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Comptroller Franchot visits Waldorf farm

shagel farm

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot tours 105 year old Shlagel Farm

Waldorf, MD - Imagine a family owned 300 acre farm that has not only endured but thrives in the middle of megalopolis.

“Many people come to the farm and tell us they’ve lived in Waldorf for years and never knew we were here,” April Shlagel said of her family’s 105-year-old legacy.

On Thursday, Oct. 20, Comptroller of Maryland Peter Franchot made a special visit to tour the family property and present a proclamation in honor of their 105th year of continuous farming. The proclamation recognizes the Shlagel Farm for its historical value to the community and success.

“It’s a wonderful county, family, small business,” Franchot stated. Franchot pointed out some particular things he noticed about the farm. He said “They have great produce, grown locally and it’s good for the environment. Their food is nutritional. Their water is recycled. I really enjoyed the tour.”

Proclamation Schlagel FarmRussell Shlagel said his grandfather, Otto Shlagel, came through Ellis Island in 1906.

“He worked in Pennsylvania,” Shlagel noted. “He bought the farm here in 1911. Back then in northern Charles County and southern Prince George’s County there were a lot of old plantations. They were all overgrown.”

Otto Shlagel was able to purchase the farm through the help of the German American Colonization and Land Company; the noteholder to the property was the German Bank of Southern Maryland, which encouraged German immigrants to agriculture.

“I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I was told it was the only bank that didn’t close its doors during the Great Depression,” Russell noted.

This institution later became the Bank of Brandywine.

“We have not raised tobacco since the 1980s,” he said. “We got out of tobacco long before the buyout."

“We decided to make our business competitive in the 21st century, to create an environment for our children,” Russell noted. “It was a tremendous, long curve and nobody wanted local produce back then. But we stuck with it and because of that, we were poised to take off when the locally grown movement came along.

"Compared to growing vegetables, tobacco was easy,” he said.

Tobacco, he noted could sit in a field for a day. However, once you pick vegetables, the clock is running.

“They don’t wait,” he said. “You’ve got to get them sold.”

The Comptroller of Maryland said he was definitely impressed.

“The family seems well prepared to carry on for another 100 years,” Franchot stated.

Contact Joseph Norris at joe.norris@thebaynet.com

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