Chesapeake Harvest Hosts Free Wholesale Readiness Workshop

Responding to requests from regional growers, Chesapeake Harvest is hosting a free, wholesale readiness workshop on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. Beginning at 3:00 PM, farmers in all phases of business development are invited to start the experience with a one-hour tour of the facilities at Other Side Produce located at 9654 Brickyard Drive, Seaford, Delaware, 19973.

Other Side manager, Dallas Lister elaborates, “The mission of Other Side Produce is to bring the highest quality produce to market for restaurants, schools, and other institutional entities. In order to improve purchases from the local market, we feel it is beneficial to helps local farmers understand how our customers expect to receive their product.  We welcome the opportunity to work with local growers on how packaging, storage, and transportation of produce translates to the end user.”

Following the Other Side tour, workshop attendees will travel (transportation not provided) to Parkside High School in Salisbury, MD where, beginning at 4:30 PM, they will further explore the unique standards for produce harvesting and post-harvest handling when selling into wholesale markets.

Ashley and Johnny Harrison, owners of Terrapin Farms, a hydroponic operation in Berlin, MD, will provide a look at their journey from 2015 startup to thriving 2018 farm operation, including the challenges of keeping products in top condition until they reach the end user. Ashley remarks, “We are looking forward to sharing some of what we’ve learned over the past few years and hope our knowledge can help guide other small farms that seek to sell wholesale locally.”

Following the Harrison’s presentation, Chesapeake Harvest consultant, Lindsay Gilmour, will offer a detailed discussion of wholesale, post-harvest handling requirements, particularly as relate to food safety regulations.

Included with this information-packed evening will be a bagged supper, prepared by members of the Parkside High School culinary program, and a student-led tour of A+ Garden Centre, an award-winning, community-supported and student-operated Career Technology Program (CTE), under the direction of Mr. Jerry Kelly. Kelly notes, “”We appreciate the work of Chesapeake Harvest and our region’s farmers in providing students with opportunities for both analysis and hands on experience in the local food movement.” Students will be on hand to discuss their farm research and greenhouse growing program at the March 20th event.

Elizabeth Beggins, production manager with Chesapeake Harvest, notes, “The end goal with this free workshop is to support regional growers in their efforts to showcase the products they work so hard to produce. Whether by walking them through the food safety certification process, connecting them with buyers, or – as with this workshop – offering wholesale readiness training, we are helping regional farmers expand their local food markets. We care about increased access to Delmarva-grown produce in the Chesapeake Bay foodshed, and we are here to help make that possible.”

In addition to wholesale readiness workshops and wholesale buying opportunities, Chesapeake Harvest offers individualized food safety consultations for farmers seeking Harmonized Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification.

For all training opportunities, registration is required.  Call 410.690.7348, email info@chesapeakeharvest.com or visit www.ChesapeakeHarvest.com. To register online for the free classes, participants can also use the Events tab on the Chesapeake Harvest Facebook page.

About Chesapeake Harvest:

Chesapeake Harvest, a project of the Easton Economic Development Corporation, is working to build a vibrant local food economy on the Eastern Shore producing healthy food bursting with flavor. Chesapeake Harvest is committed to sourcing local, clean, and diverse ingredients that fuel the growth of a regional Chesapeake Cuisine. Chesapeake Harvest seeks out farmers who show their commitment to regenerative agricultural practices that protect the future of the Chesapeake Bay. Chesapeake Harvest gives preference to those who share our belief that sustainability is not a fixed point but a pathway of continuous improvement

About the EEDC:

Easton Economic Development Corporation was launched in 2013 to drive economic vitality, smart redevelopment, and business creation in the historic Town of Easton, Maryland to foster a healthy quality of life for all generations. The EEDC works toward managing Easton’s continued growth as a diverse and healthy “smart town,” leading innovation where the land and water meet.

EEDC Partners with Homestead Gardens and Tidal Creek

The Easton Economic Development Corporation has recently entered into a partnership with Homestead Gardens, the Anne Arundel gardening stores, and Tidal Creek, an Eastern Shore grower, to use the Chesapeake Harvest name on a new line of starter plants.

Tidal Creek’s 50 most popular varieties will be packaged in eco-friendly, bio-degradable pots with tags bearing the Chesapeake Harvest name and logo and will be sold at Homestead Gardens’ two garden centers.

Brian Riddle, owner of Homestead Gardens, approached the EEDC to license the Chesapeake Harvest name, says Tracy Ward, executive director. “He wanted a new brand that would resonate with his clientele,” Ward explains.

The EEDC will earn a percentage of sales to put back into its programs that help the Eastern Shore’s food economy. In addition, the Chesapeake Harvest name and logo will reach some 20,000 customers this season alone.

If the product line is a successs, Mike Leubecker, manager at Tidal Creek, says he hopes to expand it beyond the initial varieties while introducing it to other stores up and down the eastern seaboard.

Chesapeake Harvest Savory Basil starter plants available at Homestead Gardens

February has been filled to overflowing with food safety efforts! Farmers near and far are singing the praises of food safety educator, Lindsay Gilmour, and the whole Chesapeake Harvest team. This month, in addition to attending numerous seminars and conferences, we’ve provided one-on-one support, including risk assessments, food safety plan writing, and wholesale marketing consultation, to nine farms. Six of those farms were in Virginia and were part of a collaborative effort with Local Food Hub.

We also teamed up with Future Harvest/CASA, for a GAP vs FSMA workshop at Chesapeake College, as part of the Field School educational series.

Holly Gorham of Agape Gardens in Queenstown, MD, who took part in the Field School class, says, “I learned so much! I always wash my hands before harvesting, but it didn’t occur to me that I needed to set up a hand washing station for my kids.”

Lee O’Neill, of Radical Roots Community Farm in Keezleton, Virgina, took part in a farm risk assessment. He reports, “Lindsay’s understanding of GAP policies and her guidance on how to apply GAP to our farm is invaluable. Her ability to look at our current systems and make suggestions to streamline the recordkeeping process and to highlight the necessary changes required make the process of applying for GAP certification much less intimidating. I am so appreciative of her time and of the funding offered to share her services to farms like ours.”

Is there a farmer in your life who should tap into the Chesapeake Harvest resources? Email us at info@chesapeakeharvest.com.

Easton Hosts Craft Beverage Summit

Join Easton Economic Development Corporation on October 17, 2017 for an informal discussion of the economic and community impact of a brewery, distillery, or winery in the town of Easton, MD. Mayor Bob Willey will host a panel of professionals including Kevin Atticks of the Brewer’s Association of Maryland. Panelists will give an overview of the craft beverage industry in Maryland and answer questions regarding successful projects across the state.

A representative of the Maryland Comptroller’s Office will also be there to provide an explanation the state’s new “Reform on Tap” initiative. The task force is developing legislative proposals based on extensive review of Maryland’s beer laws and other states’ laws. The goal of the program is to facilitate the growth and success of Maryland’s craft beer industry and other independent businesses.

The summit will be at the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, 114 S. Washington Street, Easton, MD. If you are a local brewer or distiller and would like to have a complimentary table to showcase your products, please call Pam Skillings, 410-690-7348. The event is free and open to the public.

About the EEDC
Easton Economic Development Corporation was launched in 2013 to drive economic vitality, smart redevelopment, and business creation in the historic Town of Easton, Maryland to foster a healthy quality of life for all generations. The EEDC works toward managing Easton’s continued growth as a diverse and healthy “smart town,” leading innovation where the land and water meet. http://eastonedc.com/

About the Reform on Tap Initiative
In response to the passage of House Bill 1283 during the 2017 Legislative Session and with the goal of modernizing Maryland’s beer laws and promoting economic growth across the State, Comptroller Peter Franchot established “Reform on Tap” Task Force in April 2017. http://comptroller.marylandtaxes.com/

About the Brewer’s Association of MD
The Brewer’s Association of Maryland (BAM) founded in 1996, is the non-profit trade association of Maryland brewing companies. The mission of BAM is to grow, promote and protect the Maryland craft beer industry. http://marylandbeer.org/

Chesapeake Harvest Hires Production Manager

Chesapeake Harvest, a fresh produce purveyor located in Easton, MD, is pleased to announce the appointment of Elizabeth Beggins of St. Michaels, MD, as its new Production Manager, focusing on educating and enrolling the region’s farmers in Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification – ensuring fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled, and stored as safely as possible.

Beggins spent over a decade as a market farmer on Maryland’s Eastern Shore before becoming a food-focused freelance writer, educator, and vegetable garden consultant. As director of the You Food Project, an initiative rooted in school and community gardens, Elizabeth facilitated increased awareness of the connection between personal and environmental health. She helped launch the St. Michaels farmers market in 1998 and has served in many capacities including market manager, producer, volunteer and adviser. A graduate of University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, she moved to the Bay Hundred in 1993. 

Beggins comments, “I believe that our health depends on a keen understanding of what we eat, and that our choices as consumers are vital to sustaining ourselves and our planet.”

Chesapeake Harvest, a subsidiary of Easton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC), aggregates fresh produce grown by local farmers on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, then markets and sells the produce to conscientious buyers in the Baltimore-Washington Metro area. Chesapeake Harvest envisions a regional food production and distribution system that increases sustainable agricultural employment on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and contributes to a vibrant regional economy, enhanced food production, distribution infrastructure, food security and the preservation of farms.

According to Deena Kilmon, Sales and Marketing Director, “Chesapeake Harvest is providing technical and strategic planning assistance to area farmers and Elizabeth will be critical to these efforts.  As we work to strengthen a vibrant local food economy on the Eastern Shore producing healthy food bursting with flavor, we are seeking out farmers, partners and like-minded consumers who show our commitment to regenerative agricultural practices that protect the future of the Chesapeake Bay.”

To find out about classes, local outreach programs or how to purchase Chesapeake Harvest products, please contact Deena Kilmon at deena@chesapeakeharvest.com or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChesapeakeHarvest/.

The Easton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC), formed in 2013, was created to drive economic vitality, smart redevelopment, and business formation in order to foster a healthy quality of life for all generations. The EEDC works towards maintaining Easton’s continued growth as a diverse, healthy and smart town, leading innovation where the land and water meet.

EEDC Awarded USDA Grant to Support Chesapeake Harvest

The Easton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) was awarded $383,673.00 from USDA from its Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) for the implementation of “Chesapeake Harvest: Connecting Farmers to Markets” program. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced more than $56 million in grants this week to strengthen local and regional food systems, support farmers markets, and fund organic research, including the LFPP grant for the Easton Economic Development Corporation. “Since this Administration launched the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative in 2009 to coordinate USDA efforts to support local and regional food systems, there has been a dramatic increase in consumer demand for buying local,” said Vilsack. “Over the years, we’ve seen how these new market opportunities are helping to drive job growth in agriculture, increase entrepreneurship in rural communities, and expand food access and choice. This latest round of grants will expand the capacity of farmers and businesses to serve this growing market, help revitalize local economies around the country, and support efforts around the country to provide fresh, healthy food to all Americans.”

Herb Miller, the Chairman of the Easton Economic Development Corporation stated, “This is a jobs machine for our Town. We are incubating several projects, which will bring more jobs to Easton. Our job is to create jobs. Chesapeake Harvest will do that by expanding market opportunities for our community.”

Chesapeake Harvest: Connecting Farmers to Markets will fund critical infrastructure and technical assistance to enable farmers on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia to expand market reach, increase the supply of healthy foods to the region, and create market opportunities for small and mid‐size farmers.

Anthony “Tony” Kern, Chairman of the Chesapeake Harvest Advisory Committee and member of the Easton Economic Development Corporation’s Board of Directors stated, “Many people and organizations from around the community, the region and State have contributed their time and expertise to make Chesapeake Harvest, and ultimately this USDA grant, come to fruition. Chesapeake Harvest looks forward to strengthening and growing these partnerships to advance a growing local food economy that will benefit the region and the Town of Easton and it’s citizens.”

The Easton Economic Development Corporation, formed in 2013, was created to drive economic vitality, smart redevelopment, and business formation in order to foster a healthy quality of life for all generations. The EEDC works towards maintaining Easton’s continued growth as a diverse, healthy and smart town, leading innovation where the land and water meet.

Easton Community Invited to Port Street & Easton Point Design Charrette

The Town of Easton and the Easton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC), welcome all citizens of Easton to join in a collaborative design and planning workshop to discuss the future of Port Street and Easton Point, the town’s only waterfront and historically significant port. This workshop will give the community an opportunity to provide critical input on potential design concepts that will guide future development.

The meeting will be in “charrette” format, offering unique advantages over more prolonged conventional planning processes by providing “real time” feedback to the design team. The Meeting will be held on Thursday, September 4th at 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm in the Hall of the Easton Volunteer Fire Department, located at 315 Aurora Park Drive.

This Charrette is part of planning process will allow Easton residents and stakeholders to discuss plans for affordable housing, waterfront development, green space development, and strategies to enhance pedestrian/bicycle access to complement economic development projects in the community.

The Baltimore based firm, Brown, Craig, Turner Architects & will lead the public through a process designed identify areas of opportunity with careful consideration of the area’s needs and obstacles. The ideas and concepts generated will help establish a long-term vision and framework for both public improvements and private development, ultimately forming the foundation for the Port Street and Easton Point Small Area Plan.

The Easton Economic Development Corporation, formed in 2013, was created to drive economic vitality, smart redevelopment, and business formation in order to foster a healthy quality of life for all generations. The EEDC works towards maintaining Easton’s continued growth as a diverse, healthy and smart town, leading innovation where the land and water meet.