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SMADC hosts fifth annual ‘Crop Hop’ bicycle tour
By JONATHAN CRIBBS
HUGHESVILLE, Md. (Oct. 18, 2016) — If you like farming and biking, be sure to pencil in a trip to St. Mary’s County this weekend.
The Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission is holding its fifth Crop Hop this Saturday, Oct. 22. It’s a fundraiser bike tour designed to highlight local farming and agriculture in the region.
The event features four routes to choose from ranging from 3 miles to more than 60, and it includes a picnic after the ride made with locally sourced food, said Jennifer Carnahan, the commission’s special projects coordinator.
The event, which attracted 320 riders in 2014, has steadily grown, though participation has dipped this year, she said, likely due to the event’s last-minute cancelation after Anne Arundel county couldn’t approve routes in time last year.
“We’re ready this year and good to go,” she said.
The post-ride picnic will include local ground beef for burgers, cheese from Clover Hill Dairy, local fresh-fried apples, brazed sweet and sour cabbage and kale salad made with local ingredients, she said. Vegetarians will also be able to choose a pasta dish made with local, fresh vegetables.
The bike routes wind their way through several St. Mary’s County farms where riders will be able to meet the owners of different operations, including, depending on the route, a winery. (Riders, however, won’t be served at the winery, Carnahan said.)
“We’ve always had a very good response from the riders in years past,” she said.
Routes have been cleared with the county sheriff, and the commission focuses on keeping them restricted to low-traveled roads, most of which are centered in the county’s Seventh District area this year, she said.
There are multiple start times for each route, and you must be registered to take part in the event. Riders will be given a Crop Hop wristband at check-in. The ride will take place rain or shine. All riders must wear a helmet as well, and riders less than 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult.
A portion of the event’s proceeds will be donated to the Southern Maryland Food Bank as well, Carnahan said.
To register and find more information on the event visit www.crophop.com.