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East Rivendell Farm

One of the strengths of the County’s agricultural industry is vested in the diversity of agricultural operations and products that are available for County residents to consume.   Having diversity means there are greater
opportunities for consumers to choose the kinds of products that appeal to them which translates into consumer buying preferences. East Rivendell Farm is an example of an operation that offers a diversity of agricultural
products that are chemical & GMO free as well as producing locally grass-fed beef.

East Rivendell Farm owned and operated by the Sharon Fraley is located in Upper Montgomery County in the Damascus area. East Rivendell Farm began primarily as a produce & meat farm and over time, they have
expanded their operation to include flowers and vegetable plants, farm fresh eggs and other products at their
farm market. East Rivendell farm strives to produce healthy food choices for their customers.  Sharon is very passionate about farming as she speaks about her experiences growing crops and raising livestock.

Sharon has been farming all her life and was influenced by her father who started farming running a beef cattle operation. “I saw just how much love my father had for farming and the deep attachment he had for the land.”  She learned at an early age the importance of growing and producing food in a manner that was harmonious with the environment. About 5 years ago, East Rivendell Farm opened its own farm market to provide opportunities for consumers to visit her 15 acre farm and purchase agricultural products.

One of the things that make East Rivendell Farm special is their dairy goats. Sharon explained the reason she
began raising dairy goats was because milk from dairy cows created a condition in her known as lactose intolerance.  People with lactose intolerance are unable to fully digest the sugar (lactose) in milk.  According to the
U.S National Library of Medicine, all milk contains a certain level of lactose, the amount of lactose found in
goat’s milk is about 10 percent less than cow’s milk and about 40 percent less than human milk. The lower levels
of lactose found in goat’s milk products can make it a suitable alternative for those that are lactose intolerant.

East Rivendell Farm raises two breeds of dairy goats, La Mancha, an American breed and Nubian, a breed that originated in Africa. Both breeds are known for producing high butterfat content in the milk they produce.  
While the Nubian dairy goat has long floppy ears, the La Mancha dairy goat is distinguishable from its apparent
lack of, or much reduced, external ears! Another product that keeps their customers coming back is their heirloom tomatoes.  Sharon says “there is nothing more favorable than farm raised, vine ripened fresh heirloom tomatoes”.  
She also raises tomato plants and other plant and flower varieties for those wanting to grow their own.

Sharon explained that “farming is hard work, but what makes it fun and enjoyable is the great satisfaction I get from seeing things grow”.  She says “you never quite know what to expect day to day, and if farming teaches you anything, it’s extreme patience especially when dealing with Mother Nature”.

Why is farming important to her?  Sharon replied “because of the feeling I get when I know I am feeding people healthy food”. She continued “there is nothing like growing a crop or a product and then sharing it and through farming.  You build trust and establish special relationships with the people in the community”.

Be sure to stop at East Rivendell Farm during the Farm Tour weekend as Sharon and her staff will be showing off their animals, plant potting stations for children, and other fun activities for the whole family. 

East Rivendell Farm is opened Monday through Saturday, from 10 am to 6 pm and from May through November.
For more information about their farm, please visit their website at http://www.eastrivendellfarm.com/index.html

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The Office of Agriculture · 18410 Muncaster Road · Derwood, Md 20855
Phone: 301-590-2823 · Fax: 301-590-2839

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