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Century Farm is Preserving Heritage, Nurturing the Future

Recently recognized as a Maryland Century Farm, Griffith Family Farm stands as a testament to resilience, dedication and a connection to the land. Founded in 1923 by Benjamin F. Griffith, the farm has traversed through generations, embodying the essence of hard work and adaptability.

Reflecting on the origins of the farm, Kayla Griffith, a proud descendant, says, “In 1923, my great-great grandfather, Benjamin purchased our farm from James Owens. Benjamin was a tenant farmer on another farm Mr. Owens owned and when he decided to sell several farms, he offered one to Benjamin who selected our property — even though it was not the farm he was tenant farming on. I wish I knew why!”

The roots of the farm run deep, with each generation contributing to its evolution. “The original farm was around 200 acres,” Kayla says. “Benjamin had four sons and each son received a portion of the farm upon his passing in the 1930s.” The original portion of the farm that was entered into the Maryland Century Farm program was the 56 acres Kayla’s great-grandfather Preston Eugene inherited. Later on, her grandfather Earl purchased two parcels contiguous to the farm to bring the home farm to a current total of 300 acres.

Over the decades, the farm diversified its operations, transitioning from tobacco cultivation to a myriad of agricultural pursuits. “Tobacco was our original cash crop and existed in that capacity until my dad, Jeff, and my grandfather took the Maryland Tobacco Buyout in 2000 and 2002 respectively.” The family diversified by growing grain crops, fruits and vegetables, and livestock farming.

The spirit of entrepreneurship thrived at Griffith Family Farm, with each generation exploring new avenues. “One of their big direct market sellers was 3,000 turkeys that my great grandparents raised, processed and sold to residents of Annapolis for Thanksgiving,” Kayla says. “My grandfather also had a dig your own mums field in the 80s, a time when agritourism was well in its infancy.” This innovative approach laid the foundation for the future of the farm, including selling produce at local farmers’ markets and becoming a grain and hay farm, focusing on corn, soybeans, wheat and grass hay.

Kayla’s return to the farm in 2015 marked a new chapter in its journey. “My goal was to sell only vegetables that I grew myself, but I’ve pivoted into other ventures,” she says. From laying hens to sunflower fields, Kayla’s endeavors show her commitment to sustainability and community engagement.

As the family farm celebrates its centennial milestone, Kayla reflects on its significance. “Being a Century Farm is so much more than a title because it shows 100 years of dedication and commitment to back-breaking work,” she says. She acknowledges the sacrifices made by her ancestors and embraces the responsibility of shaping the farm’s future.

Looking ahead, Kayla envisions a return to the farm’s roots, with a focus on diverse livestock, crop cultivation and agricultural education. “I especially want to do more agricultural education on the farm with intentional activities where local children can come and learn about production agriculture while also enjoying nature,” Kayla says.

In a world marked by change, Griffith Family Farm stands as a beacon of tradition and resilience. With Kayla at the helm, the legacy will continue to flourish, bridging the past with the promise of a vibrant future on this historic farm.

Hungry for more? Read about the Maryland Century Farm program. Get tips from Kayla about summer farmers markets.

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