Celebration being held in honor of book on county's agricultural past


THE PUBLICATION of a new book on Anne Arundel County's agricultural past, William R. Mumford's "Strawberries, Peas and Beans - Truck Farming in Anne Arundel County," will be celebrated Sept. 24 at Benson Hammond House.

Mumford, a past president of the Ann Arrundell County Historical Society and current chairman of the Anne Arundel County Trust for Preservation, will sign copies of the book from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Truck farming - a method of harvesting produce using mostly immigrant labor, and trucking it to market in the city - characterized northern Anne Arundel from the 1860s until the 1940s. Truck farming declined with the advent of refrigerated vehicles and trains that could get fresh produce from the south to market before the local crops were harvested.

"Strawberries, Peas and Beans" tells of the hard lives of the farmers and how they depended on the immigrant pickers from Baltimore. More than 10,000 pickers migrated to Anne Arundel farms during the summer months to work. The book describes a strawberry culture and elaborates on the reputation of Anne Arundel produce.

The book also includes the most complete inventory of pickers' checks ever compiled, listing more than 400 farmers and 1,500 varieties of tokens. Pickers' checks are coin-like objects given to the workers to keep track of the number of bushels they picked.

Mumford researched Anne Arundel truck farming for more than 30 years before compiling the book. Contributions from farmers, pickers and their relatives bring to life a culture that is a significant part of Anne Arundel's heritage.

The book will go on sale for the first time at the signing. Benson Hammond House, at Aviation Boulevard and Andover Road, is the headquarters of the historical society. Admission to the event is free.

Information: Mark Schatz, 410-760-5206.

PAAL concerts begin

The Performing Arts Association of Linthicum kicks off its 2000-2001 concert season with a performance by pops pianist Mac Frampton at 8 p.m. Sept. 30 in the auditorium of North County High School, 10 E. First Ave. in Ferndale.

Frampton brings a unique style of music to his concerts, based on classical technique but drawing liberally from jazz and rock. With a backup group, he has given more than 2,500 concerts and appeared as a guest soloist with orchestras around the country. He has also recorded 18 albums and a motion picture soundtrack.

This is a return engagement for Frampton, who performed in a PAAL concert in 1996.

"At his last appearance, Frampton asked the audience to name some of their favorite tunes. He took the list, set it on the piano and proceeded to play the requests, weaving them all together beautifully. It turned out to be a wonderful medley of songs. It was a great concert," said Jo Barker, president of PAAL.

The Performing Arts Association of Linthicum brings quality concerts to the community for a reasonable price - a season ticket costs $28 for five concerts. There are two other "bonus" concerts incorporated into the series, but staged free and open to the public - both by United States military bands.

For more information or to become a subscriber, call 410-859-3308 or 410-859-1082.

Local Democrats to meet

The District 32 Democratic Club will hold its monthly meeting Thursday evening at the Ferndale-Linthicum Senior Center, with Delegates Mary Ann Love of the local district and Bennett Bozman of the Eastern Shore - and Democratic nominee for the 1st District congressional seat - as speakers.

Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. for $4. The meeting begins at 8 p.m. Guests are welcome.

The club meets on the third Thursday of each month, and has annual dues of $10. Information: Len Beidle, president, 410-859-0796, or Evelyn Kellner, vice president, 410-672-6850.

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