At Button Farm we strive to recreate an authentic plantation-era landscape by replicating daily aspects of an 1850s farm:
HERITAGE BREEDS & HEIRLOOM CROPS
Button Farm cultivates 19th century crops—wheat, oats, barley, tobacco—to help recreate the plantation landscape as well as preserve special heirloom vegetable varieties threatened with extinction. Among the crops we cultivate for seed-saving are Fish Peppers—a Chesapeake heirloom popular with African-Americans in the 19th century. Skunk Beans, named because of their black and white stripes (not because they smell like a skunk!) grow side by side Hutterite Soup Beans and other 19th century staples.
Larger scale planation-era subsistence and cash crops are also grown. Brown Cotton, once produced by Montgomery County Quakers, grows prolifically at our farm, while flax is raised to produce linen for the clothing that our living history interpreters will wear.
Heritage Breed animals are a main attraction and bring lots of life to Button Farm. We raises several varieties of heritage chickens, some of which were known in slavery-era Maryland. Our Cotton Patch Geese are of a dwindling breed once used to weed cotton rows on old plantations. While our Guinea Hogs are a breed that once hailed from Africa and may have been introduced to America by slaves on the Middle Passage.
ARTISAN CRAFTS AND SKILLS
Blacksmithing, weaving, spinning, animal husbandry and post-and-beam carpentry and are some of the 19th century trades we are cultivating onsite. Over time Button Farm will house artisans in an on-site studio space allowing the public to witness our artisans at work or learn a trade through one of a kind trade courses.
LOG CABIN AND SLAVE QUARTER
A reconstructed log cabin will serve as the focal point of our 1850s Farm, around which most of our experiential programs will unfold. Tucked away in an isolated corner of Button Farm, the visitor will feel like they have been transported back in time. An authentic slave “truck patch” garden will reveal the humble subsistence farming practices of the time, and the surrounding 6,000 acres of forest will beckon participants to seek the path to freedom beyond.