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Category Archives: Howard County

The CSA Model

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Gorman farms style. How to grow a Community Supported Agriculture program from 28 families to almost 500. In six years.

We learned this yesterday at the Farm Academy. Over at Gorman Farms. Just southeast of Columbia, and northwest of Laurel. At a location chosen for its access to the market.

Dave Liker runs Gorman Farms. Currently on leased land, but soon to expand to their own farm slightly west of its current location, to Highland.

They had their big announcement earlier this month. It will be a great location and addition to a farm committed to organic growing and the production of quality vegetables and fruit for their loyal CSA members.

Those of us who loved their farm stand, miss it. We knew they dropped it because it took away from their attention to their immensely popular CSA.

We will also miss their Christmas tree operation this year, as they turn their attention to getting the new farm ready for production.

Here is more information about the new farm.

Dave’s presentation to the Farm Academy and his two hour tour of the farm were full of details that show his commitment to the land, the soil, the farm, and to providing us with fresh healthy organically grown food.

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Information such as how successful his pick your own strawberries have been.

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By the way, there are quite a few more rows of strawberries in the ground, to make sure there are enough for the very great demand every spring.

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They provide medium and full CSA shares for a 20 week season. If you live in the east or south part of Howard County, or northern Montgomery or PG county, you should check them out.


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What you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask.

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The Farm Academy is answering all those questions. And more. I feel like I am living in an information overload scenario when I attend these three hour sessions. But, they are so worth the time to do them.

I am learning so much more than I expected, by attending the farm visits. These are serious lectures and tours, not a hayride through a farm.

I found all sorts of resources, and got quite an education on the status of much of the farmland in Howard County.

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Exhibit A. The preservation map. Also available on the web site, as an interactive map, showing just how much land is in some sort of preservation status. If you click on the interactive map link, you can find all sorts of information.

Did you know that over 21000 acres of land in our county are in these programs? That’s almost 2/3 of the current agricultural land in the county. No wonder there won’t be much more development out here. The land is covered in preserved areas.

Planned service area maps tell the same story. There is no current plan to extend the water and sewer lines out here. In order to develop with other than rural residential or rural conservation limits in place, there would have to be a plan to run those utilities to the small towns. Not going to happen in this fiscally conservative time.

As for what happens on these farms, I found the Academy participants to be incredibly open about what they do. We have visited TLV Tree Farm.

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And the UMD Research Farm.

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Dairy and equine facilities at the UMD farm. I feel like I attended classes at UMD, we were given such an in depth tour. I hope to do another post about this facility.

Next weekend, we end up at Gorman Farm.

The county plans to offer these visits again in the spring. If you want to get a better idea of what is happening around you, down on these farms, you should look for them and sign up.

I know that I learned so much more about dairy operations than I ever expected.

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Tidbit Tuesday Again

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Doing a fly by. Quick information because there is too much going on, and I haven’t updated the blog in a few days.

Did you know that the Farm Academy is simply awesome?

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The first session was at TLV Tree Farm. Two more. UMD farm, and Gorman. If there is still room, you should sign up. I learned quite a bit and I thought I knew much about our local agricultural business.

I did learn more about the Roving Radish. For $28 you can get two meals for four people, or four meals for two, like us, with all the major ingredients and the recipes. When it first started, they used about 10% local sourcing, now it is close to 70% local. Want to have better food, easy to make? Affordable? Check them out!

More later, when I get all the information about the local farms, but you really need to see how much the county is doing to promote local vendors and farms. I am seriously impressed.

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Fall Fest is On!

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Tired of being indoors from the rain? Want to get out and have a fun Sunday at the Howard County Conservancy? The festival tomorrow the 4th of October is still going to take place. Minus a few things, like the hay rides. Slippery, wet trails where they usually ride will make it impossible to hold the rides without creating ruts, which encourage erosion.

Besides that change, the rest will still take place. Pumpkin painting. Crafts and storytelling.

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You can visit the animals, including the alpacas from Pearl Moon.

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The square dancers will be inside the Gudelsky Center. The historic farmhouse will be open for tours.

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The blacksmiths will be operating. So will the chair caners, the woodturners, the basketweavers, and more.

The cost. Just $10 a car. Bring neighbors, relatives and friends. The more the merrier. Time is 11am-3pm. Food trucks will be there with waffles, BBQ, and other goodies.

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See you there?

Our Daily Bread

In Baltimore, a Catholic Charity run hot meal program serving 700 meals daily. Plus an employment center. For the past ten years, the Lewis family of Clarksville has sponsored a fun polo match day to raise money for the center. To date, they had already raised over $450,000. This year’s event was the tenth and “final” match day, as they are retiring as hosts.

We were fortunate to win a tailgate pass at the silent auction last May, at the annual Wine in the Garden HC Conservancy fund raiser. The Lewis family had donated the pass.

I wish we had taken the opportunity to attend this amazing day in years past, as it was truly a special experience. One that almost transcends time.

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It’s fun to watch the players on their mounts, but it’s also fun to watch the spectators.

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We got to divot stomp. We met some really nice people. Got up close and personal with beautiful horses.

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Thanks to the Doetsch family who provides their field for the event. They live just across Rte. 32 from the Lewis family, who live on Ten Oaks Rd. The original site of the matches, before they outgrew the fields just off the Ten Oaks/Brighton Dam circle.

We took friends with us to tailgate.

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We wandered around to see the horses.

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We stomped divots at the break between matches.

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We brought local foods and wine to enjoy while watching.

I do hope they find some support to keep the traditional going. Thanks to Mary Agnes Lewis and her family for their long standing support of Our Daily Bread. As I understand, she has been volunteering in some form or another for more than 30 years.

She is truly a wonderful Howard Countian.

Twilight Hiking for the Family

Out on the Howard County Conservancy trails at Mt. Pleasant. Friday night, 5-7 pm.

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This is the description from the web site.

“Walk through the meadow and along the stream to the woodland campfire ring. Listen to the birds singing at dusk. Gather around the crackling fire and hear legend-stories about the Equinox, sing old-time songs, roast marshmallows, and enjoy s’mores. Hike back in time to watch the sun set over horizon –exactly due west – and hear other interesting astronomical facts about the Fall Equinox.”

You can look for milkweed.

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Or maybe check out all the walnuts that have fallen from the trees along the trail.

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Pre-register if you can, so we know how much food to buy and how many volunteers we may need.

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Loving the fact that we are well into my favorite season around here.

Never A Dull Moment

After all, where else can you find the Air Force Thunderbirds practicing in your back yard? Besides at their home base, that is.

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This was the second pass over the house that I saw. The first one, I didn’t have the camera. They are performing this weekend at Andrews Air Force Base.

I gather they come up here to get out of the National and Dulles air space. We are a bit west of the BWI air space too. This is the second evening they have been here. I heard them last night but didn’t know until later when I checked Facebook that it was the Thunderbirds.

I also got a good shot of the final formation as they were heading back to the base.

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I’m not sure how many people can stand in their yard and watch this. Just another night in West Howard County.


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