OWINGS MILLS, MD – Maryland Public Television’s (MPT) popular original series Maryland Farm & Harvest, now in its ninth season, will feature farms and locations in Baltimore, Calvert, Harford, and Frederick counties during a new episode airing at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 1. Viewers can watch on MPT-HD and online at mpt.org/livestream.

The weekly series takes viewers on a journey across the Free State, telling interesting stories about the farms, people, and technology required to sustain and grow agriculture in Maryland, the number one commercial industry in the state. 

Joanne Clendining, who has earned two Emmy® awards from the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for her work on Maryland Farm & Harvest, returns as host. She is joined by Al Spoler, who handles duties for each episode’s The Local Buy segment.

With introductions filmed at the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster, the February 1 episode features the following segments: 

  • Building a House out of Straw (Frederick County). The story of the Three Little Pigs reminds many that building a house out of straw can certainly have a bad outcome.  But for Marijke Torsf at Zigbone Farm Retreat, a 100-acre farm in Sabillasville, straw is a nearly perfect building material.  With help from architect Sigi Koko at Down to Earth Design, the farm retreat’s latest structure will be made with natural materials, including the use of straw bales from a local farm as insulation.  Not only are the bales a natural alternative to conventional building supplies, but this sustainable material can also provide better thermal protection than store-bought insulation.  Viewers will see the work it takes to construct a new house as it comes together over the course of several months.
  • Sunflowers Help Grow a Farm Business (Baltimore and Harford counties). For travelers who pass The Miller’s Farm in White Hall during the summer, it’s hard to miss!  The “it” is a large field of sunflowers planted by the roadside that draws attention from everyone driving between Baltimore and Harford counties.  As Jake Miller tells it, that was exactly their plan.  The Millers have been farming this property since 1957 and recently expanded the operation to include a market nearly in Harford County to sell their beef and other farm products.  To help draw in customers, the family planted a field of sunflowers.  According to Jake, when the sunflowers are in bloom, their business increases 20 to 30 percent.  To capitalize on the plants’ popularity, customers can enjoy a walk through the field and cut flowers to take home.
  • The Local Buy: Catching Soft Shell Crabs (Calvert County).  The Local Buy segment host Al Spoler goes crabbing with Capt. Jason Williams of Patuxent River Seafood in Broomes Island.  Soft shell crabs are only available for a limited time each year, and Jason has a “hands-on” approach to catching them.  Viewers watch as Jason and Al head out on the river and scour sunken tree limbs for hiding crabs.  Then, they return to the shore and wait for the crabs to shed their hard shells, before cleaning and cooking them.  As a family business, everyone gets involved including Jason’s parents, Steven and Elaine, along with his sister, Capt. Rachel Dean.  After the crabs emerge with their still-tender new shells, Elaine cooks up a delicious recipe for fried soft-shell crab sandwiches. The recipe can be found at mpt.org/farm.

Encore broadcasts are available on MPT-HD Thursdays at 11 p.m. and Sundays at 6 a.m. Each episode also airs on MPT2/Create® on Fridays at 7:30 p.m. 

More than 10 million viewers have tuned in to Maryland Farm & Harvest since its fall 2013 debut. The series has traveled to nearly 400 farms, fisheries, and other agriculture-related locations during its first eight seasons, covering every Maryland county, as well as Baltimore City, Washington, D.C., and nearby Delaware.

Past episodes can be viewed at video.mpt.tv/show/maryland-farm-harvest/, while episode segments are available on the series’ YouTube channel at youtube.com/c/MarylandFarmHarvest/featured. Engage with the show on social media @MarylandFarmHarvest on Facebook and @mdfarmtv on Twitter.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture is MPT’s co-production partner for Maryland Farm & Harvest.  Major funding is provided by the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board.

Additional funding is provided by Maryland’s Best, Rural Maryland Council, Maryland Agricultural Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation (Marbidco), a grant from the Maryland Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Program, MidAtlantic Farm Credit, the Cornell Douglas Foundation, Maryland Soybean Board, Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts, Wegmans Food Markets, Maryland Nursery, Landscape & Greenhouse Association, The Maryland Seafood Marketing Fund, Maryland Farm Bureau, and The Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment.

Other support comes from Mar-Del Watermelon Association and Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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