Discover Maryland Foodways this March

In March of this year the National Colonial Farm will premier its newly developed Foodways program.  Over the years this successful program has fascinated visitors as they witness firsthand what our colonial ancestors ate and how it was prepared.  This year we plan on taking the program and the visiting public even further into the culinary traditions of Maryland.

Maryland Fried Chicken

While we will still be cooking over the fire and using all the gizmos and gadgets of years past, the format will be drastically different!  Each program will be presented much like a modern-day cooking show, where a seated audience (along with a few special guests or tasters) will watch presenters prepare a meal and discuss what makes each of these meals unique to the Tidewater area.  From Maryland Fried Chicken to Southern Maryland Stuffed Ham we want to explore and celebrate the rich, culinary tradition that Maryland offers!

BUT WE NEED HELP!!!

Foodways Volunteers and Farm Visitors

Volunteers are needed to help with the prep work and assist during the actual “performance”.  If you are a “Foodie” at heart, love history and would love to be a part of this program please contact the volunteer coordinator for further details.  In addition to prep and set up we’d also like to set up times to test out many of the recipes we plan on doing during the season.  We hope this turns out to be one of the most enjoyable, hectic and educational experiences for everyone involved!

Farmers, environmentalists must work together for sustainable agriculture

A Letter to the Editor of the Baltimore Sun

The publication of the American Farm Bureau’s response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to set a strict “pollution diet” for the Chesapeake Bay (Baltimore Sun, Jan. 9, 2010) provides us with an important opportunity to open up the dialogue between farmers and conservationists. Earlier this month, the Accokeek Foundation hosted a conference titled “Common Ground: Growing Agriculture, Restoring the Bay,” in which policy makers and farmers alike explored ways that profitability and environmental stewardship can go hand in hand. A panel of successful farmers affirmed that, in this region that prizes local food, pastoral landscapes, and a wholesome environment, the farms that are profitable in the future will be those that adopt sustainable practices and help protect and restore the Bay.

The Accokeek Foundation and other organizations with similar standing and expertise in sustainable agriculture should do all we can to ensure that farmers have the tools they need to adopt sustainable practices and find success. I hope that farmers will use this opportunity to work with new environmental regulations and reclaim their rightful role as exemplary stewards of the land.

Wilton Corkern, President

The Visitor Center is Getting a Face Lift

Museum Visitor Center and Gift Shop

A Snowy Visitor Center

During January and February, we will be working on cleaning, painting, and rearranging the Visitor Center and incorporating more interpretive material. Though the shop area will be blocked off, the Visitor Center will remain open on its regular winter schedule of weekends from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Hot drinks will be available to purchase, and our staff will be gathering suggestions from visitors about items you would like to see us carry in the shop.

Meet Catherine Krikstan: Our Chesapeake Conservation Corps Volunteer

Catherine Krikstan

Meet Catherine Krikstan, Accokeek Foundation's Chesapeake Conservation Corps Volunteer

The Chesapeake Conservation Corps was launched in 2010 to increase public involvement in environmental protection and bring in new participants to the field of conservation. The program will help individuals, communities, organizations, and governments become better stewards of our state’s natural resources. Sixteen watershed organizations and government agencies throughout Maryland such as the Accokeek Foundation, Alice Ferguson Foundation, the South River Federation, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources have been provided with volunteers who will aid in environmental outreach and stewardship efforts.

We are excited to have Catherine Krikstan join our team. Starting mid-November with the Chesapeake Conservation Corps’ inaugrual kick-off ceremony, Catherine hit the ground running assisting with final preparations for the December 9th conference, Common Ground: Growing Agriculture, Restoring the Bay. This year, Catherine will work with staff to encourage agricultural and environmental stewardship, providing support to the Center for Agriculture and Environmental Stewardship (CAES) and the Ecosystem Farm. Over the course of the year, she will help to coordinate educational programs and workshops and support our public outreach and marketing efforts. She has a bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and recently earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland. Her last semester of graduate school was spent covering the Chesapeake Bay for the Capital News Service, where she published stories in both local and national news outlets about struggling watermen, rising sea levels, and ever-expanding algae blooms. She has a strong interest in sustainable agriculture, and spent last summer managing her own small-scale Community Supported Agriculture program on the Eastern Shore.

Let’s all give Catherine a warm welcome and best wishes for a happy new year at the Foundation.

Wanted: Bright and Passionate Individuals

The Accokeek Foundation is currently accepting applications for a Livestock & Pastures Manager and an Ecosystem Farm Manager. If you have a passion for agriculture and the environment and would like to be considered for these positions with the Foundation, please contact Matt Mulder at nature@accokeek.org or call 301.283.2113.
In addition to these career opportunities, the Foundation also is accepting applications for its 2011 intern and apprenticeship programs and for the Accokeek Foundation Fellowship in Public History Practice. The Public History Fellow will help to conceive the theme for the September 24, 2011, African American Heritage Day event and will have primary responsibility for all aspects of planning the event, including identifying and contacting potential presenters, selecting vendors, handling event logistics, and working with Foundation staff to market the event.
For more information about all of the current opportunities, please visit the careers page on the website.

A New Year and New Adventures

It’s officially a new year (and a new decade)! Twenty-ten was a fantastic year, bringing both new and familiar faces to the Accokeek Foundation–from volunteers working hard to wash, spin, and knit heritage breed sheep’s wool into beautiful works of textile art and Museum Theater Interns who worked through the July heat to put on a highly-entertaining performance, A Colonial Wedding, to our Ecosystem Farm Apprentices, dedicated farm volunteers, and the many visitors and school groups who made the park the place to be. Thank you to everyone for making 2010 a year to remember!

On behalf of the board and staff, I’d also like to say a special thank you to all of our supporters for their generous year-end contributions. With your help we raised nearly $10,000 just in the last month of the year!

Your generous donations will support important initiatives in 2011. During these first few months, the staff will be busily renovating the National Colonial Farm exhibit site and the Visitor Center, as well as developing fresh programs you’ll be sure to enjoy this year. The 2011 calendar of events has been updated and posted on the website, so be sure to check it often for details.

Pawpaw Trail

 

So, while we are busy indoors renovating, planning, and preparing for the new year of fun, make sure to stop by and visit the barnyard to say hello to the animals, catch a few fish from the pier, or take a leisurely hike along any of the six trails that Piscataway Park has to offer. The Park is open year-round from dawn to dusk and admission is free. (Keeping those resolutions should be easy here.)

With best wishes for a Happy New Year!

Twilight Tales: The Darker Side of Colonial Maryland’s History

Hog Island Sheep Grazing

At 5:00 p.m. last Saturday the National Colonial Farm was the perfect picture of a pastoral scene. Cows and sheep grazed in green pastures as shadows lengthened and light softened. By 6:00 p.m. the scene had become a spectacular 19th century landscape painting. An absolutely stunning sunset backlit house and barns with pink and orange and violet hues. But by 7:00 a chill crept across the fields as an inky purple sky sucked in all the sun’s light, and history took a turn toward the sinister. The near darkness revealed a shadowy scene where colonial ghouls lurked behind fences and spectral children played “Ring around the Rosie” and all fell – dead! Lost souls dined in an eerie tavern from which they knew they would never take leave. Nearby a ghostly farm wife snatched from the 18th century headlines told tales of her three late unfortunate husbands and how each met his fate.

National Colonial Farm as the Sunsets

“Twilight Tales,” this first-ever experiment in the darker side of colonial Maryland’s history, turned out to be a crowd pleaser. Visitors came out in numbers to be shocked and frightened and entertained. We don’t know how many made it home safely, but we heard from most of them that they liked it. Many stayed after their tours for cider and cookies.

Is this history? Real characters, recreated and embellished with a flair for the theatrical? What will they think of next?