CORDOVA — Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot visited the farm stand at Councell Farms, located at 11773 Old Skipton Road outside of Cordova, where he honored owners Jo Ann, Chip Councell, family and employees with medallions on Wednesday, Oct. 9.
This family farm is run by the 11th generation of the Councell family who have been farming in the Talbot County since 1690. The farmers market, creamery and “field of fun” provide an influx of agritourism business for the region.
Also in attendance were U.S. Rep Andy Harris, R-Md-1st, Del. Johnny Mautz, R-37B-Talbot, and Sen. Addie Eckardt, R-37-Mid-Shore.
Franchot said the innovative business the Councell’s own, such as 18 acres of pumpkins, is a pleasure for him to see as a comptroller.
“Businesses like this are the majority of the jobs and wages that we pay in Maryland,” Franchot said. “Agriculture is about 50,000 jobs in the state, and its a major component of the states success. We are the richest state in the country, according to the Wall Street Journal with average combined family income of $80,760 so that is pretty unbelievable that the state is as wealthy as it is. We have such a successful and prosperous agricultural community.”
Chip Councell is the 10th generation of Councell farmers and his son, Jason, is the 11th generation.
Chip and JoAnn Councell established the farm, then called Rainbow Farms, soon after they were married in May 1981.The name was chosen because they hoped to find their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. JoAnn said the “Pot of Gold” has turned out to be all the friendships they have developed with their customers and employees.
The name of the produce market was changed in 2004 to Councell Farms to better reflect the family-operated business. The summer market opens when the first local sweet corn is ready.
“For us, If you look around, farmers in general are fairly diversified and this is one of our diversifications to help us serve some of the leaner years in the grain farming,” Chip Councell said. “So we are grain farmers primarily, and then we have this operation as well, just a means of diversification.”
In 2008, the Councells expanded by adding the Field of Fun. In an effort to educate the community about agriculture, Jo Ann Councell conducts tours for about 2,500 school children each September and October from Talbot, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Dorchester, Caroline and Anne Arundel counties.
The Creamery at Councell Farms, opened in 2016, where they serve hand dipped farm fresh ice cream. Councell Farms also lives to give the farm experience back to the community.
“We like to give back to the community, including to Channel Marker, St. Vincent De Paul, Benedictine School,” Jo Ann Councell said. “We welcome them here all the time at no charge to enjoy the farm, and they can take a pumpkin with them.”
With the success of Councell Farms, Chip and Jo Ann said they are currently in a comfortable place right now, and that the opportunity is open and available if their kids want to continue the family legacy of Councell Farms
“Our children work with us today. We got five grandchildren, and we are trying to hurry up and raise the grandchildren,” said Chip. “The opportunity will hopefully be here if they desire. Obviously we can’t do it forever; but we are at a comfortable place right now. We appreciate that the community has supported us and we appreciate them.”
Also with success comes loyalty from employees who have worked at Councell farms since their teens, and are now in their 20s.
“Our bosses Chip and Jo Ann are definitely the best people to work for. They are just like family,” Councell Farms Employee Emily Mosley said. “They take care of us, buy us lunch and they take good care of us.”
Councell Farms is opened late June through Halloween from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.councellfarms.com.