The past year and a half has impacted many people and businesses especially in the food industry. When the shelfs went bare, the farmers came to the fore front to provide for the community. Their products were available when the grocery stores couldn’t provide. This encouraged people to support and buy local as well as creating an awareness of knowing where your food is coming from and getting fresh products.
The agricultural innovation grant provided money to farmers who wanted to diversify their business and open roadside stands where they could sell their produce and meat products. As the demand grew, the farmers had to as well to continue to provide to the community.
Needwood Farms has been in business for over a century and is a completely family ran operation. Situated in the country of Burkittsville, MD, the family owns and raises an angus herd that they get butchered from a family-owned USDA certified butcher. It is their main goal to provide their customers and community with a safe, nutritious product that is locally raised. Previously the Pry family would sell their meat by the half or the whole. After receiving the grant, they were able to purchase a walk in freezer that allows them to sell their meat by the cut. This will allow their business to grow and provide their products to more people as it is hard for families to purchase and store so much meat up front.
Stillpoint Farm, better known as Milkhouse Brewery, also received funding to purchase freezer space for their farm stand to diversify and increase their sales of meat, wool products, produce, and value-added products. This Mount Airy farm is sits on 47 acres where they raise a herd of sheep, lamb, make hay, and grow hops for their beer. This avenue of supporting and buying local will allow them to increase direct sales of their products straight to the customer.
Frey Farm Fresh Produce and Freezer Ready Beef is located in Union Bridge where the Frey family is continuing to grow their business of beef and produce sales. Previously, they have raised feeder steers and sold to their customers by the half or the whole. They also grow sweet corn and other fresh produce to offer as well. This farm received money for a roadside stand as well has freezer storage to meet the demand of their customers. This allows them to provide beef by the cut or in packages as this demand is rising because families can’t store a large quantity at one time. It will also allow their produce sales to increase as well as their customer base.
Farmers are diversifying and supporting their community by providing fresh, local products. Supporting local and knowing where your food comes from is very important.
The Agriculture Innovation Grant will open again in 2022 and you can find more information about the grant here: Discover Frederick Maryland (discoverfrederickmd.com).