Visit County's Rural Present

Visit County's Rural Present

July 17, 2002

Agricultural activities occupy about one-third of Montgomery County’s total land area, but it’s taken more than fertile soil to preserve the county’s rural legacy. Later this month, 15 of the county’s 526 farms will be open for the annual farm tour.

Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve is made up of 93,000 acres of land established by the Preservation of Agriculture and Rural Open Space Functional Master Plan and protected by 25-acre zoning. Over half of the agricultural reserve is preserved through transfer of development rights or easement purchase initiatives.

Some 526 farms and 350 horticultural enterprises in Montgomery County produce more than $350 million in economic contribution.

Among the farms on the tour is Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary in Poolesville, a sanctuary for abused, neglected farm animals that sits on 430 acres in the agricultural reserve.

The farm has a panoramic view of Loudoun County, Va., just across the Potomac River, that has become an icon for groups supporting policies that deter suburban sprawl.

Dave Hoerauf and Terry Cummings have provided sanctuary at Poplar Spring for 15 goats, 15 cows, four horses, 35 chickens, three turkeys, two rabbits, 33 pigs and geese and ducks.

Throughout the weekend, local farmers will open their farms to the public with sales of home-grown products and an array of activities for the whole family, including hayrides, music, farming demonstrations and food sampling.

Farm tour participants will be able to purchase local products, including fresh produce, flowers, plants and herbs. Some farms will feature attractions such as pony rides, pick-your-own vegetable patches and opportunities for close-up encounters with farm animals.

The Farm Tour and Harvest Sale is coordinated by the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development, in coopFifteen farms will be open on Saturday, July 27. The first 10 listed below will also be open on Sunday, July 28.

1. Agricultural History Farm Park, 18410 Muncaster Road, Derwood. Open Saturday and Sunday. Call 301-670-4661.

2. Bucklodge Christmas Tree Farm, 19920 Bucklodge Road (Rt. 117), Boyds. Open Saturday and Sunday. Call 301-349-5226.

3. Butlers Orchards, 22222 Davis Mill Road, Germantown. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, corn, tomatoes, jam. Hayrides, pony rides. Open Saturday and Sunday. Call 301-972-3299.

4. Catoctin Vineyards, 805 Greenbridge Road, Brookeville. State-of-the-art wine production. Taste Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Merlot, Eye of the Oriole; wine also for sale. Open Saturday and Sunday, noon-5 p.m. Call 301-774-2310.

5. Heyser Farm, 14535 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring. Home-grown peaches and other fruits and vegetables. Open Saturday and Sunday. Call 301-384-7859.

6. Homestead Farm, 15600 Sugarland Road, Poolesville. Pick your own peaches, blackberries, flowers and tomatoes; fruits and vegetables. Visit barnyard animals. Food, produce and ice cream for sale. Open Saturday and Sunday. Call 301-977-3761.

7. Lewis Orchards, 18900 Peach Tree Road, Dickerson. Family owned and operated since 1888. Peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, apples, corn, tomatoes, etc. Open mid-June to Thanksgiving. Open Saturday and Sunday. Call 301-349-4101.

8. Phillips Farm, 13720 Schaeffer Road, Germantown. Hay rides, pony rides, farm animals to pet, 1-acre maze. Open Saturday and Sunday. Call 301-540-2364.

9. Rock Hill Orchard, 28600 Ridge Road, Mt. Airy. Antique tractors, hay rides, produce, flowers. Open Saturday and Sunday. Call 301-831-7427.

10. Staub’s Country Inn, 19800 Darnestown Road, Beallsville. Restaurant, home cooking, fresh-baked pies. Call 24-hours in advance for whole pies. Open Saturday and Sunday. Call 301-349-2007.

11. Camp Olympic, 5511 Muncaster Mill Road, Rockville. Horse center and camp. Demonstrations, pony rides. Saturday only. Call 301-926-9282.

12. Jehovah-Jireh Farm, 19815 Martinsburg Road, Dickerson. Baby chicks, lambs and calves. Mini-cart rides for children. Order pasture-raised chicken, turkey and veal. Fresh brown eggs for sale. Saturday only. Call 301-349-4721.

13. Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary, 15200 Mt. Nebo Road, Poolesville. 400-acre farm borders Potomac River and C&O Canal. Animal refuge. Visit friendly horses, cows, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens and turkeys. Hay rides, refreshments, T-shirts and crafts benefit the non-profit sanctuary. Saturday only. Call 301-428-8128.

14. Red Wiggler, 25214 Peach Tree Road, Clarksburg. Music, dance and art installations. Hay rides. Call 301-916-4133.

15. Stadler Nursery, 6815 Rt. 108, Laytonsville. Hay rides to tour largest tree farm in the county. Saturday only, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Call 301-840-2044.