The name we gave our farm, Sugartree Farmette, is a nod to the area we live in called Sugarland Forest, a land with a rich history in farming and so much more! The word Sugartree came to me as I thought about the names and history of the area (we are small, around 4 acres, but we are part of a larger and greater community), as well as the blossoming cotton-candy-looking fruit trees we have started growing.
Sugarland Forest was founded by freed slaves after the Civil War and most likely got its name from the sugar maple trees in the area. It was once a thriving town with its own general store, school, and post office. It was a family-oriented farming town based on faith, family, and community, and its residents would all come together and share their crops and homemade foods. Here is some more information on Sugarland and its history: https://www.sugarlandproject.org/ and https://www.thebeaconnewspapers.com/unearthing-sugarlands-story/#:~:text=Founded%20by%20freed%20slaves,were%20established%20north%20of%20Poolesville.
Our farm is located in the Montgomery County, MD Agricultural (Ag) Reserve (https://montgomeryplanning.org/planning/agricultural-reserve/). Specifically, we are located off Sugarland Road in an area known as Sugarland Forest. The motto of this land is “A land of history and magic!” Our specific homestead was recorded to have been purchased on November 30th, 1880 for $58 by Thomas Nichols, a freed slave. The mostly-wooded property still has the same triangular shape to the acreage.
Our goal is to revive our land and follow in the footsteps of the original culture of Sugarland Forest where neighbors came together to share crops! We want to give back as much as possible to our community and to those in need. The majority of our produce is donated to local organizations that assist others in need. We also work closely with KPC Buddhist Relief (www.KPCBuddhistRelief.org) to help in distributing our produce to those in need.
Here’s my favorite excerpt from I Have Started for Canaan: The Story of the African American Town of Sugarland (page 92) that holds the same values we try to foster:
“The women of Sugarland canned applesauce, apple butter, and apple jelly made from crabapples. When berries, peaches, or vegetables were ripe, whole families prepared delicacies such as ketchup, hot sauces, pickles, and relish in the same communal way. “It did not matter how many or how small the amount of jars one person would bring to the project,” Beckwith explained. “Everyone received the same amount of the finished product.””
We hope that our little nook in Sugarland Forest can bring something special to as many sentient beings as possible!