Farm gives away entire harvest to charities across the state

By Jennifer Franciotti

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FREELAND, Maryland (WBAL) — Thursday’s rain didn’t stop more than 100 volunteers from picking potatoes at a local farm that will help feed families across the state.

First Fruits Farm in northern Baltimore County started as a backyard garden. Now, with more than 200 acres, the farm grows six different crops and gives everything away for free. All in the name of God as part of their ministry.

“We are a nonprofit. Everything is given away. We don’t sell anything. This year, we’ll do a little over 2.5 million pounds. Since we started, we’ve done over 20,000,000 pounds,” said Rick Bernstein, the farm’s executive director.

The farm sends its food to pantries across the region and is one of the biggest suppliers of the Maryland Food Bank. And, it takes many volunteers to make it happen. On Thursday, volunteers from the Baltimore Ravens, M&T Bank and our own WBAL-TV/Hearst Television family volunteered to help by picking potatoes.

“Our players really care about the community that supports us on Sundays and game days, and these are great opportunities to do that,” said Sashi Brown, president of the Baltimore Ravens.

“We always knew it was about a lot more than our name on the stadium. It’s about doing events like this together to make Baltimore the best it can be,” said Augie Chiasera, regional president of M&T Bank.

“I’m excited to get out there and get my hands dirty, pick some potatoes for a good cause, 11 News reporter Mindy Basara said.

The volunteers definitely got their hands dirty, especially when the rain came down. For those who don’t mind getting a little messy and would like to volunteer, go to the farm’s online volunteer registration calendar.

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