San Domingo farmer showcases traditional farming practices for UMES extension
MARDELA SPRINGS, Md. – One man is doing more than just taking care of the land, raising hogs, chickens, cows, and goats, he’s preserving the history in the San Domingo community.
“The community of what you see now is just a skeleton of what it was,” says Newell Quinton, a San Domingo farmer.
Quinton, along with other Quinton family members say they’re doing the work of their ancestors.
“It’s the idea of sharing and letting kids know how their grandparents live how their parents lived and how the community works together that excites me,” says Quinton. He adds, “If you’re going to have animals there’s, no vacation. The animals don’t take a break, you have to take care of them every single day.”
We’re told the community is rich in African American culture, specifically farming practices. One, in particular, is the long tradition of making scrapple during the fall.
“As teenagers, we could look around the community and see where the smoke was and we knew if there was smoke rising early in the morning somebody was getting ready to kill some hogs,” says Quinton. A family friend who helps with the scrapple, Keith Brown adds, “It’s something we were raised upon and nobody knows how to do this anymore.”
Quinton tells 47 ABC, he worked in Washington with the federal government for years, but when it was time to retire, it just didn’t feel right to come home and not continue a family tradition. Quinton and other community members say it’s important to not only carry on these traditions but to teach them to the younger generation.
“I think it’s good that the young folks know how to how people came up and what they did to survive,” says Brown.
The farm’s work to preserve caught the attention of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Extension, as part of their small farm conference. Attendees and university officials stopped by to learn about the history, farming practices, and how to keep small farms alive and thriving. Some participants even tell us, it’s inspiring.
“It’s not something from the past, it’s part of the present and it can continue to be the future if people take the time to learn from the people who were here to teach us,” says the attendee and Director of Future Harvest, Niam Shortt. She adds, “Having a connection to land and heritage, that’s what this offers than buying something from a grocery store can’t.”
Participants also say it’s nice to see how close-knit a community can be all while cherishing the land they have lived on for generations. “This is home for me, you never forget where home is,” says Brown. “It’s just a connection to our history more than anything else and a continuation of our way of life that we all knew as teenagers growing up here,” says Quinton.
Quinton also says he hopes to continue bringing light to agriculture in the San Domingo community.
We’re also told the small farm conference made other stops to local farmers on the Eastern shore, to highlight other practices small farms are doing.