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2008: The Harry Black Family

Credit: Executive Office of the Governor

Family Name: The Black Family

The Black family operates the 175-acre Catoctin Mountain Orchard in Thurmont, and produces and markets top-quality fruits, berries, vegetables and flowers. Sibling owners Robert E. and Patricia A. Black built upon the foundation established by their late parents Harry and Helen Black, who purchased the farm and a small roadside market in 1961, developing into one of the best orchards in Maryland. Now second, third and fourth generations of the Black family work the orchard and retail market. Ninety-five percent of the produce grown on the farm and many value-added products are sold through their retail store. The farm also offers “pick-your-own” crops such as blueberries, black raspberries, sweet and sour cherries and flowers. The Black family employs extensive conservation practices on their farm, including ponds for drip irrigation, diversions, grass waterways, contour tree and crop planting, cover crops and crop rotation. They also use integrated pest management practices and allow for eco-friendly disposal of tree trimmings, unmarketable fruits and vegetative waste that generates compost, which is returned to the soil. The Blacks have held leadership positions with the Maryland State Horticulture Society, Dwarf Fruit Tree Association, U.S. Apple Association, Maryland State Apple Commission, Tourism Council of Frederick County and Frederick County Farm Bureau. They have been honored as 2006 Frederick County Farm Family of the Year and 2007 Master Entrepreneurs. Additionally, they offer a distinguished record of support for the community and provide fruit and/or cider donations to their church’s activities, as well as Frederick County 4-H, Grange, University of Maryland Extension, The Great Frederick Fair, Taste of Maryland Agriculture event, Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show, fire companies and the Governor and General Assembly each legislative session.

Video Link

Ceremony Date: 2/5/09

Contact Information

If you have any questions, need additional information or would like to arrange an interview, please contact:
Jessica Hackett
Director of Communications
Telephone: 410-841-5888