“They’re doing it because they really care and that’s the Calvert County I’ve known all my life.”
– Former state senator Bernie Fowler
Donating a canned product is one thing; spending hours on a Saturday picking potatoes in a field is another.
Though the former is highly appreciated, the individuals behind the End Hunger in Calvert County could not contain their gratitude on Saturday when more than 100 volunteers came out for the first ever Community Harvest at the Farms of End Hunger in Calvert County.
Throughout the day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the majority of these volunteers were outside picking potatoes that will go to the initiative’s 10 partner food pantries throughout the county, the majority of which are based at churches.
Jacqueline Hahn, the director of communications with End Hunger in Calvert County, explained that the organization now owns 11 acres of farmland: Five of the acres were at Spider Hall Farm near the End Hunger Schooner Lane warehouse in Prince Frederick and the other six were at Serenity Farm in Benedict.
End Hunger in Calvert County Director of Operations Cathy Ring explained that since the fields at Spider Hall Farm, where the sweet potato crop was located, were damp, Saturday’s group spent the day at Serenity Farm picking solely white potatoes.
“We’re learning the farming business as we go so we keep adjusting, we keep adapting,” Ring told a group of volunteers on Saturday as they were sorting the potatoes in the warehouse.
Ring explained that for the first three years of End Hunger in Calvert County, the Farms program which strives to provide fresh, locally grown produce for individuals utilizing the food pantries used borrowed space from Kelly Generator and Equipment Inc. in Owings.
“This will be the first year that we’ll be in our own space,” said Ring, continuing that in the warmer months, zucchini, watermelon and cantaloupe will be harvested.
Former state senator Bernie Fowler spent three hours Saturday in the field picking potatoes but said he was there more as a proud parent than a public figure.
His son, Bernie Jr., was one of the first to get involved with the Farms program, Fowler said.
“It’s been a tremendous success,” Fowler said. “They’re doing it because they really care and that’s the Calvert County I’ve known all my life.”
Fowler marveled at the number of people in the field with him.
“This is a humongous undertaking,” Fowler said, adding that the comfortable temperatures outside “reinforce my basic concept that there’s someone better than we.”
Fowler’s wife Betty said she spent the day sorting potatoes inside as she was still recovering from surgery and couldn’t be outside picking.
“I’m in a brace but I wanted to be in here working,” Betty said.
She explained that if the potatoes had any imperfection they were put in a box for any volunteer who might want to cook them at home.
by LAURA BUCK, Staff Writer