Industrial Hemp Comes to the Shore

Industrial hemp is getting traction as federal and state legislation loosens regulatory strangleholds on production. Industrial hemp was widely used in the United States for broad application of industrial uses including shipping ropes and lines, paper, linen, oils and fuels, livestock feed, and food additives up in the 1930s when powerful chemical and paper interests put an end to hemp production overnight in the name of drug interdiction, a theory now discredited.

Claas Xerion 4000 VC from DunAgro, a Dutch manufacturer, separates protein-rich foliage from the stem and collects it in a bunker on the back of the machine for cattle feed.

Shawn Landgraf, CEO of Universal Hemp, headquartered in Cambridge, Maryland, is working with his team to bring industrial hemp back, hopefully in the Eastern Shore’s climate and growing conditions. The company has adopted a vertically integrated concept of controlling hemp production by partnering with farmers and controlling the processing and distribution.

The company is working to meet industrial hemp CBD (Cannabidiol) demand, the industrial cousin of the more potent pharmaceutical grade CBD grown and processed in controlled environments and free from pesticide and herbicide exposure and sold only in medical cannabis dispensaries. Industrial hemp is grown in fields in the proximity of other crops.

“We are engaged in the research to develop the genetics and best management practices for industrial hemp production,” Landgraf said. He went on to explain that Maryland has lifted hemp production restrictions and he is actively engaged in recruiting farmers.

“Hemp can be used to make any manufactured better,” Taylor Martin, director of Universal Hemp’s national production. Hemp seeds and other by-products are exempt from federal criminal laws, as opposed to medical cannabis. It has no psychoactive effect. Martin described the broad use of hemp, including paper, cloth, concrete inputs, industrial oils, fuels and lubricants. “Hemp is a great food protein source, Martin continued, citing such outputs as hemp seeds, flour and milk, all currently available in U.S. grocery stores.

Martin touched on the period prior to the 1937 prohibition on marijuana and hemp production, when hemp CBD was part of livestock feed and found in the American diet in many forms. “We were a much healthier country,” Martin noted.

Jude Desiderio, Universal Hemp’s director of sales, remarked that the company is looking at a “full spectrum of uses.” He remarked that the upside for farmers was substantial. Comparing inputs and yields for traditional row crops, Desiderio explained the return on investment per acre is as high as $25,000-$35,000 per acre.

Just Sayin’: Cambridge Named a Top Place to visit by Smithsonian

Smithsonian Magazine identified Cambridge, Maryland as one of its top 15 cities to visit in 2019.  The magazine ranked Cambridge as a place to visit with other major tourist destinations including Avalon, California (Catalina Island); Williams, Arizona (Gateway to the Grand Canyon); and Medora, North Dakota (home of Theodore Roosevelt National Park).  Cambridge is one of the nation’s oldest cities, dating back to 1684, and has a long history as a tourist destination. The city is located on the banks of the Choptank River, near the Chesapeake Bay, and is well known for its seafood. Cambridge provided the inspiration for author James Michener’s novel “Chesapeake”, and murals depicting scenes from his work can be found throughout the City and County.  

Cambridge is a popular destination for travelers of all ages.  Outdoor enthusiasts have an endless supply of scenic stretches to walk or bike and endless waterways to kayak or canoe.  Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is located south of town. History enthusiasts will appreciate the Harriet Tubman visitors center, the Harriet Tubman Museum, the Richardson Maritime Museum, and the Dorchester County Historical Society Museum. 

Romantics will enjoy the waterfront parks, Choptank Lighthouse, historic Pine Street, and the boutique shops, pubs, and restaurants in the historic downtown. Some visitors may want to experience life as a waterman by taking a trip out on the Choptank River to dredge for oysters onboard the skipjack Nathan of Dorchester.  All visitors will want to view Cambridge’s latest mural of Harriet Tubman extending her hand to a slave seeking freedom.  The mural has attracted worldwide interest on both social and traditional media outlets. The community accommodations include chain hotels, Bed and Breakfasts and the Hyatt’s Chesapeake Bay Resort & Spa, all located within the city limits.   

The community is hosting a media event in celebration of this noteworthy recognition.  The event is scheduled for Friday, August 16th at 12:00 p.m. at Long Wharf Park, located at the end of Historic High Street.  You are invited to send representatives to cover the event and see first-hand why Cambridge made the list as one of the top places in America to visit.  

Philanthropy: Foundation for Community Development Created

The Foundation for Community Development, Inc. is proud to announce its grand opening after being formally recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)3 public charitable organization on June 29th, 2019. The Foundation will support local communities with a broad range of charitable giving opportunities.

Through its mission to create thriving and sustainable communities, the foundation will serve as a conduit for charitable giving; connecting donors with local worthwhile causes. The foundation will also support aspiring non-profits by providing smart growth strategies and guidance. And finally, the foundation will seek federal and state funding to bring additional economic growth opportunities to rural communities.

“We really feel the foundation will serve a large need in our area.” Says Charles “Josh” Poore, current Co-Founder and Board Member of The Foundation for Community Development, Inc. “Our goal is the help other charitable organizations, seek funding for economic and infrastructure projects and connect donors will local community-based organizations.”

A key aspect of the foundation, according to Poore, is its incubator model to help nurture charitable ideas into structured organizations. “We want to support community members who have great charitable ideas but may not know how to turn them into businesses or operating non-profits.” Poore continues, ” Our model helps put process and infrastructure in place so as charitable ideas grow, the administrative operation can grow with it.” The model assists with startup applications, tax filings, management, technology and marketing.

Co-Founder and Board Member Matt Albers goes on to say, “Importantly, we recognize that charities and charitable ideas are snowflakes, each is unique. With that in mind, we developed a robust cafeteria plan of services rather than the one size fits all methodology. Our members will never be required to waste valuable resources on things that don’t further their mission.“

The Foundation for Community Development, Inc. is headquartered in Easton, Maryland at 8859 Mistletoe Drive, Suite A and seek development opportunities in Maryland, Delaware, Northern Virginia and surrounding states. Anyone with inquiries is encouraged to email the foundation at info@tffcd.org or contact them directly at 443.496.3003

Easton named Maryland’s newest Arts & Entertainment District

Maryland Secretary of Commerce Kelly M. Schulz recently announced Easton as one of two new Arts and Entertainment Districts in Maryland. Easton will join 26 existing Districts in the state in offering marketing and tax-related incentives to help current and prospective artists, arts organizations, and other creative enterprises, incentives that are aimed at developing and promoting community involvement, tourism, and revitalization. 

“Maryland’s Arts and Entertainment Districts serve an important role in revitalizing communities across the state,” Secretary Schultz said. “This designation helps attract artists and creative businesses and gives counties and municipalities the ability to develop unique arts experiences that engage residents and attract visitors.”

Easton, Maryland, one of the State’s preeminent arts destinations, has long been known for its vibrant mix of fine art galleries, performance venues, museums and artists’ studios, as well as a burgeoning artisan scene. Now, the town hopes to build upon its already longstanding history with more opportunities for artists and arts organizations within the town’s borders. 

“I think the destination of Easton as an Arts and Entertainment District further adds to our reputation as a center for a variety of art projects,” Easton Mayor Robert Willey said. “I would hope that people will take advantage of the opportunities that the designation provides and help to build on an already familiar label.”

The Easton Arts District will encompass over 110 acres including Easton’s Historic District, East End Neighborhood, and outlying residential and commercial neighborhoods. Within this district, developers and arts organizations will benefit from a property tax abatement for artistic-related improvements to their structures, and qualified residing artists will receive an income tax subtraction from the State of Maryland for all art created and sold within an Arts and Entertainment District. 

In addition to the tax incentives, the newly-designated district will feature existing and new arts-related events, from the world-class Waterfowl Festival and Plein Air Easton, to the new Easton Arts District Culture Crossing, a monthly artisans market along the Easton Rails-to-Trails beginning July 13. 

Spearheaded by Discover Easton, the Easton Arts District has been discussed over the years as an integral part of growing the arts economy in and around downtown Easton.

“The Easton arts community is one of the most robust in Maryland, and becoming a designated Arts and Entertainment District will allow us to continue to promote growth in one of the most successful industries in Talbot County,” Discover Easton Executive Director Ross Benincasa said. “This collaborative effort among our office, the Town of Easton, Talbot County and the Talbot County Arts Council will ensure that the arts do not stagnate in Easton, but instead continue to flourish and expand with new offerings and events.”

To learn more about the Easton Arts District and arts-related events in Easton, head to www.artsineaston.com.

About Discover Easton: Discover Easton is a marketing, promotion and events 501(c)(3) non-profit organization operating as a member of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation.  The mission of Discover Easton is to enhance, promote and preserve the vitality of Easton’s business owners, residents and visitors; and to bring awareness to the Town’s historical roots and lifestyles.

For more information regarding Discover Easton and its events, please visit www.discovereaston.com or email welcome@discovereaston.com.

Image:  A Plein Air artist paints at the corner of Harrison and Dover Sts. in downtown Easton.
PDF: The newly-accredited Easton Arts District boundaries overlaid with the Historic District.

Chesapeake Blooms Blossoms in Downtown Easton

If you have attended a wedding, fundraising event or other special occasion recently, chances are the distinctive and artistic floral arrangements were the work of Samantha Moore McCall.  I first became acquainted with this creative visionary when she set up a Pop-Up at Piazza Italian Market for Valentine’s Day last year. I was captivated how her use of unusual containers, the combination of flowers juxtaposed with vegetable plants, accents of twigs and other foliage and the mix of large and small blooms became a work of art in this gifted artisan’s hands. I also learned Samantha is committed to ecological practices and enjoys using seasonal blooms and branches in her creations.

Samantha’s award-winning first career was journalism but she always made time for her passion for gardening and plants. She became seriously interested in floral design and quickly realized this was a calling, not a career. She combined her love of the French language with a play on words and founded her first company, “Fleurish.”

Samantha recently created a partnership with Dede Hoopes of HoopsyDaisy Farm in Oxford. Like Samantha, Dede started her flower farm following her passion for horticulture and floral design after a long and successful career at JPMorgan Chase. Her micro-farm is a special place that is in tune with the season’s offerings and the environment. As Dede says goodbye to a bountiful peony harvest this spring, she is looking forward to the brightly colored flowers of summer, including old-fashioned annuals like zinnias, cosmos, and lisianthus. Each bloom is sustainably grown and the farm is a certified bay-wise garden.

Samantha had been a client of Dede’s for the last few years, purchasing fresh, locally grown stems for her designs and discovered Dede was also interested in floral design.  It was their shared passion for horticulture and floral design that fostered the partnership between the two and soon their new company blossomed to become Chesapeake Blooms.  They have set up shop at 22-B North Harrison St., in downtown Easton.

Both women share a common vision for the new business to honor eco-friendly and sustainable practices.  This vision carries through from the aesthetics of the store to the daily practices in the studio. They are very committed to an ethos of “seed to vase.”  The benefits of using local flowers include reducing and/or eliminating toxic chemicals, supporting local businesses, creating a product that has a significantly smaller carbon footprint than flowers purchased from around the world.  If harvested correctly, the result is some of the best quality and freshest stems that tend to last longer than their imported cousins.

Both Samantha and Dede are Master Gardeners, have studied at Longwood Gardens and are both active throughout the community including being members of local garden clubs. Samantha is a Member of the Independent Floral Designers Association and Dede is a member of the Association of Cut Flower Growers. Like other industry professionals, both regularly attend workshops and classes to stay inspired and to stay current with the latest trends.

Samantha and Dede are generous in sharing their passion for floral design and horticulture. When you stop in to visit, conversations and advice may ensue on topics such as flowers, floral design, horticulture and gardening issues. Stop by to pick up a “bouquet to go” or one of their planted creations that are perfect for centerpieces or host/hostess gifts. Consult with them about a special arrangement or event, or just browse through the shop’s growing collection of hand crafted containers, pots, accessories that frequently change. In addition to garden items, Chesapeake Blooms offers ongoing displays of art, jewelry, paintings, sculpture and other media by artists and artisans who share their design excellence and love of nature.

Chesapeake Blooms’ also offers Floral Subscriptions where hand-picked stems are delivered to your home or business. Many of the flowers are locally grown at HoopsyDaisy Farm in Oxford.  Subscription increments are flexible and are typically available in lengths of 3, 6, and 12 months with weekly, biweekly or monthly deliveries starting at a cost of $50 plus delivery and tax.

This talented duo also offers classes both in the learning studio and out in the flower fields. Students at all skill levels are welcome to deepen their understanding of flowers and floral design in an immersive environment. The goal is to spark each student’s imagination and increase their self-confidence to create beautiful arrangements to enhance their home or business.

Plan a visit soon to Chesapeake Blooms to see how Samantha and Dede’s shared passion for flowers has blossomed into Historic Downtown Easton’s new florist shop.

Chesapeake Blooms is located at 22-B N. Harrison Street in Easton. For more information, call 410-690-4812, email to info@chesapeakeblooms.com or visit their website www.chesapeakeblooms.com. Chesapeake Blooms is open Wednesday through Friday 10 am to 5 pm, Saturdays 10 am to 1:00 pm or by appointment.

Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee.

 

 

Mid-Shore Commerce: Ten Years of Crow Farms

Judy Crow, from Crow Vineyard and Winery, remembers 10 years ago when The Spy came for lunch on the patio of the newly renovated Farmstay B&B. She remembers mentioning during the interview that the questions on the minds of the locals were, how were they going to get people there and why would they come? “For us,” says Judy, “it felt like people are going to want to come to be a part of the farm and stay at the farm. It just seemed like that wasn’t a challenge. And with the Internet the way it was back then, you’ve put yourself up on a few platforms, and people find you. We had no problems filling rooms.”

This innovation, foresight, and daring is the reason why The Spy is here 10 years later, talking about the expansion of Crow Vineyards and their influence on local development.  Judy perceives it this way: “I think when we see opportunities, we are fluid enough that we can change. And I think it’s also about the diversity of the management team: My husband Roy, myself and our son, Brandon. All three of us have a little different approach. But we have seen that each new idea can be proven to be successful. It doesn’t matter whose idea it is because we all work together at it.”

The B&B was just the beginning of their plans. Next, they learned how to grow grapes and used three and a half of their 365 acres to plant some vines. Then, Brandon thought they should be involved in wine-making. “So, we started to think about renovating an equipment shed and making some wine, says Judy.” While they were doing that, they also became intentional about growing their 10-15 Angus cattle herd and raising them as beef. Today, the 100-head herd, the 12½ acres of wine, the 5,000-case wine production, and a store at Queenstown Outlet are just some of the changes affecting the farm.

Clearly, Crow Vineyard’s success has also been an enormous boost for the entire area. Led by Judy, a collaborative and marketing relationship formed known as the Rivers to Canal wine trail. It encompasses three wineries located within 15 minutes of each other: Crow, Broken Spoke, and Chateau Bu-De and encourages visitors, tourists, and residents to tour all three locations during their trip. “When you have this Upper Eastern Shore region becoming a destination for people coming for the day or the weekend from areas such as New York, Philadelphia, New Jersey, or Baltimore, it just makes sense.”

The collaboration does not end there. Crow Vineyards is also committed to supporting the growth of the Eastern Shore wine industry by renting out their wine-making production to other new startup wineries. “Some people we make wine for would like to satisfy the sweeter pallets of a wine drinker,” says Judy. “So, there they have sweeter wine. Or they just want to make a few wines and have a good tasting room. Then we work with them to do that. As we’re growing, we’re bringing others along with us to really map this out as a tourist destination.” The effort to expand Maryland’s diverse wine growing regions is one Judy can speak about with authority. For the past two years, she’s served as the President of the Board of Directors of the Maryland Wineries Association.

When asked to reflect on how she measures their success, Judy responds: “I think it’s two things. One is we’ve been able to make really good wines, and I think that speaks to our commitment to, have something pleasing for everyone. The other thing is our focus on teamwork and good customer service.” The type of customer service that Judy talks about means that visitors who want to hear how the farm got started will get to hear it directly from the owners. It means visitors who express interest in helping to harvest the grapes get to do so by signing up and joining them in the fall. It means that anyone who wants to stomp grapes can do so at the Crow Fest on September 8th.

Speaking of the Crow Fest, Judy sees the annual event as an opportunity to expand their enthusiastic customer base and support those who have supported them throughout the years. The festival will feature live music, wine seminars, cooking demonstrations, exhibits from local vendors, and yes, grape stomping. “The grandchildren are the first to stomp the grapes, and then the public is welcome to join them. Monies raised are donated to the FFA (Future Farmers of America).”

As for what may be forthcoming, Judy knows they will continue to be open to new possibilities and will involve their other children if they are interested. “When I first met Roy (and even though he owns the farm), he said his philosophy has always been, that he’s the caretaker of the farm. There will be somebody else for the next round, whatever the next round is. When I married him, I bought into that concept that I’m a supporter and caretaker here. Everything I think we’ve done so far has invigorated, not only the farm but the local economy and it’s pretty exciting when you can do that.”

Whatever that future might bring, today a visitor can come to stay overnight, be part of a working farm, taste the wines, enjoy the breathtaking farm views, chat with the owners about how it all was different years ago, before the vineyards, before the festivals. Today they’ll leave with some great memories, some fresh beef and their favorite wines. Not bad for 10 years!

Val Cavalheri is a recent transplant to the Eastern Shore, having lived in Northern Virginia for the past 20 years. She’s been a writer, editor and professional photographer for various publications, including the Washington Post.

Trade Whims: “Whatever the Wind Blows In” by Jenn Martella

I love the specialty shops and galleries along Goldsborough and Harrison Streets in Easton so I was greatly relieved when Alice Ryan and Susan Wilford bought Trade Whims after the previous owner retired. As ardent community supporters, Alice and Susan couldn’t imagine Easton without this unique store. Neither could I-Trade Whims has been my source for special occasion or host/hostess gifts. They have expanded the gift, linen and clothing boutique to offer selections for newborns through 4T sizes. They also have a Baby and Wedding Registry.

 

On the day I visited, new merchandise from recent trade shows were a visual delight throughout the store. The line “Le Cadeaux-Art for the Table” is aptly named for they are beautiful gift sets consisting of an oval platter encircled with painted vegetables, overlaid with a dishtowel and a spoon rest that were hard to resist. One platter had an orange theme with a ring of “maple glazed carrots” as a border with orange cursive writing on the spoon rest. The other set had a green theme with its ring of “smoky asparagus”. I love fish plates so I was delighted to find two designs with a fish motif from elegant to whimsical.

A new line of beautiful china with nautical, hunting and watermen motifs is perfect for the Eastern Shore. The elegant designs include an oval platter, plates, bowls, mugs and coasters. The compass rose is the recurring motif and is on the center of each item. The line is designed by Kent County artist Kate Ballantine.

The sought after “Scout” line of bags, totes, wallets, purses, etc. has a colorful and prominent display in the store. I was also enchanted by a line of “Beer Gear“-small bags of heavy duty plastic and wooden double beaded handles. The colorful designs ranged from a sunflower, crab, shell, etc. that would be the perfect gift for ladies of all ages.

I firmly believe a touch of whimsy is good for the soul and I couldn’t help smiling when I saw the grouping of voluptuous bathing beauties in various poses-sitting on a beach ball, poised for diving, snoozing on an Adirondack chair. Smaller ladies rested on the ledges of the shelves. These delightful designs were the work of Dr. Livingston and Co.

Above the entrance to the children’s area was a string of miniature felted mice dressed in clothes with different accessories. Alice noted the staff add them to their gift wrapped packages for a whimsical touch. I remarked they were also the perfect size for Christmas decorations. Above the mice was a row of colorful clocks waiting for a new home in a newborn’s nursery. These artisan clocks are the creations of an artist in Massachusetts and the colorful designs including a barn, train engine, fox and llama would delight children of all ages.

Another delightful find in the Children’s section were the “Bunnies by the Bay”. Books, rugs and toys would complete any nursery or playroom.

There is so much to see at Trade Whims and with art from local artists, stationery, candles, ceramics, clothing, jewelry, and so much more if you can’t find the perfect gift here it doesn’t exist-see you there!

Trade Whims is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sundays 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. The Trade Whims Too store in St. Michaels is located at 207 S. Talbot Street. For more information, please call 410-822-9610 or visit www.tradewhims.com.

Spy House of the Week is an ongoing series that selects a different home each week. The Spy’s Habitat editor Jennifer Martella makes these selections based exclusively on her experience as a architect.

Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee.

Lamotte Company Honored By World Trade Center Institute

At its 23rd Maryland International Business Leadership Awards reception, the World Trade Center Institute (WTCI), Governor Larry Hogan, and the Maryland Department of Commerce joined hundreds of business leaders from around the state to acknowledge and celebrate the international reach and community involvement of Maryland’s top global companies. https://www.wtci.org/leadershipawards/

At this year’s reception, LaMotte Company was recognized by WTCI and the Maryland Dept. of Commerce with a 2019 Maryland International Business Award.

“It was a very special evening and such an honor to be selected as one of the 7 Maryland companies, out of 70 nominated this year. To be standing on stage accepting the award from Governor Larry Hogan—with other winning companies like Under Armour and Dap—elevated my sense of pride for all that everyone at LaMotte Company does every day to make our company a success in so many ways.” —David LaMotte, President, LaMotte Company

Each year, the Maryland International Business Leadership Awards celebrate the state’s global success through the recognition of a handful of recipients who exemplify international business growth, growth in the State of Maryland through workforce development and/or revenue growth, and support efforts to give back to the local community.

The evening began with a chance to meet, network and learn from inspirational Maryland business leaders, followed by opening remarks from the World Trade Center Institute CEO and a seated dinner during which guests learned more about LaMotte Company and the other award winners that have led their firms to success, as well as show support for Maryland’s increasing global footprint. During the event, Gov. Hogan presented the 2019 Governor’s Award to Arne Sorenson, president & CEO of Marriott International, Inc.

“This year’s award recipients represent the state on a global level, and we couldn’t be prouder,” said WTCI CEO Deborah Kielty.

This year’s event took place on April 11, 2019 at the American Visionary Art Museum. The featured speaker was Samuel Hoi, president of the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Sponsors of the event included T. Rowe Price, CallisonRTKL, Jhpiego, and Maryland Institute College of Art.

Pretty Cool: Mid-Shore’s David LaMotte to Receive Maryland International Business Leadership Award

LaMotte Chemical’s CEO, David LaMotte, has received the prestigious Maryland International Business Leadership Award for 2019 in Baltimore next week. The award is sponsored by World Trade Center Institute.

In receiving the award, which was presented by Governor Larry Hogan, LaMotte was acknowledged for LaMotte Chemical’s  mission, international reach, and community involvement as one of Maryland’s top global companies.

For more information on the awards and the awards program please go here.

After the First Decade: Piazza’s Emily Chandler Looks Back and Forward

As the Spy celebrates its own tenth year of operation, it dawned on us that there were quite a number of businesses on the Mid-Shore that started at the same time the Spy began publishing.  Ranging from bakeries to contractors, dozens of small businesses opened their doors amid a significant economic recession, relying on instinct and self-confidence that their services would be sought after, no matter the current business climate.

With that in mind, the Spy has decided to interview many of these brave entrepreneurs over the next year for them to reflect on their experiences.

We start with Emily Chandler, the owner of the now extremely popular Piazza Italian Market, in Easton.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information about Piazza please go here.

 

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