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Behind the Counter: George's Farm Market

George's has been a mainstay in Parkville since the market opened its doors back in 1974.

George Burton has been making the five-mile commute from his family's 200-acres of farmland in Glen Arm to Parkville's Main Street since 1974 when George's Farm Market opened its garage-style doors for the first time.

Now it's a much anticipated event when George's opens for the growing season each April.

Over 38 seasons in business, Burton said he's seen a lot change: families and businesses have come and gone from the neighborhood but, he said, he still sees people he remembers from that first spring.

"You get a lot of repeat business," Burton said. "We have a good clientele; they know good quality and good prices."

Burton stood outside George's Thursday morning, watering fresh flowers he brought to the store earlier from greenhouses at the family farm on Factory Road, and recalling his family history.

"The Burtons have been in Baltimore County since 1840," he said. "So we've been around for however many generations that is."

He said that he got his start at working at the Parkville market alongside his brother, Rick, and his father George, whose namesake the building bears.

These days? George and Rick work their 200 acres and their families help out at the market.

George's wife Kathleen was there Thursday morning and his youngest daughter, Laurie, helps out on the weekends. The youngest of Rick's five children, Allison and Gregory, do their time behind the counter too. Everyone is friendly and  always ready to assist a customer buying flowers or some awesome-looking fresh-picked strawberries.

"You might not know much about strawberries," Burton said. "But you know these look good, and I can promise you they don't get any fresher than that. They were just picked three hours ago."

At the time it was about 9:30 a.m.—Burton said that during the five-week-long strawberry season he starts picking berries daily at 5:30 a.m, then brings them down to the market. Then it's back to work—plowing, planting and harvesting.

"Then I'll come in, have my supper and I'm off to bed. If I see 11 o'clock, I'm no good the next day—you've got to get six uninterrupted hours of sleep," he said. Even if it means that because the day starts so early, he's trying to catch Z's before the sun has set.

Right now if you stop by George's you'll find onions, asparagus and strawberries grown right here in Baltimore County.

As spring turns to summer, strawberries will stop coming in around the end of June, asparagus will disappear by June 1 and they'll have fresh flowers until Father's Day.

Then the summer crops will start rolling in—they'll have home-grown squash by the middle of June, corn and green beans by the end of June and by July 10 we'll see the summer favorites: cantaloupe, watermelon and, of course, tomatoes.

It's been that way for 37 seasons before this year, and hopefully it'll be that way for another 38. George, who is in his 60s now, said that when he retires his brother Rick and family will take over the farm and keep the market going.

"I think being here is good for the neighborhood," Burton said.

This weekend Burton Farms is hosting an open house at their farm, 11031 Factory Road in Glen Arm from 9-5 p.m. Typically open houses run from the last weekend in April to the third weekend in May. Flowers, herbs, and vegetable plants will be available along with hanging baskets.

Do you go to George's on Harford Road for your produce? Are you excited for the growing season? Tell us in the comments.

Parkvillehoney May 17, 2012 at 10:01 PM
I started buying from George's Farm Market when my son was born in 1981. Now he and his family also shop at George's. George has the best tasting tomatoes and corn on the cob. Every year, our family can't wait till he opens. May his family be blessed with many more years of providing his customers with the BEST produce and flowers in Parkville.
Kate May 18, 2012 at 12:59 AM
George's Farm Market is our favorite place to buy produce. They have the best peaches in the summer and their flowers in the spring are beautiful. We love supporting a locally owned business!
Heidi May 18, 2012 at 03:06 AM
I eat local when in town...Talmar Gardens offers organic veggie shares in Parkville.
carolyn kroneberger May 18, 2012 at 11:46 AM
When George's is opened, I smile as I pass by with all the flowers dangling from the store front. I love the produce and their friendliness. Happy spot in Parkville!!.
Ruth Baisden May 18, 2012 at 02:35 PM
For years George's Market has donated to Parkville Park Projects. George's flowers will help honor Parkville's Veterans this Memorial Day! Thank you! A few volunteers are getting together to weed and plant flowers around Parkville's War Memorial, tomorrow Saturday May 19th. The war memorial with flag pole is located in the center of Taylor Avenue, between Harford and Old Harford Roads. George's Farm Market, located at 7956 Harford Road, gave us a good deal on Begonias and Marigolds to plant in the circle garden that surrounds the memorial. All we need is some more volunteers to help out. To volunteer just show up ready to plant between 8:30 AM and Noon. This is a great way to show your appreciation towards Parkville's veterans of all wars, meet friendly neighbors, and take pride in our community.

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