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Tanya Spanhla approached MCA back in 2014 to find land through our Land Link Program to grow some of the crops from Zimbabwe, her homeland. The following year she enrolled in the county's New Farmer Program - run by Montgomery County in partnership with MCA and the County's Ag Extension office. She started Passion to Seed farm on leased land in Germantown and aquired the expertise of the community through MCA's producers listserve when geese were ravaging her produce. She grows items that fellow immigrants have had trouble finding here (see her harvesting pumpkin leaves in this clip from MPTs Farm and Harvest show).
For those who have never run across it - the most factinating of her crops is the Kiwano- or horned melon. Looking like a heavily defended cucumber with deep emerald coloring and dull spikes, Kiwano has excelent health benefits and a fresh, cucmber-like taste. If you'd like to try it now's your chance, MCA has connected Tanya with Rockville's Dawson's Market and they now stock it. Eat it raw out of the spiky rind or wow friends and family this holiday with the fancy cocktails below.
Tanya's story is a perfect example of how we at MCA build support around a farm to help it not just survive, but thrive. Connecting farmers with farm land is the beginning - followed by fostering strong community and connection with fellow producers and consumers that help the farmer set down roots and prosper.
It takes a lot for a farmer to grow a farm (I mean, geese? Who saw that coming?) but you have to grow farmers first- and have farmland available.
Across Maryland, we lose an average of 20,000 acres of farmland per year. We will continue to build the resources that farmers need to thrive but we count on your suport to make it happen. Please make MCA part of of your end-of-year giving plan with your tax eductible donation.
Horned Melon Champage Cocktail served IN the prickly melon (perfect for New Years Eve)
Cheers From Your Friends at MCA!
Sunset over Sugarloaf at Shepherd's Hey Farm
Food - Wine - Photography Walk
Saturday, October 29
Join us for the 3rd in our series of seasonal photo safaris with professional photographers Martin Radigan and Robert H. Clark. In addition to unparalleled access to this stunning farm and individualized instruction from 2 great photographers, there will be delicious wine from Rocklands Farm & Winery and locally sourced food. We'll cover how to make a successful landscape photograph through composition, length of exposure, light, scouting, and more.
MCA members: $75 Non-members: $100*
*includes 1 year membership
Consider arriving a little early to stop by Comus Market just down the street for Winter Squash and Pumpkins, Cider, Preserves, Apples and more!
Also- for those committed shutterbugs- Martin is hosting a West Virginia Photo workshop to capture fall leaves. October 6-9
Join us October 23 at Black Hill Regional Park in Boyds to honor Anne and Jay! RSVP
Each year MCA presents the Royce Hanson Award in recognition of outstanding commitment toward the protection of Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve. The award is named after its first recipient, Dr. Royce Hanson, former Chair of the Montgomery County Planning Commission and original architect of the Ag Reserve.
This year we are pleased to honor Anne and Jay Cinque who have been active on issues in their own area of Boyds and lead Reserve residents in protecting local resources as part of Sugarloaf Citizens Association and Sugarloaf Land Conservancy. More about Anne and Jay here.
Please plan on joining us on Sunday October 23 at Black Hill Regional Park for food, music by The 19th Street Band (voted best local band by Bethesda Magazine), and a celebration of the Cinques and the Ag Reserve they cherish.
This event is free- but please consider becoming a member or renewing your MCA membership when you RSVP below- Thanks!
Immense Thanks to our Royce Hanson Award Event Sponsors:
Thanks to Rosa Gwinn on Facebook for the sweet photo!
WHEW- it was a hot one- three cheers to the crowd that made it out to the Second Annual Field and Fiddle Fest! Here is the crowd enjoying music by Justin Trawick and the Common Good, along with Poolesville’s own Smoke n’ Mangos. Thanks to Diana and Billy Conway for sponsoring our musical guests and immense gratitude to the hardest working sound guys ever Van Mertz and his crew ( Bill Taylor, Dwain Winters and Tony Premo) for making a barn sound like an opera house.
Field and Fiddle is this weekend – July 23! Here’s how the night will go down:Linden Farm- 20900 Martinsburg Rd – Dickerson MD
6-7 Smoke n’ Mangos / Games / FOOD! / Silent Auction Open
7- 8 Justin Trawick & The Common Good
8 – Auction Ends/Raffle Winner Announced
8 – 9 Justin Trawick and the Common Good Cont’d
9:15 ”The Call of the Land” Film Screening Learn More Here
Field and Fiddle is almost here! Take a look at the delectable baskets we’ve gathered for the silent auction.
July 23 - 6pm - 1st day Montgomery County Farm Tour Weekend
After touring local farms and the Reserve - bring a blanket, an appetite and an ear to beautiful Linden Farm (thanks, Sugarloaf Citizen's Association!)
"The Common Ground Market" opened on June 12. Market Wrap-Up Here. A great time was had by all, hoping you can come back again every Second Sunday through October. The market is looking for more vendors- apply here.
The Press Release announcing the market debut is here.
Montgomery County Park's has kindly agreed to host the market at Owen's Park in Beallsville. The new market represents the joyful fact that the number of small, diversified and sustainable family farms are growing in the Reserve. A number of the farms are owned/operated by women who have come to the Reserve to employ their craft. And now they are coming together to share their work with you and in the Reserve so that consumers can shop and experience this remarkable place. Licensed food trucks will be there too as well as some cute critters for kids to enjoy!
Supporting local farms and local food is the core of MCA's mission. Support Montgomery's Ag Reserve Donate Here.
Local Food Connection
Community Supported Agriculture
Restaurants & Retail
Artists of the Reserve
Montogmery Countryside Alliance
P.O Box 24, Poolesville, MD 20837
301-461-9831 • email@example.com
MCA is proud to announce that we have been once again recognized as one of the best small charities in the D.C. region by Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington. A panel of 110 expert reviewers from area foundations, corporate giving programs, and peer non-profit organizations evaluated 270 applications.
MCA is known as an effective and innovative non-profit whose efforts to preserve and promote Montgomery County’s nationally recognized 93,000 acre Ag Reserve have brought increased public and governmental support of local food production and farmland and open space preservation. Most importantly, MCA’s efforts are putting more farmers on the ground and keeping them there.