Living oﬀ the Land
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 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
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.
Location. 38° 34.302′ N, 76° 3.816′ W. Marker is in Cambridge, Maryland, in Dorchester County. Marker is on Rose Hill Place. Touch for map. The marker is on the back porch of the Dorchester County Visitor Center. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2 Rose Hill Place, Cambridge MD 21613, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Choptank River Bridge (a few steps from
Categories. • Agriculture • Industry & Commerce •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 8, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 202 times since then and 14 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.