Fingerboard Farm has been carrying on the proud tradition of Maryland farming since 1789.
The farming industry in Maryland looked very different when Fingerboard Farm was founded. In the 1700s, Maryland farms were known for their cash crop: tobacco. Growing this crop was dependent on slave labor.
There was a split in what kinds of crops were grown in the state in the decades after the Revolutionary War. While the southern counties continued to grow tobacco, the northern parts of the state transitioned to growing wheat, a crop less dependent on labor. Farms in the vicinity of Fingerboard Farm, searching for ways to cut costs, drastically reduced their slave populations. By the middle of the 1800s, Maryland had the lowest percentage of free blacks among slaveholding states.
After the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, Maryland adopted a new constitution that called for the freeing of all slaves. The production of wheat in the northern parts of the state, and tobacco in the southern parts of the state, fell. Maryland farms transitioned to produce perishable goods such as meat, dairy, and vegetables. This was made possible by the introduction of better transportation technology, meaning farmers could get their goods to market before they spoiled.
The goods produced by Maryland farms didn’t see any major change for over a century and a half. Then, in 2019, a hemp-farming program was established to promote hemp as an agricultural commodity, turning the page into the next chapter of Maryland agriculture.