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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Cambridge in Dorchester County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Living off the Land

 
 
Living off the Land Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, October 28, 2014
1. Living off the Land Marker
Inscription.  Agriculture has been a mainstay of the local culture and economy for centuries. In the1700s, grain production was so widespread that the Eastern Shore was called the “breadbasket of the American Revolution.” The farming tradition continues today.

The Canning Craze
—Before refrigeration, truck, and trains, Dorchester County was a leader in the food processing industry. With rich soils for growing crops and many waterways for transporting goods, Dorchester saw 187 canneries built between 1870 and 1960. That’s when the area near the Choptank River Lighthouse a bustling wharf, home to canneries, packing plants, and plenty of hubbub. Boats large and small were loaded with everything from melons to oysters destined for faraway cities. By the early 1900s, Cambridge was the second largest canning center in the nation.

The Rise and Fall of Phillips Packing Company
In 1902, three local men formed a canning company in Cambridge that grew into the world’s largest packer of tomato products. By 1939, their Phillips Packing Company was the area’s main employer. The company bought more than $1 million in produce

Living off the Land Marker-Hospital and Choptank River in the background image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, October 28, 2014
2. Living off the Land Marker-Hospital and Choptank River in the background
annually from Delmarva farmers and competed against national firms such as Campbell’s Soup Company. But boom turned to bust as the food business changed. Operations ceased in the early 1960s, ripping a hope in the local economy. To see relics from the canning age, visit the Heritage Museums and Gardens of Dorchester.

Farming with a Twist
Many Dorchester County farmers still grow corn, wheat, and soybeans or raise poultry. Others have taken farming in new directions. One family expanded their crops to include grapes and opened a winery and tasting room. Another rolled generations of farming know-how into a destination farm stand. One farm was transformed into a bison ranch, while another host a corn maze and paintball adventure park.

(Inscription beside the photos in the center)
Tomatoes, watermelons, and other produce were the foundation of the local economy for generations.

(Inscription under the photo in the right center)
One local farming family turned some of their fields into a vineyard.
 
Erected by Maryland Heritage Area.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AgricultureIndustry & Commerce.
 
Location. 38° 34.302′ N, 76° 3.816′ W. Marker is in Cambridge, Maryland, in Dorchester

Explore the Chesapeake-Marker at the entrance to the Dorchester County Visitor Center image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, October 28, 2014
3. Explore the Chesapeake-Marker at the entrance to the Dorchester County Visitor Center
County. Marker is on Rose Hill Place. The marker is on the back porch of the Dorchester County Visitor Center. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2 Rose Hill Place, Cambridge MD 21613, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Choptank River Bridge (a few steps from this marker); Choptank River's Natural History (a few steps from this marker); Exploring Dorchester's Fragile Beauty (within shouting distance of this marker); A Landscape and Lifestyle Defined by Water (within shouting distance of this marker); Maryland's Eastern Shore (within shouting distance of this marker); Cambridge (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Discover: Dorchester (about 300 feet away); Enjoy Our Park (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cambridge.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on November 8, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 241 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 8, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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Nov. 30, 2020