Monday, 1 December 2014

Local farms featured on agriculture television series

When Joseph Devilbiss lost his wife to a farm accident in 1999, the Frederick farmer decided to dedicate time to talking about farm safety.
Maryland Public Television has chronicled Devilbiss’ story in “Maryland Farm & Harvest,” a multimedia series on the Free State’s $8.2 billion agriculture industry.
Devilbiss’ story is one of two Frederick County farms featured in the series, which airs at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Filming took about three or four hours at the farmer’s Bear Den beef cattle farm in Frederick.
Talking about his wife’s death can be difficult, the farmer said. She died when a tractor fell over and landed on her.
“It’s always hard for me to deal with the tragedy,” Devilbiss said, “and some days are harder than others.”
It’s particularly hard when his grandchildren are in the audience at the Frederick County 4-H Camp & Activities Center, he said.
“It’s not easy talking about it, but if you can save one life, it’s worth it.”
The overall goal of the series is to reconnect people with agriculture, producer Sarah Sampson said.
The shows are airing at an ideal time as people sit down with family and friends for meals during the holidays. Maryland farmers do a good job feeding us, Sampson said, and the shows remind people that food doesn’t come from the grocery store.
Devilbiss took a heartbreaking story and turned it into a positive endeavor, helping educate people about how to be safe on the farm, Sampson said, adding that he’s passionate about farm safety.
Devilbiss’ decision to share his story with the public reflects farmers’ desire to be helpful and give back to their communities even though they don’t have a lot of time, Sampson said.
“They have been very happy and proud to share their stories with us, and when farmers cooperate with us like that it benefits communities and makes for good television,” Sampson said.
Distillery Lane Ciderworks in Jefferson follows Bear Den farm, airing at 7 p.m. Dec. 9.
Farm co-owner Rob Miller takes host Joanne Clendining into the pollination process Distillery Lane goes through each year with beekeeper Rick Nestler to help pollinate his orchard.
Nestler disassembled one colony and the television crew got a lot out of the experience, Miller said. The crew came at the right time, when the orchard was at full bloom with lots of pink and white blossoms, he said.
“They had a good time; they didn’t want to leave,” Miller said. “Bees were buzzing everywhere.”
Many Rocks Farm in Keedysville will be featured Dec. 23. Al Spoler, host of the “Local Buy” segment, learns about heritage livestock and samples the farm’s rare specialty mulefoot pork with owner Jeanne Dietz-Band.
On Dec. 30, Clendining will experience the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, the East Coast’s largest fiber festival at Howard County fairgrounds.
Many Marylanders have never visited a farm, and Maryland Public Television wants to fix that — in the comfort of people’s homes, Sampson said.
She said the series also captures the No. 1 reason why planters and growers dedicate themselves to it all, which is their simple love of farming.

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