Fine Day for a Field Trip
Spend a summer afternoon or evening at one of these three farms in Kent and Queen Anne’s counties
The rural byways of the Upper Eastern Shore are always worth exploring, especially in summer, when the Queen Anne’s lace and black-eyed Susans bloom in the roadside and local farmstands burst with produce. So head down some country roads in Kent and Queen Anne’s County to destinations that reward your trek off the beaten path with excellent wines, craft beers and unforgettable on-the-farm experiences.
Patriot Acres Farm Brewery
1621 Millington Road,
Sudlersville, MD 21668 patriotacresfarmbrewery.com
At some point, on your way to Patriot Acres Farm Brewery, you’ll be sure you must be lost. Deep in Upper Queen Anne’s County’s vast farm fields, you’ll pass miles of corn and soybeans relieved only by farmhouses and silos in the distance. Ignore your instincts and follow your GPS into the driveway of one of those farms just outside Sudlersville, Maryland, and you’ll have arrived at the stellar craft beers and unique barnyard vibe of Patriot Acres Farm Brewery.
Started in 2017 by Army and National Guard veteran Brian Truitt and his wife Shawna, on a fourth-generation farm, Patriot Acres serves up a changing roster of Brian’s small-batch brews in a quirky down-home setting. Tasting flights with samplers of their Witches Brew (a “happy accident” brown ale) or Have Mercy (a Vienna pale ale) can be enjoyed in their comfortable tasting room — likely in the company of one of their affable Maremma sheep dogs — or outside on their patio, where you might share a picnic table with several chickens or a dwarf goat. But to get the full experience, visitors are encouraged to take their beers into a gated pasture, where herds of pygmy goats, flocks of chickens, and one very tiny, very friendly rooster named Stuart Little will approach for scratches, pets, and — if you’re not careful — furtive samples from your glass.
Unsurprisingly, Patriot Acres is fantastic for families. During the taproom’s open hours on Saturdays and Sundays, parents can enjoy a cold brew in the sunshine while their children climb on playground equipment, pet the tame, friendly goats, and catch a ride on a tractor-pulled barrel train.
Patriot Acres is especially popular in summertime. Groups of families and friends sit in the sunshine, enjoying a draft or two with a basket of fries from a visiting food truck while animals mill peaceably about. With inventive, tasty craft beer in a unique setting, Patriot Acres Farm Brewery is a destination worth diving deep into Queen Anne’s County’s countryside to find.
Crow Vineyard and Winery
12441 Vansants Corner Rd., Kennedyville, MD 21645
Across the farm fields of north Kent County, the three tall grain silos of Crow Vineyard and Winery let you know you’re getting close to award-winning wine. An agritourism powerhouse, Crow offers myriad ways to enjoy the flavors and the experiences of farm life, including wine tastings, farmstays, grass-fed beef and community grape harvests. Come for Crow’s excellent wine, stay for the cozy accommodations in the classic farmhouse, the gorgeous open vistas, and the lively events.
Located on a 365-acre, third-generation farm, Crow Vineyard and Winery has harnessed the potential of the Eastern Shore’s arable landscape. Although the farm traditionally focused on dairy, wheat, corn, soy and produce, the Crow family began to diversify in 2008, offering grass-fed beef and opening to B&B visitors as a farmstay. In 2011, they launched into the vineyard and winery business, opened a tasting room in 2012, and haven’t looked back since. Today, Crow boasts a wide array of varietals including Vidal Blanc, Pinot Gris, Rose, Merlot and Barbera, garnering awards from The Maryland Governor’s Cup to the San Francisco International Wine Competition.
It’s possible to enjoy the terroir of the Kent County countryside in your glass of Crow wine, but the winery’s busy calendar invites visitors to do much more than that. There are 5k runs in the vineyard; an annual Farm and Vineyard Crowfest with wine seminars, hayrides and grape stompings; a Vine to Wine dinner series with vineyard tours and cooking demonstrations; and farm-to-table grill nights featuring wine and beef grown on site. Often the owners, Roy or Judy Crow, will greet guests or pour wine at these events, joined by Brandon Hoy, Judy’s son and vineyard manager, and Myrtle, the farm’s Labrador retriever/welcoming committee.
Whether you stop out for a few bottles of your favorite vidal blanc and a walk through the summertime vineyards, or settle in at the fire pit with a wood-fired pizza and a glass of merlot, Crow Vineyard and Winery provides endless opportunities to drink in the flavor of the Eastern Shore landscape in every season.
108 Immanuel Ln, Millington, MD 21651-1672
On a little farm outside of Millington, summer transforms the landscape from the deep greens of late May to the soft, hazy purples of lavender season. At Calico Fields, a little slice of Provence on Unicorn Lake, honeybees, butterflies and visitors of the human variety are drawn to the peppery scent and intense violet of the summertime lavender crop.
Started by Jay and Christa Falstad in 2001, the property was purchased as a retreat from corporate life and a way to raise their future family close to the land. They named the property “Calico Fields” for the scrappy calico cats they found on the farm and adopted when they moved in. With a dream of creating an environmentally sustainable and pesticide-free working farm, the couple began experimenting with different crops, including a few lavender plants in 2006. The lavender thrived in the sandy soils and intense sun of eastern Kent County summers, and they planted dozens more.
Today Calico Fields produces French and English lavender as well as a whole line of lavender products, scented and flavored with their organically-grown plants. The plants are pollinated by honeybees on site, and in addition to lavender soaps, balms, ice cream and teas, Calico Fields also sells lavender honey from their own hives.
Visitors are welcomed on Saturdays and Sundays in season to cut their own fresh lavender, enjoy their on-site stands of peonies, sunflowers and monarch butterfly gardens, or take home a few lavender plants to grow at home. In summertime, the farm buzzes with pollinators and visitors wandering among the blooming plants. It’s a great warm weather family field trip—a chance to cut fresh lavender, sample a lavender ice cream cone, and take a few family photos framed by rows of deep, vibrant purple.