many of the other species found in Maryland tidal rivers and creeks. These include black crappie, bluegills, pumpkinseed, largemouth bass, white perch, striped bass, yellow perch, pickerel, and other species.Any of these may fish strike lures intended for shad and herring.

The spring shad and river herring run is expected to last into mid-May as waves of fish continue their spawning rituals.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Maryland Park Service Volunteer Coordination System

The Maryland Park Service (MPS) has launched a new online statewide volunteer coordination system to make volunteering in state parks easier than ever.

Volunteers can now visit http://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/ and click on the “volunteers” tab to register with the new system and create a profile.

Opportunities can be searched by keyword, zip code and distance, specific interest, activity, availability and specific park name.

Users can also sign up for opportunities, enter volunteer hours and view their referrals and placements.

source: MD DNR