In late 2016, Benny and Courtney Pino started a quest to move their farm operation, Loblolly Farm, closer to the markets of the Washington D.C. region. They opened a map and narrowed their search to any suitable farm site within a few hours of Washington D.C.
From their home in Southern Florida, they pulled up Google on their laptop, where FarmLINK websites from across the country popped-up. In the Washington D.C. region, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland all had FarmLINK websites which Benny and Courtney started perusing. They were looking for both land to buy or lease, and needed housing on the land they would be farming. The couple farms field crops, including produce and cut flowers, so they also knew they needed a certain number of tillable, flat acres, along with access to a deep well. Once on Maryland FarmLINK’s Property Exchange, they immediately found a few properties they were interested in.
As it turns out, the property they currently reside in and farm on in Brandywine, Maryland, was the first property listing to come up. “The farm listed that there was access to water, a barn with electricity, the number of tillable acres, and a house on the property. Listing all of the farms amenities up front, with pictures, helped us to make the decision from far away,” said Courtney. “The landowners responded right away and we went back and forth for a while, discussing the lease agreement,” said Courtney.
“We kept in contact with the landowners, writing every few weeks to check to see if the property was still available and when we would be able to move in,” said Courtney.
Benny and Courtney had plans to come up to the D.C. area that winter already, so they continued to research from afar and narrowed their online search to two farms, where they made appointments to stop at a farm in Virginia and then the Brandywine, MD farm. After touring the Brandywine farm, they knew it was the best fit.
Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission