Starting up the farm and the chocolate business have been hard work. We wouldn't have been able to do it without the help of lots of folks. Here we express our thanks to those individuals and businesses who have helped us achieve what we have so far.
Chocolates and Tomatoes farm has benefitted from technical assistance from many folks with the Agricultural Service including Chuck Schuester, Jeremy Criss, Eddie Franceschi, and Amanda Laudwein. They have helped to identify resources and pests, and to plan for soil conservation and nutrient management.
Woody Woodruff has been an awesome mentor. He runs the Red Wiggler, a nonprofit farm that builds the capabilities of adults with developmental disabilities through farming: https://redwiggler.org/aboutus/
How do farm your land without owning a plow? You need other farmers wiling to take some time away from their farms to drive down and help you. We were lucky to have many farmers who contributed their equipment and time to help us get the fields tilled up from their grassy pasture state:
David Weitzer, from a nearby dairy farm
Greg Glen from Rockland Farms (www.rocklandsfarmmd.com/)
Courtney Buchholtz who farms nearby
Keith Ohlinger who came down from Howard County
Good crops require good soil. Sarah Miller from the New Farmer Pilot Program helped Mark get some leafgro (compost) and Anne from Star Gazing Farms contributed some manure: www.stargazingfarm.org/
Seneca Creek Joinery who gave us scrap wood to construct the cold house (www.woodsurgeon.com).
Carolyn Taylor with the Montgomery Countryside Alliance provided help in connecting to others in the farming community. You should check out MoCo for your farming needs: www.mocoalliance.org.
Our friends Harmik and Savak Aslan (pictured here) helped up erect a deer fence around one acre, and gather supplies. They spent many of their days off from their metal-working business, Artotec, to help us: www.artoteccorp.com/.
Our friend and fellow start-up farmer, Russ Testa, also helped us carry materials needed for our cold house construction.
We do not own our farmland. That means we seek the help of others in locating land we can farm. We are grateful to the staff of the Montgomery County Agriculture Department, Alan Black, and many other who have helped us search for and secure land since our journey began.