Calvert's Gift Farm in Sparks, Maryland

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Our Family owned farm is located in Sparks, Maryland. The farm has been Certified Organic by the Maryland Department of Agriculture since 1994. We pride ourselves in our crop diversity and the quality of food we produce on our farm.

Heirloom and open pollinated vegetables are our preferred seed stock. No genetically altered seeds, plants, or materials are used on our farm. We believe "organic" means more than just no pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers.

We utilize extensive crop rotations, minimize off farm inputs and rely almost totally on natural systems to produce safe, healthy food in an environmentally sound way thus ensuring the viability and future of our family farm.
Calvert's Gift Farm

In the high tunnel. Since our beginning in 1994, we chose to become certified organic. The term organic has gone through some evolutions since then. We believed in the program at our start and we still do today.

We know we can produce great food that is unadulterated by chemicals or genetically modified organisms and be good stewards of the land by using organic practices. Despite claims to the opposite, it makes sense to us to eat certified organic produce.

In our daily lives, each of us is exposed to who knows what kind of chemicals. Why would you choose to eat them?

We are currently certified organic through the Maryland Department of Agriculture, which is accredited by the National Organic Program. The National Organic Program (NOP) has strict standards that must be met in order to become certified.

There are clear rules, acceptable methods, forbidden products and enforcement measures. There is an inspection process and there is a sheaf of paperwork to complete annually. No other claims, such as naturally grown, natural, free range, ecoganic, sustainably produced, or pastured, to name a few, have the regulations, federal mandate or teeth that the NOP has.

We are willing to go through the inspection process and the paperwork as proof of our convictions. By choosing the certification path, you the consumer can know that our claims are genuine.

The new buzzwords……

Local and sustainable. These words are becoming commonplace in our daily lives. They can have many meanings and interpretations. To us, local means that the produce on our farmers market table has been grown by us. We do not buy from other farmers and resell, we do not purchase from a cooperative, auction or terminal market. Purchasing produce from Calvert’s Gift Farm means that you are buying produce that was produced on our farm in Sparks, Maryland.
At a farmer's market.

Using sustainable farming methods. Sustainable farming can mean anything from no-till conventional corn and soybean production to organic methods of production. To us, sustainable farming means using growing methods that enhance soil quality, providing for the economic well-being of the farmer and providing for the health of the environment.

Our farming practices include crop diversity, extensive multi-year crop rotations, cover crops, compost, reduced tillage techniques, crop timing, and low tech inputs. Crop diversity is one of our keys to success. We find relying on one or two crops too risky when we have few controls over Mother Nature.

Our crop rotations are designed to defend against pest infestations, to prevent soil borne diseases and to prevent soil degradation. We use cover crops as often as possible to add nutrients and organic matter back into the soil and to prevent soil loss due to wind and water erosion. We make our own compost from garden waste and horse manure and incorporate it into the soil when necessary.

We often choose not to grow a particular crop when we know insect pressure will be greatest or we rely on row covers to deter insect damage. We love our job, we love our farm, we love to eat, we love it that other people can enjoy the fruits of our labor. That is true sustainablilty.
A good stewart of the land.