ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland Public Television’s (MPT) popular original series Maryland Farm & Harvest, now in its ninth season, will feature farms and locations in Calvert and St. Mary’s counties and Baltimore City during a new episode airing at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, January 18. Viewers can watch on MPT-HD and online at mpt.org/livestream.
The weekly series takes viewers on a journey across the Free State, telling interesting stories about the farms, people, and technology required to sustain and grow agriculture in Maryland, the number one commercial industry in the state.
Joanne Clendining, who has earned two Emmy® awards from the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for her work on Maryland Farm & Harvest, returns as host. She is joined by Al Spoler, who handles duties for each episode’s The Local Buy segment.
With introductions filmed at the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster (Carroll County), the January 18 episode features the following segments:
- Tobacco Buyout (Southern Maryland). Maryland Farm & Harvest first visits Mead’s Lane Farm in Owings to talk with farmer Mike Phipps. Phipps explains how and why he continues to grow tobacco at his Calvert County farm. Only a handful of Maryland farms still produce tobacco, which was once the most popular crop in the state. This is due, in part, to the tobacco buyout program enacted by the state in 2000 to draw down the crop. Ninety percent of Maryland tobacco farmers have taken the buyout, including Brian Russell of Russell Brother’s Farm in Morganza, in St. Mary’s County. While difficult to give up the traditions and long history associated with the family farm’s tobacco heritage, Russell explains the benefits of transitioning to raising more grain and other crops.
- Sotterley Plantation (St. Mary’s County). Stories of endurance, resilience, and resistance are deeply rooted at historic Sotterley in Hollywood. For a century and a half, enslaved people were forced to work against their will at this former tobacco plantation. Gwendolyn Bankins, a descendant of enslaved people who lived on the National Historic Landmark farm and a member of Sotterley’s board of directors, has dedicated herself to uncovering and sharing stories of her ancestors. In addition, Sotterley’s Descendants Project brings the farm’s complex history to light and connects families of the former owners, workers, and enslaved people who were once part of the plantation. The path toward healing at Sotterley also includes using the farmland for good. With programs such as Growing for Good, run by farm manager Joe Goldsmith, people learn about agriculture, work the farm land, and grow produce to benefit the community. The program’s efforts have resulted in 70,000 pounds of food being donated to local food banks over the past decade.
- The Way it Works: Driving a steam tractor. Segment host Joe Ligo goes back in time, with the help of the Maryland Steam Historical Society. In the bygone days before modern high-tech tractors, farmers used steam engines to do their work. Joe show viewers just how much effort it takes to run one of these antique machines, and then takes an old steam tractor for a spin.
- The Local Buy: Old Line Plate (Baltimore City). Food historian and blogger Kara Mae Harris takes The Local Buy segment host Al Spoler to the Waverly 32nd Farmers Market in Baltimore City to select and purchase locally grown produce and meat. These fresh ingredients are used by Kara and Al to prepare some home-cooked historic Maryland dishes taken from Kara’s Maryland food blog, Old Line Plate. Recipes for the meal they prepare of traditional lamb stew, hot cabbage slaw, chow chow pickles, corn bread, and peach custard pie can be found at mpt.org/farm.
Maryland Farm & Harvest airs on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. on MPT-HD and online at mpt.org/livestream. Encore broadcasts are available on MPT-HD Thursdays at 11 p.m. and Sundays at 6 a.m. Each episode also airs on MPT2/Create® on Fridays at 7:30 p.m.
More than 10 million viewers have tuned in to Maryland Farm & Harvest since its fall 2013 debut. The series has traveled to nearly 400 farms, fisheries, and other agriculture-related locations during its first eight seasons, covering every Maryland county, as well as Baltimore City and Washington, D.C.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture is MPT’s co-production partner for Maryland Farm & Harvest. Major funding is provided by the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board.
Additional funding is provided by Maryland’s Best, Rural Maryland Council, Maryland Agricultural Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation (MARBIDCO), a grant from the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, MidAtlantic Farm Credit, Cornell Douglas Foundation, Maryland Soybean Board, Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts, Wegmans Food Markets, Maryland Nursery, Landscape, and Greenhouse Association (MNLGA), the Maryland Seafood Marketing Fund, Maryland Farm Bureau, and The Campbell Foundation.
Other support comes from Mar-Del Watermelon Association and Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation (MAEF).
–Jason Schellhardt, Maryland Department of Agriculture