Winterbrook ‘evolving each year’
THURMONT, Md. — Four generations of farming has brought on many changes to Winterbrook Farms over the years. Owners Brandon and Taylor Huffman bought the family farm from the estate of Taylor’s father, Jan Lawyer, after his unexpected death at 54 years old in 2013.
“We wanted to see the family farms continue.” said Taylor. “We’ve been working hard ever since to try to keep them afloat amidst many challenges.”
The farm operation currently consists of 450 acres of hay, row crop and specialty crop operations — including a new corn maze designed each year since 2000.
The Huffmans said after they bought the farm, they worked to update the agritourism business to “catch up” with new fall festival attractions.
Winterbrook has since added a you-pick Pumpkin patch, expanded activities for kids, added a large learning barn and farm animal area.
New for 2020 is a sunflower festival and farm market.
“We’ve been wanting to try sunflowers for several years,” said Taylor. “However, the fear of perfectly timing the bloom got the best of us … until this year.”
They opened the farm for the fall season earlier than past years to hold the sunflower events over two weekends, Sept. 12-13 and 19-20.
They also held a Sippin’ in the Sunflowers event in partnership with Catoctin Breeze Winery on Sept. 12.
After the sunflower blooms pass, the farm will switch to its annual fall festival on weekends from Sept. 26 to Nov. 1.
In 2017, Brandon and Taylor made even more changes to the farm. It took a lot of time planning and executing to get it just right, although each year, they plan to continue to improve.
“We saw a huge positive response,” said Taylor, “and we’ve been growing tremendously each year ever since.”
Every year, the corn maze features a different design that coordinates with a charity organization to hold a fundraiser during Winterbrook’s Fall Festival.
The 2020 corn maze design features a tribute to Platoon 22, an organization that helps support veterans locally.
This year’s fundraising event will be held on Saturday, Oct. 24 from 6-10 p.m. Winterbrook Farms will donate $2 from each admission to go toward Platoon 22’s build of their Veterans Service Center in Frederick County.
“Ever since we lost my father, just under seven years ago, we have focused on corn maze designs and fundraisers for a cause.” said Taylor, “To date, we’ve already raised and donated over $45,000 to charities; mostly local.”
The Huffman’s said they have major plans for the future of the farm as well.
They want to get their farm to the point where it is self-sustaining and they no longer have to rely on off-the-farm jobs.
“I think all farmers face this problem, especially young farmers who are just starting out.” said Taylor. “It can really be a challenge to be a young family, raising two small children, have a job off the farm, and a busy farm operation to run as well… without any employees to help.”
While every year in farming has challenges, this particular year has shown the importance of locally-grown food.
The Huffmans have plans to grow their farm in the direction that includes you-pick berries and pastured meat.
1-800-634-5021 410-822-3965 Fax- 410-822-5068
P.O. Box 2026 Easton, MD 21601-8925