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Specialty Crop Tour for Young Growers - One Straw Farm and Baugher's Orchards

November 2012
One Straw's operation has a large CSA component while Baugher's diversified into agritourism, a bakery and restaurant.

One Straw's operation has a large CSA component while Baugher's diversified into agritourism, a bakery and restaurant.

Ben Lerew wrote an article to summarize the last Specialty Crop Tour of the 2012 season, where YGA visited two fabulous Maryland growers.

One Straw Farm

A group of YGA members traveled to Maryland to spend the morning at One Straw Farm. Drew and Joan Norman have been running their farm in White Hall, MD since 1983 and have been Food Alliance certified since 2010. Their 175 acre farm is the largest FA certified vegetable farm in Maryland. Their produce primarily sells to CSA members, but they also sell to local restaurants, wholesalers, as well as farm markets.

While One Straw Farm is very well known among their community for producing high quality vegetables, they also have realized the need to expand their farming skills beyond vegetables. The need for expansion is not just for financial reasons, but to bring along their next generation farmer, their son. The Norman’s are venturing into livestock, primarily pigs and goats. Their son has found a greater interest in raising animals than the family traditional vegetables. This expansion will help keep Andrew interested in the farm and help provide One Straw Farm with financial security for Andrew’s future. One important lesson that the Norman’s wanted to share with the group is that it is important to expand on growers interests so that farming is not just profitable, but also enjoyable.

Baugher's Orchards

In the afternoon, the group made its way to Westminster, MD to Baugher’s Orchards for a fantastic lunch at Baugher’s restaurant and a tour of the entire operation. Dwight Baugher showed us around his 600 acre farm that started as a small 60 acre farm and now consists of a restaurant, a fruit market, a farm market, a bakery, cider press, packing house, petting zoo and his vast variety of orchards and vegetable fields which also has pick-your-own. 

While touring Dwight’s orchards, YGA members were able to see different varieties of fruit on different root stocks and different spacing. We were also able to see how Baugher’s orchards make best use out of a field while preparing it for planting a new variety the next year. Dwight plants early sweet corn, harvests and then plants caliente mustard, chops it, and then cultivates it into the ground as a natural fumigator. Though Dwight is not completely sure if it works, everything he has seen and been told has convinced him it is worth trying.

Baugher’s restaurant was started as a small sandwich shop that was built in order to draw in customers to buy fruit. That has now grown into a well know restaurant with a fruit market right next door to see all their fruits and vegetables. Their farm market sells fruit, vegetables, baked goods from their bakery, cider and other produce from local dairy farms. The Baughers make all of their baked goods from scratch. It provides everything for the markets, as well as the restaurants. During Thanksgiving, the bakery will produce and sell over 2000 pumpkin pies along with all their other pies. Their cider press will produce around 60,000 gallons of cider a year.

The YGA members that were able to attend the Maryland tour were able to see two fantastic organizations that have proven to be very successful at what they do over the past generations. From growing produce to running markets, those in attendance learned some helpful tricks, were given great financial advice, and plenty to think about this winter as they plan for the upcoming season next spring. A special thanks to the Norman’s of One Straw Farm and the Baugher’s of Baugher’s Orchards for taking the time out of their busy schedule to educate the YGA and also to Catherine Lara, PSU Extension for coordinating the trip. For those of you who missed the last tour of the year, stay tuned for upcoming spring trips to gain the little tips that make our jobs as farmers a little easier.