The Western Howard County agricultural community is working together to promote local, fresh-from-the farm products.
Bowling Green Farm and Woodcamp Farm, two multi-generation family farms, have found that the key to their survival is to partner with other local farms to market their products.
Bowling Green Farm
Bowling Green Farm’s Tim and Mitzi Jones started making cheese last year from the milk produced by the Holsteins at the 10th generation dairy farm. They saw it as a way to keep their farm economically viable.
When word spread, four local farms —Triadelphia Lake View Farm, Larriland Farm, Clark’s Elioak Farm and Sharp’s at Waterford Farm — approached the Joneses to sell the cheese. Breezy Willow Farm’s R.J. Caulder also partnered with the Bowling Green Farm to include its cheese in her CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).
“One of the biggest inspirations,” said Mitzi Jones, “is seeing how the local farm community came together to embrace us and to promote and sell our cheese.”
“We are so excited to see Joneses bring Bowling Green Farm cheese to market,” said Linda Brown of Triadelphia Lake View Farm. “They have worked hard to diversify and grow their dairy farm operation and we are thrilled to market their cheese.” Brown feels connected to the Joneses as Triadelphia started out as a dairy farm.
The cheese became very popular and orders started rolling in. The Joneses have partnered with a Pennsylvanian cheese maker to produce their cheddar, tomato/basil cheddar, feta, mozzarella, swiss, dill farmer, farmer, colby, pepper colby, and a variety of cheese spreads with milk produced from their Howard County Holsteins.
David’s Natural Market, MOM’s Organic Market and Roots Market have also agreed to sell Bowling Green Farm’s cheese.
“Last fall, my wife and I bought Bowling Green Farm’s cheese at our nearby farmers’ market,” said Tom Duclos, David’s Natural Market’s operations manager, who approached the Joneses to retail their local cheese.
“The Joneses have created a niche market with their cheese here in Howard County. David’s Natural Market, located in the Wilde Lake Village Center, takes pride in offering our clients healthy, locally-produced food products. These products draw customers to our market and that is great for business.”
Woodcamp Farm’s Jason Hough agrees that the key to the success of his fourth-generation family farm is the good will of his fellow farmers. The local farmer markets the farm’s Howard County grown premium Angus beef, pork, lamb and pure local honey.
Hough also has formed partnerships with the same local farms as Bowling Green Farm. Hough has more than 160 beehives placed at these local farms that will produce an estimated 5,000 pounds of honey this year.
“We need the bees to harvest the high quality pumpkins and other produce grown on our farm,” said Linda Brown. Brown’s son, Jamie, planted nearly three acres of yellow clover on Triadelphia to aid in the pollination and honey production.
“It’s a win-win partnership,” said Hough. “Our honey bees pollinate, thereby helping our local farmers grow hearty, vibrant and tasty produce. In turn, the bees produce the honey.”
Hough extracts the honey produced on each farm and then packages it for the farms to sell, using their own labels.
The honey packaged for Breezy Willow Farm is included in its CSA packages. In addition, Caulder has partnered with Great Harvest Bread Co. in Columbia to make bread with the honey using her own recipes. The bread is then included in the CSA packages.
Howard County restaurants Bistro Blanc, Lisbon Town Grill and Drovers Grill & Wine Co., have served up the Woodcamp Farm’s locally-grown beef, pork and lamb that is locally packaged by The Mt. Airy Locker Co. (a.k.a., Wagner’s Meats).
Bistro Blanc Chef Mark Dixon believes in serving locally-grown foods to its clientele. Two years ago, Bistro Blanc began hosting the annual farm-to-table meetings, where local growers and restaurateurs have met face-to-face. Since, Bistro Blanc has been serving premium cuts of Woodcamp Farm beef, pork and lamb and Woodcamp Farm’s hamburgers.
“We specialize in serving hamburgers made with Woodcamp Farm’s ground beef,” said Dixon. “We started out serving the hamburgers only during lunch. Since the burgers were selling so well, we began serving the Woodcamp Farm hamburgers at dinner at the request of our patrons.”
Dixon estimates that the restaurant orders between 20 to 40 pounds of ground beef per week.
Mitzi Jones and Jason Hough gave credit to Kathy Zimmerman, Howard County agricultural marketing specialist, for her help in providing business and marketing assistance through Howard County Economic Development Authority’s Agricultural Marketing Program. Both sell their products at Howard County farmers’ markets that are also administered by the Agricultural Marketing Program. For more information about the program and the markets, visit howardcountyag.org.