I finally went to the new Burtonsville Dutch Country Farmers' Market, located on Route 198 in Laurel at the Prince George's/Anne Arundel County line. It's been three months since they re-opened, and I have to say it's a lot nicer than their old location - the 1960's-era former Safeway in Burtonsville Shopping Center, which has now been demolished. The aisles are wider, the floors are cleaner, and the food even looks better. I'm sure the vendors who travel from Pennsylvania each week to sell their goods at the so-called Amish Market are much happier with the conditions.
But I still can't help but be angry that the Burtonsville Dutch Country Farmers' Market, a local institution for twenty years, is no longer in the community it's named for and unable to serve as that gathering place for local residents. It makes me want to blame the officials who couldn't keep them in Montgomery County and the developer who wouldn't let them stay. I'm curious how many people from East County have continued shopping at the Amish Market, given the distance involved.
While the Burtonsville location was at least served by a couple of bus routes, the Laurel store is inaccessible by transit. Customers and shopkeepers alike have complained about the lack of parking at the new site, where security guards have been called in to direct traffic. And I'm pretty skeptical about a proposal to run shuttle buses between Burtonsville and the Amish Market, because it's unlikely there'd ever be enough riders to make the service frequent enough for people to use it.
I'll admit I'm still bitter about the move, even though I've known about it for a year and a half. My family brought home a number of pies and cakes from the market, and I have to say they taste as good as they ever have. Perhaps it's a good thing that the Amish Market has relocated. I don't need to be eating their amazing, delicious, terrifically unhealthy food each day. (Of course, it's not like we don't have a million fast-food places over here, soon to include another Wendy's and Chick-Fil-A.)