Another spring comes to Clagett, and another
Salad greens, turnips, radishes, carrots, broccoli, kohlrabi, collards, spinach, braising
greens, garlic, and a few strawberries will be
the first harvest in May and June.
The 283-acre farm was bequeathed to
CBF in 1981 by the estate of Charles Clagett.
Its mission is to serve as a model of sustainable farming, and as an educational center for
the public, teaching the connection between
how land is used and water quality.
Clagett produces organic vegetables and
fruit and grass-fed beef cattle. Clagett
Manager Michael Heller spearheads the
Maryland Grazers Network to help farmers
transition from corn-fed to grass-fed livestock. And Assistant Manager Rob Vaughn
oversees a nursery operation which produces 10,000 native trees and shrubs a year.
Volunteers will plant those trees along
streams on livestock farms in western
Maryland and in West Virginia in the spring
and fall. The trees will buffer streams from
Every year CBF’s Clagett Farm in Upper
Marlboro performs a sort of loaves and
fishes miracle. Organically.
Clagett fields will produce about 90,000
pounds of vegetables and fruit by the time
the last turnips and arugula are picked in
November. About 40 percent of that will
go to social service agencies that serve people in need, such as Martha’s Table
and Horton’s Kids. The rest will be distributed as community supported agriculture
But you’d never believe this bounty was
possible visiting the farm the first week of
April. The fields are brown stubble. Even
many of the winter cover crops have been
The green house, on the other hand, has a
carpet of green sprigs—germinated plants.
Workers such as Jeanette Proudfoot and
Genevieve Fulco load flats of Chinese cabbage seedlings into the bed of a pick-up
trunk. They bump over dirt farm roads.
They transplant the seedlings by hand into
a field with the help of volunteer Allyssa
Cain. In another field, worker Dave Vernon
plants pea seeds directly with the help of
another tractor. Or at least he tries to. The
lower field is still too wet.
CBF’s Clagett community
serves up sustainable farming
and water quality.
farm runoff. All of this is part of CBF’s outreach and assistance to help farmers become
sustainable at modest cost.
A large part of the financial support for the
farm comes from about 250 families who
buy CSA shares. Every week, from mid-May
to mid-November, these families pick up a
portion of what’s been harvested.
The staff and volunteers at Clagett are the
miracle workers. Talk to them for a few minutes and you understand it’s more than a
Vernon grew up in Western Wales. He and
his wife came to the United States nine years
ago. Vernon volunteered at Clagett while he
waited for his working papers. He liked it so
much that when the papers came through
he decided to just work at Clagett.
Like the paid workers, volunteers also seem
to bond to Clagett Farm. They say there’s
something special about the place. And for a
few hours of work, volunteers can earn a
share of fresh produce to take home.
Volunteers are especially needed at the farm
on Wednesdays and Saturdays—harvest
days—when CSA members get their shares.
In other Maryland news, our office in Easton is
looking forward to some early summer events. For
more information, visit cbf.org/mdesEvents.
2014 Maryland Legislative
Session Wrap Up
Sometimes status quo is a good thing.
In an election year it can even be viewed
This year’s session of the Maryland General
Assembly was a success because it
sustained the substantial progress we
achieved over the past few years. We
fought off attempts to derail that progress.
We kept important programs funded at current or expanded levels. Where necessary,
we made compromises, but never on fundamental issues.
To read the full wrap up of Maryland’s
2014 session, visit cbf.org/MDSession.