News from the fields, farms and beyond…

Fresh Source Farms has moved its farm market down the road a piece to Coopers Market Deli.

While the store on Oldfield Point Road in Elkton stocks Fresh Source micro greens seven days a week, Andy and Theresa Mussaw are there Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. to offer more options and give tips on how to use the nutrient packed greens, which are grown indoors at the farm on Oldfield Point Road. They also are one of the vendors at the Perryville Farmer’s Market Saturday mornings from 8:30 until noon at Rodgers Tavern.

To learn more or to subscribe for a regular supply for your salads, smoothies and more go to freshsourcefarms.com.

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Speaking of indoor growing, Rick Constantine and Justin Derro at Herban Farms in Cheyney, Pa. recently hosted the Chester County Commissioners and the Chester County Ag Task Force for a conversation about the role of agriculture in the community.

Recognized as that county’s top industry, officials have started a countywide agriculture economic strategic plan aimed at strengthening the industry and reinforcing its role in a healthier community and a sustainable economy.

“This agricultural plan will assess our county’s current industry sub-sectors, and identify trends and opportunities for future growth,” said Marian Moskowitz, commission chair. “Data will only tell you so much. The best way to determine how to keep agriculture strong is to listen to our local farmers, hear what they really need and understand the ways we can assist them.”

Commissioner John Maxwell added that means all farmers.

“Whether they are first or fifth generation farmers, producers need to see a profitable path forward,” Maxwell said.

He calls Constantine and Derro “pioneers and experts in indoor growing” which he believes has great growth potential.

At Herban Farms on the grounds of Cheyney University acres of basil is grown hydroponically in controlled conditions and made available for retail and commercial markets.

“Rick and Justin demonstrate the entrepreneurship and ingenuity needed to succeed and grow a business, especially during these challenging times,” Maxwell said.

Agriculture and Community Development Services, based in Columbia, Md., has been contracted by Chester County to shepherd the plan and engage key stakeholders and agriculture groups.

Commissioner Michelle Kichline noted that Chester County’s agriculture is changing whether or not people realize. It’s no longer predominantly mushroom, dairy and equine operations.

“They see rows of field crops as they drive around,” Kichline said. “They spend an afternoon at their favorite winery or pick apples and pumpkins with their families in the fall. But it is a mix of traditional farming and newer business models that make Chester County a unique place to farm. We need to ensure the profitability of all of our producers, so that we continue to be one of the top agricultural producing counties, not just in the state, but in the nation.”

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Third Way Farm on Robin Hood Road in Havre de Grace is launching its Grass Fed Beef Shares program. Get in on the deal now for pick up in July.

Choose an eighth of a share, which provides 45- to 50-pounds of brisket, ribs, roasts, cubes, steaks and ground beef plus soup and marrow bones for $8 per pound or purchase a quarter share for $7.60 per pound.

To sign up or get more information go to thirdwayfarm.com

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Maryland Department of Agriculture, Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Exelon worked together to donate fish caught in the lifts at the Conowingo Dam to the Maryland Food Bank.

Exelon catches fish below the dam each spring when the shad are in spawning season and transport them above the hydroelectric facility so the fish can reproduce. Also caught were large numbers of catfish and snakeheads.

Snakeheads are an invasive species. Anglers are under orders to kill these fish and not return them to the water. Those who have caught them indicate they are hard to contain because of their slimy skin and even harder to kill.

However once cleaned the meat is quite tasty; even drawing the attention of some restaurants in Maryland.

The fish were killed and cleaned by a DNR processor, JJ McDonnell Co., frozen and donated to the Maryland Food Bank for distribution.

“We appreciate the roughly 370 pounds of donated fish we received from JJ McDonnell,” said Joanna Warner, spokeswoman for the Maryland Food Bank. “We are currently in the process of making this fish available to our network of community partners.”

Donations will happen throughout the season as snakeheads and also catfish are harvested from the trucking operation.

Meanwhile the USDA has agreed tp purchase $159.4 million in farm produce to help feed hungry families. Items included in the purchase are domestically produced seafood, fruits, legumes and nuts.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called this “largest single seafood purchase in the Department’s history” and will help seafood producers recover from COVID losses as well.

“These healthy, nutritious food purchases will benefit food banks and non-profits helping those struggling with food hardship as the Biden Administration works to get the economy back on track for American families,” Vilsack said.

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Vendors are being sought for the upcoming Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill.

The Fair Hill Organizing Committee is in search of “retail vendors who create, procure, and sell distinct offerings” to apply for this festival like event happening Oct. 14-17 at the new facility at the Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area.

Vendors can opt for a 20-by-20 foot booth on the arena side for $3,500 or a 10-by-10 foot spot on the infield for $1,500. Start the application process by going to maryland5star.us/vendor

“As we continue to make strides on the planning for the event, we are excited to begin accepting Retail Vendor applications,” said Kaitlyn McNerney, Event Director, Partnerships & Experiential of the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill. “We believe our Retail Vendors will be a key component of the customer experience, offering spectators another aspect to enjoy of the Maryland 5 Star in addition to showcasing world-class competition in the sport of Eventing.”

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Look for news soon on what the Cecil County Fair will look like in July. The Fair Board met Thursday night to hash out details. Even though Maryland’s mask mandate has been removed some groups participating may have to continue to wear masks when the fair runs July 23-31.

If you have a farm related event, idea or story you’d like to share in AgriCulture contact Jane Bellmyer at jbellmyer@cecilwhig.com or 443-245-5007.

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