Heroes of Sustainable Agriculture

Wilderness, farmland, paved land: That’s the trajectory Maryland has followed since its founding as Lord Baltimore’s colony 376 years ago. So a county that can keep its farm traditions alive does so with pride. Thus Calvert County, where 55,000 acres of land are zoned as Farm and Forest Districts, made its First Annual Sustainable Agriculture Awards this year. 

Citizens voted awards in three categories: Sustainable Farmer, Green Grocer and Buy-Local Restaurant of the year. 

Sustainable Farmer of the Year is Allen Swann, who, with his son Jody, are the sixth and seventh generation of Swanns working the land in Owings. The 400-acre Swann Farm has grown food for our tables for three decades. Swann Farm also produces wheat, soybeans, pumpkins, tomatoes and flowers, making it easier for Calvert grocers to sell — and restaurants to serve — local products.

Gordon and Gracie Bowen, of Bowen’s Market in Huntingtown, were named Green Grocer of the Year.

One of those grocers is Bowen’s Market in Huntingtown, named Green Grocer of the Year. Owned by Gordon and Gracie Bowen, the market has been in the family for four generations. Son Dale Bowen says it’s in his blood. How long has he worked in his parents’ store? “I started walking around the age of one, and I am 40 now,” Dale says. 

Bowen’s Market features and prominently displays local seasonal products. All three Bowens understand the importance of offering local products.

“That’s what everyone’s looking for now,” Dale says. “People pay attention to where their food comes from.”

Buying local isn’t a fad at Bowens. 

“Back when my great grandpa had the store, it was always local,” says Dale. “Heck, it was all local.”

Bowen’s is keeping tradition alive.

The Buy Local Restaurant of the Year is Dream Weaver Events and Catering of Prince Frederick. Owner Trish Weaver says she’s determined to use as many local products as she can find.

Trish Weaver, owner of Dream Weaver Events and Catering in Prince Frederick, took the award for the Buy Local Restaurant.

“I’ve always tried to buy local and support farmers,” Weaver tells Bay Weekly. “Working with local dairies, eggs and meat supports the independent restaurant philosophy” 

Weaver’s menus feature dishes made from local vegetables, herbs and fruit, and pork, beef and eggs, as those products becomes more available. She is looking for a source for local chickens.

“Food that doesn’t have to travel very far is greener, more inviting,” Weaver says. “The local animals are free range, not cooped up or medicated, and it just tastes better.”

Being recognized last month as a Buy Local restaurant and caterer has been good for business. 

“I am honored by the award,” Weaver says, “The unexpected bonus has been new customers who believe in eating like this.”