County Executive Isiah Leggett urged residents to accept the state-wide Buy Local Challenge by purchasing local produce and other farm-fresh items during the 24th Annual Farm Tour and Harvest Sale scheduled Saturday, July 27 and Sunday, July 28 at more than a dozen farms around the county.
“Montgomery County’s annual Farm Tour and Harvest Sale provides a wonderful opportunity for residents to purchase locally grown fruits, vegetables, plants and more and in the process meet the hardworking families who produce those goods,” said Leggett. “Many local families look forward to this annual event because they have built lasting relationships with community farmers over the years and in doing so they have become active participants in supporting our local food system.”
The Buy Local Challenge, which takes place the last full week of July, was conceived and launched in 2007 by the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC) to highlight the economic and environmental benefits of buying local.
More than a dozen participating Montgomery County’s farmers will take advantage of the built-in marketing associated with the Buy Local Challenge and open their barns and fields to the public during this year’s Farm Tour and Harvest Sale.
“The farm tour is a fantastic opportunity for us to meet new faces and to visit with loyal customers,” said Stephanie Scuderi, owner of Fox Hollow Farm in Gaithersburg. “We have participated in the farm tour since 1999, and we look forward to it each year.” Fox Hollow Farm will showcase their meats, baked goods, produce and cheese this year at the business the family has owned since 1985.
Rock Hill Orchard in Mount Airy will be open both days and will offer pick-your-own flowers and berries, along with hayrides and a tour of their new robotic dairy.
“I think people will enjoy learning about our cows and their individual milking preferences," said John Fendrick, owner of Rock Hill Orchard. "We put in a robotic milking machine so that we could focus our attention on our cows. Our cows are always on pasture and some come in twice a day when they switch fields and others come up to be milked every six to eight hours. Just watching the variation between how each cow is milked by the robot is both educational and fun."
“This year’s farm tour will feature activities like tractor rides, pony rides, music, picnic areas and food booths,” said Jeremy Criss, Agricultural Services manager for the County and organizer of the event. “A good turn-out for the farm tour will inspire local farmers to keep up their hard work because shortening our food supply chain is a two-way street.”
The Farm Tour and Harvest Sale will take place rain or shine from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. More than a dozen Montgomery County farms will participate in the tour on Saturday, and nearly one half dozen will also participate on Sunday. For the names, locations, activities and offerings of all participating farms, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/farmtour.
# # #