This Week’s Headlines
Hogan honors 34 Century Farm families
By JONATHAN CRIBBS
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Jan. 24, 2017) — The Hermitage in Queen Anne’s County is a working farm, but it’s also a keyhole into the past.
It’s survived under care of the same family, the Tilghmans, for more than 300 years. The house on the farm is full of old family furniture and books, and if you want, you can check out the original deed from Lord Charles Calvert to Richard Tilghman in 1658, the year the farm was established.
“That’s the sort of daily reminder of the rich history we’ve got there,” said Jennifer Cholnoky, daughter of the farm’s current farm manager Ben Tilghman.
Last week, Gov. Larry Hogan awarded The Hermitage and 33 others a Century Farm designation, which honors families that have worked the same land for more than 100 years.
Since the program began in 1993, 173 farms — about 1 percent of the state’s 12,200 farms — have received the honor.
At a Jan. 17 ceremony inside the House of Delegates building, Hogan said it was important to recognize the state’s farmers who are often taken for granted. Century Farms, he said, “represent the absolute best of Maryland agriculture.”
“There’s a reason there’s a farm on our state seal,” Hogan said.
Hogan also pointed out the state had not held a Century Farm ceremony in eight years through two Democratic administrations helmed by Martin O’Malley, though he didn’t reference his predecessor by name.
Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder also said he believed agriculture had “long been ignored by other administrations.”
“Such an achievement deserves to be recognized,” Hogan said. “Two years ago, I pledged that the war on rural Maryland was over, and I meant what I said. … You have a place at the table.”
This year’s honorees came from 18 counties.
The Hermitage was the only farm to receive a Tricentennial Farm designation. Two farms — The Wright Place in Harford County and Hickory Ridge Farm in Kent County — were named Bicentennial Farms.
Cholnoky, who lives in upstate New York, said the special Tricentennial Farm designation for its 350 years also recognized a significant number of families who have farmed The Hermitage.
Families with names such as the Faulkners, the Cecils and the Chances.
The farm has been passed down to the oldest child of the family for several generations, a process not without challenges as the number of descendants grows, she said.
“It becomes a challenge every time there’s a change generationally in terms of being able to make decisions that benefit a growing family,” she said. “Over all, I think the family understands what it takes to keep this going for 350 years, and it’s a challenging landscape for sure.”
The farm continues to be operated by Ben and Paige Tilghman.
The original farm grew from 400 acres to 879, and it’s split between grain and timber.
Though the original farmhouse no longer stands, the current main home dates back to 1780. Several of Ben Tilghman’s brothers also live in homes on the farm.
“It’s where my heart is,” Cholnoky said, remembering summers spent on the farm.
Former Gov. William Donald Schaefer established the Century Farm program in 1994. To be considered, the farms must also contain a minimum of 10 of the original parcel’s acres and gross at least $2,500 a year from the sale of farm products.
Four farms have received the Tricentennial Farm designation, and 26 have received the Bicentennial Farm designation.
What follows is a complete list of the 34 Maryland Century Farm families and their home counties:
• Ben and Paige Tilghman, The Hermitage, Centreville, Queen Anne’s County.
• Barbara Wright Lowe, The Wright Place, White Hall, Harford County; and
• Frances and John R. Quinn, Hickory Ridge Farm, Massey, Kent County.
• Wesley M. & Katherine D. Gordon, Gordon Farm, Flintstone, Allegany County;
• Selma C. Kahl, Kahl Farm, Perry Hall, Baltimore County;
• Mark R. and Amye W. Scrivener, Scrivener Farm, Prince Frederick, Calvert County;
• David Williams and Margaret Ann Rogers, Fluharty’s Desire, Preston, Caroline County;
• John and Anne Shults, Shults Farm, Henderson, Caroline County;
• Franklin & Margaret Robinson, Robinson Home Farm, Marydel, Caroline County
• Kenneth & Sharon Pickett, Killdeer Valley Farm, Woodbine, Carroll County;
• Daniel D. & Sharon W. Fritz, Fritz Family Farms, LLC, New Windsor, Carroll County;
• Russell and G. Steven Shlagel, Shlagel Farm, Waldorf, Charles County;
• Curtis Eberspacher, Drawbridge Farm, Cambridge, Dorchester County;
• Elizabeth Handley-Nagel, Kuebler Farm, Vienna, Dorchester County;
• William & Darlene Goehringer, Pop’s Old Place Farm, Hurlock, Dorchester County;
• Raymond & Louise Ediger, Green Spring Farm, Thurmont, Fredrick County;
• Charles & Eugene Iager, Maple Lawn Farm, Fulton, Howard County
• Mary Helen Larrimore-Wolfe, Security Neglect Farm, Centreville, Queen Anne’s County,
• Joseph George Taylor, Jr., Cherry Blossom Farm, Church Hill, Queen Anne’s County;
• Barbara Carruthers Montfort, Chickahominy Farm, Bushwood, St. Mary’s County;
• James B. Montfort, III, Springfield, Bushwood, St. Mary’s County;
• Paul & Anne Twining, Twining Farm, Princess Anne, Somerset County;
• Brian T. Johnson, Elceed Farms, Inc., Westover, Somerset County;
• Mr. & Mrs. Phil MacDonald, Kitty’s Corner Farm Cordova, Talbot County;
• Donald Cober & Mary Ann Miller, Summerton Farm, Wittman, Talbot County
• Robert & Barbara Saathoff, Robert Saathoff Farm, Easton, Talbot County
• Charles & Ailiene Downes, Montpelier, Clear Spring, Washington County;
• Scot A. Poffenberger, MM Ranch, Sharpsburg, Washington County;
• G. Gorman and Elizabeth Brittingham, Jean Roger and Cynthia Brittingham Buchen, Brittingham Family Farms, Powellville, Wicomico County
• Milton P. Elliott, Jr., Sandy Lane Farms, Mardela Springs, Wicomico County
• Robert T. & Sharon L. Adkins, Robert T. & Sharon L. Adkins Farm, Parsonsburg, Wicomico County;
• Harry T. Clark, Willie Brown Farm, Salisbury, Wicomico County;
• Tayna Miller, Town’s End Farm, Newark, Worcester County and
• W. Dan & Willis E. Redden, Redden Farm, Pocomoke City, Worcester County.