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Looking for Sod? Bullfrog Sod can help!

Allie Bennett

There’s a new sod farm in town!

Just over a year ago, following a dream, the Bennett and Killian families purchased the well-known Chuck Wade Sod Farm property in Adamstown. Today, the business is known as Bullfrog Sod. Recently we visited the farm and spent some time with owner/operator Allie Bennett to learn about the family and operation.

Allie, a native of New Jersey, spent many years living in New York City. However, this city girl always had the itch to move to the country and dreamt about raising her family on a farm. She and her husband, Andy, a local agricultural insurance agent, ended up moving down the road from Chuck Wade Sod Farm and always admired the property. When the property hit the market, the couple, along with Allie’s parents Steve and Suzanne Killian (who then lived in Herndon, VA) jumped on the opportunity. The two couples decided to go into business together and become sod farmers. “We are proud to uphold the farm’s long-standing tradition of close customer relationships, consistent communication and of course, top quality sod,” Allie says.

Did you know that not only can sod be harvested and laid in the winter, but it can also be beneficial to do so? What better time than the present to beat the spring landscaping rush and create a beautiful lawn now for holiday gatherings? Bullfrog Sod uses a mixed seed sod blend that is 90% Tall Fescue and 10% Kentucky Bluegrass. This cool-weather grass blend can withstand cold temperatures and simply goes dormant during the winter. Allie is proud to produce high-quality sod that is completely Maryland Certified! That means their products are produced under the supervision/inspection of the Maryland Department of Agriculture. Generally, certified products do not contain weeds and have a lower instance of insect and disease problems.

Bullfrog Sod is a true family affair with three generations involved. Allie loves living next to and working alongside her parents. She and Andy also love the opportunity to give their young boys (ages 3 and 1 ½) the experience of learning about and growing up in agriculture. The sole non-family employee, John, has become just like family, says Allie. He is their on-farm sod expert helping to keep the sod healthy year-round. Allie and her family are excited about this venture and appreciate the opportunity to serve the local community in their sod needs. Contact Allie directly at the information listed below to learn more about laying sod this winter. Be sure to visit their website to learn more about how to purchase from Bullfrog Sod and follow along with their Instagram and Facebook pages. (If you’ve never seen a sod cutter in action, make sure to check out their videos because that machine is incredible!) 

Sod cutter

CONTACT INFORMATION:
Allie Bennett
Chief Operating Officer
Bullfrog Sod, LLC
(301) 662-0736
allie@bfsod.com

As always, if you’re looking for a specific local farm product, head to our website where you can search for local ag and craft beverage products!

Pam Moser: The Woman Behind the Brand, Moo Cow Creamery

During the month of March, Homegrown Frederick is featuring Frederick County’s leading ladies in the agriculture and craft beverage industries and we are proud to introduce you to the woman behind Moo Cow Creamery, Pam Moser. 

As her family’s eighth-generation to farm in Frederick County, protecting the family legacy has always been a priority. Walnut Ridge Farm, the dairy operation Pam owns and manages, was started in 1936 by her grandfather. After some unforeseen circumstances, Pam was able to join into a partnership with her family signifying a turning point for the farm. She brought a fresh set of eyes to their operation, partially due to the fact she hadn’t lived through the Great Depression. Pam expressed the need for their operation to become more efficient. In many cases, increased efficiency initially equaled higher costs; however, she was committed to making things easier on everyone. It was a long road, but after working alongside her father for years, she proved she was capable of managing the dairy. Pam obtained sole ownership in 2015 and indicates how her husband and children have stepped up and worked together to make necessary changes to survive the volatile and ever-changing dairy industry.

Pam learned early on in life to be fierce and outspoken in order to gain respect as a decision-making manager of Walnut Ridge Farm. Otherwise, she would not be where she is today. Pam not only demanded but earned the respect of those in the industry. She expressed that while her daughter, Amber, has been exposed to the hardship of not being taken seriously because she is a woman in her field, the perception is changing as more women become leaders in agriculture. Obtaining credit was also a struggle for Pam. It was not necessarily due to being a woman, but because her sole income source was the farm. When asked what advice she has for a young female farmer, she said, “Be ready for 24/7 commitment. It is not a nine-to-five job. You’re married to it, you sleep with it and vacation with it. The farm is on your mind all the time!”

Since 2020, Pam and her family have been working toward the end goal of eventually being able to process their own milk on the farm and sell their products through an on-farm market. The beginning step was having their milk made into flavored artisan cheeses and sweet cream butter, adding an extra source of revenue to the operation. You can shop Moo Cow Creamery’s delicious products on their website SHOP | Moo Cow Creamery WRF. They offer on-farm pickup but are also able to provide shipping when contacted directly. Last year Moo Cow Creamery was awarded funding through our Agricultural Innovation Grant Program to purchase a refrigerated van, allowing easier transport of their products.

Pam wanted to leave us with some advice for business owners, “Communication is the number one key to business survival and success. It is important within all aspects of your business – from employees and partners to bankers and customers and everyone in between.” She also expressed the importance of being open to innovative thinking and change. “No one likes change, but it is how and why we are here. We need to always be brainstorming ways to become more efficient, providing economic growth to our business and community.” Lastly, Pam said, “Love your job and you will never work a day in your life. Find your village and lean on them. Family is our village.”

The application period for our Ag Innovation Grant, in which Pam received funding, is currently open until March 31. Information is available at Discover Frederick Maryland (discoverfrederickmd.com). Don’t forget to support local; find your favorite local products here Homegrown Frederick!

OED Welcomes Becca Tucker to the Team

The Frederick County Office of Economic Development (OED) is pleased to introduce Becca Tucker as the new Senior Business Development Manager of Agriculture. Becca dives into her new role to provide service to farmers starting and expanding their ag businesses and economic vitality. She is excited to help further develop the Homegrown brand while marketing local agricultural producers.

Becca earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Dairy Science with a minor in Agricultural and Applied Economics from Virginia Tech. Coming from a dairy farm family with deep roots in Frederick County, she joins our OED team as a familiar face to the local farming community. The Tucker family owned and operated Mid-View Farm in Jefferson, Maryland, marketing milk for more than 97 years. Upon graduating from VT, Becca joined the family business making her a 5th generation farmer where she discovered a passion for managing calf and herd health. In December 2018 Becca’s father Stan, succumbed to a nearly 10-year battle with multiple myeloma. Shortly after his death the family made the difficult decision to sell their herd. Becca then began a career with the USDA- Farm Service Agency assisting Frederick, Montgomery, and Howard County farmers with federal program funding. Due to her strong relationships and support within the local agriculture community, Becca transitions to the OED Ag Team seamlessly. She is passionate about agriculture and the industry’s importance in Frederick County and is committed to serving our local farmers.

Becca’s home is on the family farm in Jefferson with her dog Callie, and cat Yoda. Her mother and grandmother also have houses on the same property; and Justin, Becca’s brother, still crop farms the land.

Fun facts about Becca:

  1. She was a Virginia Tech Cheerleader throughout her college career, Go Hokies! Becca experienced a front row seat to all home football and basketball games, ACC & NCAA basketball tournaments, ACC Football Championships, and Bowl Games. She states, however, that nothing compares to a night football game in Lane Stadium that triggers the Richter Scale.
  2. Becca’s loves cows, candy, and the color orange.
  3. She teaches a fitness class one evening a week and works part time at a local dairy farm.

You can reach Becca by phone 240-739-2013 or email RTucker1@FrederickCountyMD.gov.

Let’s get Crafty for the Holidays

The holiday season is here and it’s time to celebrate with holiday cheer over some fun crafts. Every family has their own traditions for the holidays, but it’s never too late to start new ones. Craft nights with family or friends can kick off the holiday season with lots of joy and cheer.

Making a holiday wreath to decorate your front door is easier than you might think, and a great opportunity to add your own person touch.

Supplies you will need:

  1. Pine Leaves
  2. Wire Wreath Frame
  3. Floral Wire
  4. Scissors/Wire cutters
  5. Hot glue gun and glue
  6. Any desired accessories to add to wreath

How to make a Christmas Wreath:

  1. Collect pine leaves
    1. You can go outside and explore the woods or check out our list of Frederick County Christmas tree farms here
  2. Make bundles with your pine leaves and attach at an angle to your wreath frame with wire
    1. Additional greens can be added into the bundles (go out and explore your yard for unique branches, and greens)
  3. Repeat step 2, slightly overlapping each bundle to cover the wire until the frame is full
  4. Once your wreath is full, fluff out the leaves until you get your desired look
  5. Add any accessories you choose with either wire or hot glue
    1. Bow, pinecones, ornaments, etc.
  6. Hang your wreath on the door to welcome visitors with a bit of holiday cheer!

We can’t wait to see all the crafts you do this holiday season and remember to support your local farmers and businesses!

Episode 5 – Veggie Farms

On July 1, 2021 the Frederick County Office of Economic Development opened applications for the second round of Agricultural Innovation Grants. More than 30 applications were received for funding to help farmers diversify through value added agriculture. Some of the applicants who received grant funding this round were able to grow their vegetable operation. Let’s explore the innovative technologies and plans these farms have.

Fox Haven Organic Farm is located in Jefferson, Maryland on 730 acres offering a learning center, regenerative farming practices, and ecological retreats. Fox Haven received funding for infrastructure that will improve garden operations and allow them to grow a wider selection of leafy greens. This will also influence their new innovative farm initiative of using shallow swales for collecting and storing rainwater. This stored rainwater will support the productions of nut and fruit trees and varieties of berries.

District Farms is located in Frederick, MD where they grow lettuce hydroponically under glass in a one-acre green house. They received funding to conduct research and develop technology that will allow the farm to patent an earth/air heat exchanger engineered specifically for greenhouses growing leafy greens. This advanced technology aims to reduce the air temperature within greenhouses during both warmer and cooler months. This will lead to quicker growing times for their leafy greens, prevent loss of products, lower energy costs, and allow them to grown new varieties.

Grossnickle Farm, located in Walkersville, MD received funding to support their goal of building a store on their farm. This money was granted to help fund the well and septic expenses that are required when opening a farm store for the public. The store will allow Grossnickle Farm to expand their sales of fresh products as well as offering other locally grown products to their customers and community.

The Ag Innovation Grant allows Frederick County farmers to start something new or expand on their current operation to continue to economically grow and become sustainable. The next round will open on March 1, 2022. For more information on this grant program, you can reach out to Katie Stevens at KStevens1@FrederickCountyMD.gov.

Say Thank You This Thanksgiving

About 12,000 years ago, the development of agriculture completely changed the way humans lived by allowing permanent settlement through the advent of farming.

Have you ever stopped to think what the world would look like without farmers?  Without agriculture, how would we get the food on our tables, the clothes on our backs or the things we enjoy as a part of our quality of life? Farmers provide their community and this world with endless products to make our lives better.

Let’s look at the integral role agriculture plays in our lives by observing different categories of essential items you might not realize are produced by a farmer.

Entertainment
Violin Strings, Pianos, Films, Drums

Sports
Football, Baseball, Gloves, Uniform

Health Care
X-Ray Films, Skin Transplants, Surgical Sutures, Cold and Allergy Medications

Vehicle
Tires, Upholstery, Ethanol, Biofuels

School
Books, Crayons, Desks, Chalk, Pencils

Clothing
Shirts, Jackets, Jeans, Shoes

Household
House, bed, cleaning products, furniture

The list could continue to go on and on. Agriculture is EVERYWHERE and part of your EVERYDAY life.

Take a little bit of time this Thanksgiving to say Thank You to the local farmers that provide our community with endless necessities throughout the year. It could be an email, a letter in the mail, message on Facebook or a quick phone call. You can find a list of farmer’s here starting on page 44.  Sending a simple thank you message for working hard everyday and playing an essential role in everyone’s life will be sure to bring a smile to their face and let them know how much they are appreciated! 

One simple act of kindness will go a long way.

Agriculture Innovation Grant

On July 1st 2021, the second round of Ag Innovation Grant applications opened for the public to apply. This grant is designed to help farmers be innovative through value added agriculture to help generate more profit on the farm and become more sustainable. The application consists of questions relating to your business along with submitting a business plan. These are then analyzed by a panel of four judges that are industry representatives in different sectors.

This round there were 33 applicants who applied with a total request of over $1.4 million dollars. We are excited to be granting money to 10 of these applicants. Projects consist of commercial freezer space, saw mill buildings, feasibility study for advanced technologies, HydroGeo territory mapping and well and septic for a farm store. Farmers in Frederick County are finding diverse ways to grow their businesses and to keep farming their land to be able to provide for their community.

Are you interested in growing your farm business and innovating the future for the agricultural industry in Frederick County? The Agriculture Innovation Grant may be the perfect opportunity for you. You can find more information about the grant HERE.

The next round of grants will open again on March 1, 2022. Feel free to reach out to Katie Stevens, kstevens1@frederickcountymd.gov or Kayla Umbel, kumbel@frederickcountymd.gov for more information about the grant as well.

Looking Back on The Great Frederick Fair

The fair kicked off Friday night (9/17) with the agricultural awards ceremony where both 2020 and 2021 winners were recognized. Each year the Ag Business Council, The Great Frederick Fair, and the Ag Education PR Committee recognizes the Farm Family of the Year, Ag Business of the Year, Young Farmer of the Year and Ag Advocate of the Year. You can read about the winners at the links below.

2020 – Homegrown Frederick

2021- Homegrown Frederick

As the week went on, each day had events for everyone to attend. From educational activities for all ages to sipping on some beer, wine or mixed drinks made right here in Frederick County. And don’t forget the barns that were filled with animals that the youth get ready all year to showcase during the fair. It’s the biggest classroom to learn all things about Agriculture. The week ended with the youth livestock sale where the top seller brought the record high of $20,000.

Congratulations to all the exhibitors, youth, fair staff, volunteers and sponsors for putting on an awesome week at The Great Frederick Fair. Let the countdown to next year begin.