New website connects shoppers to local farms in Howard County

In Howard County, there’s a new effort to help you shop local and support area farmers.

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball has launched HoCo Farms Connect, a website showing all the fresh food and other products you can pick up or get delivered. It just might save you a trip to the grocery store.

“I mean for us on a dead-end street there’s people who go to Costco every day, you can see their roof, and don’t know we’re here,” said Jake Franz, manager at Frank’s Produce and Greenhouses in Elkridge.

The last three weeks have been stressful and uncertain at Frank’s.

First, they weren’t sure if they were allowed to stay open, then they learned an employee contracted coronavirus.

”We closed for the whole week of Easter because one of our employees tested positive,” said Franz.

She’s doing fine now and so is business. Frank’s sells all types of plants and gardening products as well as fresh produce.

There are 325 farms in Howard County and currently, 26 of them are on the county’s new site.

”We’re finding we’re getting a lot of new customers,” said Nora Clark of Clark’s Elioak Farm in Ellicott City.

The farm sells meats and vegetables but is best known for its Enchanted Forest and petting farm for kids.

Typically this time of year people are crowding in to see the newborn goats.

”We also do a lot of school tours during the week for field trips,” said Clark. “So all of that has just been completely canceled.”

Clark’s family has been farming in Howard County since 1797. She says the county’s efforts have helped in this rough patch.

“I have seen an increase in selling our 100% grass-fed beef, pastured pork and vegetables which is wonderful,” said Clark. “And we really appreciate the community coming to shop with us.”