Hybridoma Organic Fruit Farm
Hybridoma Organic Fruit Farm (13734 Baldwin Mill Road, Baldwin MD 21013) is a 50 acre farm in the Long Green Valley area of Baltimore County, Maryland (USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 7). The farm was certified organic by the Maryland Department of Agriculture and in recent years has maintained its registered organic status. It has been put into an agricultural easment with the Maryland Environmental Trust to protect it from development in the future. Hybridoma is dedicated to faithful stewardship of this farmland, emphasizing biodiversity, sustainability and natural fertilization and pest control. A concurrent mission is educational: to share knowledge to about fruit production using organic techniques, solar energy production, and honey production.
Currently, thirteen acres are planted with 21 varieties of highbush blueberries, and approximately four more acres -- the "bramble area" -- are dedicated to black raspberries, blackberries, and experimental plots of currants, elderberries and gooseberries. There is also a small apple orchard herb and lavender area.
The origin of the farm was an "organic" process: Beginning in 1995, Hybridoma owner R.G. Hamilton experimented with a spectrum of vegetables, evergreen (Eastern White Pine, Colorado Blue Spruce) trees, redbud trees, and fruits (blueberries, raspberries and strawberries) grown in plots to determine which varieties would be selected for future years. While the evergreen and the redbud trees grew well and could have formed the basis of a Christmas tree farm or a landscaping nursery, the farmer felt that it was boring to observe their slow growth. More importantly, the idea of cutting down what had been a labor of love in growth and nurturing was not a tenable option. Since the farmer came originally from Michigan where blueberries are common, blueberries became one focus of the early years of farm development.
2011 was an exciting year for Hybridoma! Besides the construction of the new berry shed and the installation of an irrigation system for the bramble area, this was the first year the farm welcomed the public for a full season of "pick your own" berries. The website was established which expanded community presence for the farm. In 2011, 2400 pounds of blueberries were picked by patrons. During the 2012 season that has just past, 3550 pounds of blueberries have been picked. By the 2014 season, the yield of blueberries topped 4000 pounds with hard work in picking from the many patrons. Solar power was installed in recent years and the farm is currently energy (electricity) self-sufficient.
The name "Hybridoma: originates from an immunology laboratory procedure that was awarded a Nobel Prize. The technique involvesthe production of specialized antibodies from selected lymphocytes (white blood cells) that are fused or hybridized together. Following hybridization, only those cells producing the unique antibody of interest are selected and expanded for large scale antibody production. These antibodies are of high quality and currently they are used throughout the USA and Europe in medical research and in routine hospital laboratory testing assays. The hybridoma work of the farmer has provided funds to establish and expand the Hybridoma Organic Fruit Farm, since immunology is the other life passion of the farmer who works at the Johns Hopkins Univeristy School of Medicine. Hybridoma is a unique word that also reflects the concept of different hybrids being planted onto the farm. Thus, the name Hybridoma Organic Fruit Farm was born.
Patrons who come to the farm will see a number of venues. First, a Riparian buffer project was established in 2013 together with the State of Maryland Forestry Service. This involves planting ~500 fruit and nut trees along the streem to reduce erosion of soil into the stream Second, a 40 kilowatt per hour solar voltaic system that was installed. With this system, Hybridoma is now an electricity generating facilty which puts alternating current into the grid and is self sustaining with regard to electricity use. In addition, periodic show and tell demonstrations on the "anatomy of the bee hive" by Eliot Latchaw and family. Our honey bee expert provides children with a glimpse into the fascinating social structure of the honeybee. There will be a new spice-herb and lavender experience area for the children that allows them to touch and smell different scents. Eva produces delicious pastries with the berries from the farm that she sells on selected farm days.
We look forward to your visit and encourage families with children of all ages to visit. Whether your children choose to visit the swing and slide playground area the has been established just for them, or venture into the field to pick (and eat) organically grown berries, we welcome you all with open arms.
Robert and Eva, Owners, Hybridoma Organic Fruit Farm; (updated in 2016 Spring)