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Military Family Turns to Life on a Historic Farm

Marylander Todd Durbin joined the U.S. Army as a combat engineer, serving tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was later reclassified to wheeled mechanic and medically retired after 15 years of service. As Todd was transitioning from active duty, he and his wife, Tiffany, knew they wanted to return to her family farm in Calvert County to put down roots.

Tiffany’s family farm has a notable history. Purchased in 1801 by Thomas W.B. Smith, the founder of Smithville (now known as Dunkirk), White Hall Farm has been in the family for over 200 years. The Durbins took ownership in 2017.

The farm was recognized in 2020 as the only Bicentennial Farm in Calvert County, and one of only a handful in the state. “The floors are worn from over 200 years of family gatherings and happy people stepping through; the same windows are looked out to watch the sunrise over the same trees; the same fields provide food and nourishment to those who live on the farm and in the local area. There is something so enchanting about that,” Tiffany says.

Today, the couple’s farm consists of nearly 75 acres where they grow field crops, like corn and soybeans, and smaller plots where they grow flowers, herbs, vegetables and more, including about 100 laying hens that free range the farm.

Thanks to Todd’s career in the military, White Hall Farm was eligible to become part of a veteran’s farming program, Maryland’s Best Homegrown by Heroes. This program is available free of charge to Maryland farmers who have served in any branch of the armed services.

“Homegrown by Heroes and the Farmer Veteran Coalition have helped us immensely. Fellow military members, veterans and community members support our small farm specifically because of the label. Our farm is located in a military centric community, being close to Washington, D.C., Andrews Air Force Base, Patuxent Naval Air Station, Fort Meade and more. We have made not only patrons, but new friends and family, all thanks to the Homegrown by Heroes label that differentiates us,” Tiffany says.

“The ability to connect with not just fellow farmers, but with fellow veterans who are farming has been valuable,” Todd says. “By being Maryland’s Best Homegrown by Heroes certified, we hope to provide the same support to other Maryland farms as well.”

The couple is planning to restore one of the historic barns into an onsite market. “We are hoping to use as many of the old boards and beams as possible for people to see the beautiful historic wood when they visit,” Tiffany says. “Until that is complete, we offer free local weekly delivery for online orders to those in the area.”

With Todd and Tiffany’s commitment, White Hall Farm is sure to remain a bustling family farm for another 200 years.

Hungry for more? Read about this Navy veteran’s farm. Looking for a unique holiday gift? White Hall Farm offers farm fresh eggs, holiday pies, breads and more. Visit a farmer’s market — even during the colder months markets are full of local products.

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