Got Gourds! Reserve Farms Do!

It’s that lovely time of year! Take a few minutes to read the history of Jack-o-Lantern carving, find a pumpkin of your own, and make a masterpiece! See below for a list of farms that provide Fall goodies…

photo courtesy Hilary Schwab

photo courtesy Hilary Schwab

Check out these local farms with pumpkins and fun aplenty:

Kingbury’s Orchard
Good Life Farm

Comus Market
Lewis Orchard
Homestead Farm
Butler’s Orchard
Rockhill Orchard
Phillip’s Farm

MCA Hedgerow Photo Contest Winners Announced!

To many motorists, the hedgerows along the Reserve’s Rustic Roads are often just a blur of green, many speed by without knowing the beauty or importance of these roadside thickets. Roadside trees provide important habitat to diverse life including the pollinating insects that are so important to farmers. The trees prevent erosion, and offer windbreaks that were particularly important in keeping blowing snow off the road this past winter.  Here now are the winners of our Hedgerow Picture Contest, each winner will have their picture featured on our website and receive Tina Brown’s beautiful Ag Reserve Map. Thanks to all our contestants for taking the time to show us the beauty of our roadsides! More info on Rustic Roads.

Kathy Anderson, 1st Place

Meg Menke, 2nd Place

Kathy Anderson, 3rd Place

First Annual Old Seneca Artisan’s Festival October 9th!

MCA is joining with our friends at Rocklands Farm and Potomac Farmers Market to bring you the First Annual Old Seneca Artisan’s Festival on Saturday, October 9th. This event is free, ticket sales for the local wine tasting at the event benefit Rocklands farm in their first year of operation. The evening Art Auction benefits MCA. Bring a canned food donation for Manna Food Bank to receive discounted day-of tickets, here’s what they need most!  Or buy tickets online here. Come on down for a good time on the Farm!

Directions Here

Drought Hits Local Farmers Hard


Farmers crops have been hit hard due to drought in Western Maryland…

Read more…

Also see story on drought watch for the region…

Montgomery Life Magazine Features Reserve!

The July/August edition of Montgomery Life Magazine featured the Ag Reserve in an article titled “The Road Less Traveled.” Click here for the pdf.

Online Trail Guides for Sugarloaf Region

MCA partner Sugarloaf Regional Trails has been documenting the beauty of our region for many decades. Please see an exciting press release below about visiting Sugarloaf Country in the digital age. Fall is the perfect time to visit the Mountain and surrounding landscape, log on and head out!


Contact Margaret Coleman, 301-972-3452

Explore Maryland’s Sugarloaf Mountain Area with Online Trail Guides Fifteen trail guides that explore natural and historic areas near Maryland’s Sugarloaf Mountain are now available on the Internet. Each guide includes online maps and descriptions compatible with today’s smart phones, as well as downloadable maps and text that can be printed to take along on the trip.

The trails are designed for walking, canoeing, driving or biking.  Travelers will see rural villages, farms, churches, parks, markets, historic sites, the C&O Canal, the Potomac and Monocacy Rivers, a rail line, and, of course, the mountain itself.

Sugarloaf Regional Trails, a non-profit organization of area residents, provides the free online trail guides as a way to focus attention on conserving unique rural areas in upper Montgomery and lower Frederick Counties. The Web address is or for a shorter form, use

Volunteers from the organization researched thirteen of the trails in the early 1970s, printing them as brochures for public distribution.  Later, the guides were published as a book, Circling Historic Landscapes.  Now the organization has again updated all site information, added photos and Google® maps.  Two new trails were created and all fifteen trail guides are now available online.  The project combined volunteer research with professional web design using matching funds from the Maryland Historical Trust and Heritage Montgomery.

“We live in a region whose beauty and history we want to showcase,” says SRT President Margaret Coleman.  “Our trail guides tell many stories about Sugarloaf Area history – you can visit sites that were in use before the Declaration of Independence or were significant during the Civil War – but we also feature the latest trends in local agriculture, such as on-the-farm vegetable markets, turf farming and Maryland wines.”   Visitors to the Sugarloaf Mountain area will find the free online trail guides an easy way to explore and enjoy a unique rural landscape. “We invite anyone living or working in an intensely developed metropolitan community to visit.  You can be renewed here,” offers Sugarloaf Regional Trails President Coleman. “We also want you to learn about the Sugarloaf area and why it is a heritage worth protecting.”

#  #  #

Manna Food Bank Fall Events: Desperate Need for Canned Goods

Manna Food Bank has been forging some great partnerships with local farms to grow fresh produce for food bank clients. Even with the influx of great local food, they still need to have canned goods on hand for their clients, particularly as the season winds down. A number of farmers markets and nonprofits (including us! stay tuned!) are hosting “food-raising” events for Manna. Click here to see all upcoming events.

PATH Update: BOCC Supports Denial, Accounting Shenanigans Found

Update~ January 26, 2011

Frederick County’s BOCC has unanimously decided to send a strongly worded letter to the MD Public Service Commission backing up the Frederick BOA denial of PATH’s massive substation proposed for a site surrounded by 1300 houses in Mt. Airy. The BOCCs supportive letter states that the substation, “may not be built in its proposed location.”

In other PATH news, two West Virgina residents have filed a complaint with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Showing just how much time and energy regular people have invested in fighting this proposal, the pair was reviewing 2009 project costs for PATH and have found “a pattern of misleading marketing efforts using funds inappropriately charged to ratepayers and a range of accounting efforts.”  In other words, this duo may have uncovered that the same people who are fighting PATH are paying for the massive marketing campaign directly through their energy bills. Read more on both the BOCC letter and this new troubling situation here.

Read on for older PATH updates.

Frederick County Board of Appeals denied application for PATH Substation.  Residents rightly questioned the need for the project and the effect it would have on their community.  Allegeny should work to address future energy demands by employing means that are mindful of the finite nature and environmental degredation of coal based power.  Effort should be made to form a multiple stakeholder group to evaluate how best to address the region’s current and future energy needs with technology from this century.

This is by no means the end of the process, Allegheny Power will almost certainly appeal this decision in appeals court and the powerline itself will still need to come before the BOA. The state Public Service Commissions of WV, VA and MD must also decide on the line.

But for today, this is one for the win column. The members of Sugarloaf Conservancy and Citizens Against Kemptown Electric Substation (CAKES) deserve hearty congratulations for their tireless work.

Read the Frederick News Post article here.

Background including previous MCA testimony here.