MPT 'Maryland Farm & Harvest' visits Kent County during Dec. 3 episode

Kevin McClarren, of Choptank Oyster Company, is interviewed by Maryland Public Television's "Maryland Farm & Harvest" for an episode, which featured Eastern Shore farms in Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne's and Somerset counties. The episode will air at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3. It will be rebroadcast at 11:30 p.m. on Thursday and at 6 a.m. on Sunday. 

ANNAPOLIS — Kent County farmer Frank Dill will appear on Maryland Public Television’s series "Maryland Farm & Harvest," now in its seventh season, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3. 

The episode also will feature Eastern Shore farms and locations in Caroline, Dorchester, Queen Anne’s, and Somerset Counties during the water-themed episode.

According to a news release, "Maryland Farm & Harvest" takes viewers on journeys across the state, telling stories about the farms, people and technology required to sustain and grow Maryland’s number one commercial industry — agriculture.

MPT’s production team filmed episode segments at more than four dozen farms in preparation for its seventh season, the release states. 

The newest episode tackles issues related to water and the fascinating ways in which area farmers have adjusted, adapted, harnessed or made use of this resource.

According to the release, segments featured on the Dec. 3 episode are:

• "Oysters and Weather" (Dorchester County): For most farmers, rain is crucial to ensuring healthy crop growth and a bountiful harvest. For oyster farmers like Kevin McClarren, a dry spell can be preferable to a downpour.

Viewers visit McClarren’s Choptank Oyster Company to learn how oyster farmers navigate the challenges of low salinity caused by last year’s record rainfall, which has slowed the growth of many Choptank oysters, made it harder for them to multiply, and even changed their flavor.

• "Drainage Tile Install" (Caroline and Somerset Counties): Every plant needs water, but too much can hurt or even kill crops. While the best defense against flooding is a well-designed drainage system, such systems often bring their own environmental consequences.

This segment visits the Hutchison Brothers Farm in Greensboro, where farmer Kyle Hutchison and ShoreRivers’ Director of Agriculture and Restoration Tim Rosen collaborate on the installation of a conservation drainage system that prevents flooding while controlling runoff and protecting the surrounding environment.

Then, at Rantz Purcell’s RWP Farms in Princess Anne, viewers see how an already-installed conservation drainage system effectively saves crops and protects land.

• "Wastewater Irrigation" (Kent County): In 2015, Maryland farmers used more than 21 billion gallons of water to irrigate their crops. Rather than use water from lakes or underground aquifers, Dill’s Piccadilly Farm draws from an unconventional source — his local wastewater treatment plant.

Through an agreement with the Worton Wastewater Treatment Plant, Dill’s farm now uses treated wastewater to irrigate his crops. In addition to allowing him to grow more crops on the same amount of land, Dill’s unique irrigation arrangement helps conserve other freshwater sources in the area.

• "The Local Buy: Eels" (Queen Anne’s County): For many Chesapeake watermen, eeling helps bridge the gap between oyster season in the winter and crab season in the summer. The "Local Buy" segment host Al Spoler connects with Troy Wilkins of Kent Narrows, who is one of only a handful of full-time eelers on the bay.

After learning how to bait and catch eels, Al then visits The Salt Line restaurant in Washington, D.C., where Chef Kyle Bailey serves up Al’s first taste of grilled eel. A recipe for grilled eel with sunchokes, spinach, and sauce romesco is available at mpt.org/farm.

"Maryland Farm & Harvest" airs on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. on MPT-HD and is rebroadcast at 11:30 p.m. on Thursdays and at 6 a.m. on Sundays.

Each show also airs on MPT2 at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays at 7:30 p.m. Previous episodes of the series can be viewed for free on the MPT app and online at MPT’s website.

Viewers can join in on the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by using the hashtag #MDFarmHarvest.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture is MPT's co-production partner for "Maryland Farm & Harvest." Major funding is provided by the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board, the release states. 

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