2011 | Natural Beef
Forrest Hall Farm is pleased to offer our own farm produced Black Angus beef cuts for sale in our shop. Our animals are humanely raised on our farm and grain fed from grain grown and ground here on the farm - hormone and antibiotic free.
Our meat is processed under USDA inspection with a meat processing permit from the State Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. The meat is sold in a frozen state in accordance with state regulation. It should be kept frozen until used.
Call 301-481-5544 for prices and pick-up information.
2010 | Wine Grape Growing
Forrest Hall Farm showcased agriculture's new and emerging industry here in St. Mary's - wine grape growing and wine making! We at Forrest Hall are very proud to be a part of Maryland's first agricultural cooperative in the wine making industry. It is this group that is managing the new Port of Leonardtown Winery that recently celebrated its grand opening. Wine making is part of the value-added, new face of Maryland agriculture.
The 2010 corn maze design was a reflection of this new wine growing and wine making industry here in St. Mary's County. Wine grape production became part of the farm's diverse operation in 2005 as the farm transitioned from tobacco to less traditional forms of agriculture. Forrest Hall has over five acres of wine grapes. Primary varieties grown include Chambourcin, Cab Franc, and Cayuga White. The farm is open to the general public from strawberry picking time in May through grape harvest time, and on to fall harvest activities time. The retail shop closes in November of each year.
Mary and Joe Wood are part of the original founding members of the Southern Maryland Wine Growers Cooperative, and all three of their children are grower members of the co-op. Forrest Hall Farm is part of the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation and was awarded the St. Mary's County Agricultural Land Preservation Award in 2004. The farm hosted a vineyard tour from Australia's Neufield Scholars in 2008.
2009 | Maryland's 375th Birthday
This year's maze design is a birthday cake. This is quite a birthday year, and what better way to celebrate than with a cake. Take a cake walk through the maze, and we hope that on your walk you will give a little thought to the history of our homeplace.
Many historians believe that the first cakes originated in Greece, but there are some who hold that the first cakes date back to ancient Egyptians who were the first known to bake their food. Still, others contend that the birthday cake tradition started in the middle ages in Germany when sweet bread dough was made to celebrate the birthday of Jesus. Often objects were placed in the dough, and good luck was thought to be ahead for the finders. The birthday cake later re-emerged in Germany as a "kinderfest" or birthday celebration for young children. The celebration of birthdays with a cake remains a world-wide tradition.
Originally, the birthday candles placed on cakes were intended to send up birthday wishes to God. It was believed that the wishes were carried up on the smoke. Even today, it is thought that if you blow all your candles out in one breath, your wish will come true!
This year we are celebrating Maryland's 375th birthday…a celebration that began on Maryland Day, March 25, and will continue through the rest of 2009. Maryland's story actually begins here in 1634 when the 140 passengers from the Ark and the Dove landed on St. Clement's Island and then moved down to St. Mary's City to land acquired from local Indian tribes to create a settlement which served as the state's first capital. It was the clear and visionary thinking of these first Marylanders that helped to develop the religious and personal freedoms that we in the United States continue to enjoy today.
Be sure to pick up a free copy of our county's Maryland's 375th Anniversary publication before you leave. It is full of information about the celebration as it continues throughout the rest of the year. Thank you for visiting Forrest Hall Farm and helping to celebrate this important birthday year.
Come visit, and be "A-Maized"
2008 | The Rooster
Take a walk through the maze (or run if it’s not too hot)! We haven’t permanent lost anyone in eight years, so don’t worry. Then visit with our farm animals, take a hayride, play games, or just hang out. Stop by the nostalgia corner in the barn, and don’t forget to stop by the farm shop for goodies to take home.
Our five acre maze has over two miles of trails - with appropriate shortcuts of course! There are rest stops in the maze, and we offer wagons to pull the little ones along. Ticket-holding mazers get a FREE gift for completing the maze.
This year’s maze design is a rooster. For centuries, the rooster was known as the “evil chicken” and the “ferocious clucker” as they have been known to chase anyone approaching their pens or their hens. Actually roosters play a really important role on a farm, especially when it comes to alerting the hens and other farm animals that a predator is near. They are the “watch dogs” of farm animals. They crow and squawk and dance…and they are good leaders. The problem comes when you have more than one rooster and the group must decide who is going to be the leader. This is called “pecking order,” and roosters take it very seriously. Once a rooster has become the leader, he stays the leader until either a new, bigger, stronger and more influential rooster comes along, or until he is too old to lead - and if this happens, the second in command rooster takes over. Roosters are beautiful and often-times quite colorful.
2007 | The School Bus
School busing and agriculture served as partners in the early days in St. Mary's County. In the 1920's many students walked to school. That all changed with Miss Lettie Dent, the new Superintendent of Schools (first female superintendent in Maryland 1928-1957). She got in her car and drove from farm to farm recruiting the first bus drivers and contractors. Farmers were regarded as trustworthy, family men. They were accustomed to working with large equipment and the opportunity of school busing provided them with additional income during the post harvest season. It was the beginning of a successful and long-lasting relationship between the agricultural and the educational community. Joe’s parents were bus contractors/drivers for almost 50 years. His mother, Mildred, held the distinction of being the first female driver in northern St. Mary's. Two of their original buses are a proud part of life at Forrest Hall Farm.
2006 | Ernesto's Paths! ... That's right, not even Ernesto could hold us down. Even though he blazed through our ready-to-go maze, we were ready! We created a new maze and respectfully named it after the storm! The new maze consisted of shapes and paths representing the turmoil of the storm. Here is a photo of what the original design for 2006 was:
The 2005 Steamboat
Throughout the 19th century, and for most of the first half of the 20th century, steamboat transportation played a vital role in the local agricultural economy. The Southern Maryland Railroad system had established itself, but the interstate highways system had not, and therefore, steamboat and railroad were the modes of transportation used to bring agricultural supplies and equipment to the area.
In addition to the freight service, these steamboat lines provided efficient, reasonably priced passenger service for people in southern Maryland. Locals could travel to Washington, D.C., and the Baltimore area for weekend excursions. The John W. Thompson, well known in southern Maryland waters, provided freight service as well as passenger and excursion trips. To read more, click here for our 2005 Fact Pack.
The 2004 Steam Locomotive
The Southern Maryland Railroad was incorporated in 1868 with construction beginning a short time later. Construction was started in Brandywine (connecting with the Baltimore & Potomac Railroad) and was built in a southeasterly direction with the intention of traveling all the way to Point Lookout. The line went into its first of many bankruptcies in 1886 and emerged as the Washington & Potomac Railroad. The line only ever ran as far south as Mechanicsville (sometimes listed as Forrest Hall).
In 1901, the line went through another bankruptcy and emerged as the Washington, Potomac & Chesapeake Railway. At the end of 1917 the line again found itself in bankruptcy and was very nearly scrapped due to the high price of scrap metal during WW1. However, farmers in the area were able to purchase the line from a salvage firm and in June of 1918 the line began running again, this time under the name of the Washington, Brandywine & Point Lookout Railroad. To read more, click here.
The 2003 "Elephants" in St. Mary's County
Who knew...elephant's in St. Mary's County. You just never know what you'll find in a corn maze! Elephants are wonderful animals. They are the largest mammals in the world that live on land. There are two types of elephants - African and Asian. Asian elephants have smaller ears and shorter tusks than their cousins, the African elephants. The African elephant is bigger and taller than an Asian elephant.
Elephants live in families just like us! Several families may live together, this is called a herd. The leader of the herd is usually the oldest female elephant, and is referred to as the "matriarch." All of the babies and other female elephants follow the matriarch. A young male elephant stays with the herd until he is 14 or 15 years old. He then goes out on his own to start a new family. To learn more about elephants, please click here to view our 2003 Fact Pack.
The 2002 St. Mary's "Dinosaur"
Okay, so we've never really found a dinosaur in our cornfield...but we wanted one, so we grew our own!
"Astrodon Johnstoni" officially became the Maryland state dinosaur on October 1, 1998. It lived during the early Cretaceous period, between 130 million and 95 million years ago, and was the first identified dinosaur in Maryland. It was one of the earliest dinosaur finds in the United States and the first sauropod described in North America.
Astrodon was definitely vegetarian, but as with all dinosaurs it is difficult to be specific about the exact diet. It probably browsed conifers, cycads and low-growing plants. It probably was a forest dweller. Although its bones have been recovered from river deposits, if current ideas are correct, it did not spend its time in the water.
Astrodon is better known than any other dinosaur in the Potomac Group. Because Astrodon was the first dinosaur found in Maryland and the first sauropod described from North America, it is fitting that it be acknowledged officially as the "Maryland State Dinosaur." Click here for the 2002 Fact Pack.
The 2001 Barn & Silo
The history of corn is truly "A-Maize-Ing!" We are able to trace the beginning of corn to Central America over 7000 years ago.
The Mayan, Aztec, and Inca Indians of Central and South America learned to use almost every part of the corn plant. The leaves contain a large amount of sugar and they used them as the first "chewing gum." Immature corn was eaten as a fresh vegetable. The dry, mature kernels of corn were ground into flour, parched, or popped. Can you image the Aztec Indian children eating popcorn just like you do today!
By the time Christopher Columbus reached the New World in 1492, corn was grown from southern Canada to the Andes Mountains of South America. Early European settlers soon learned to depend on corn as their main crop. To learn more, click here for the 2001 Fact Pack.