Local Farms Make Charles County A Great Place For Fresh Produce and Food Processing

Posted by: Economic Development Team on Wednesday, May 25, 2022

With strawberry season at its peak and our farmers markets starting up again, it’s becoming even easier to buy fresh produce straight from the source. Here, and even nationally, demand for fresh food and local value-added food products is on the rise. Home to 385 farms and a dynamic workforce in supporting industries, Charles County’s farm to fork culture also creates an ideal location for food processing operations.


Harvesting a Healthy Agricultural Economy

Boasting over 41,000 acres of farmland, Charles County’s agricultural assets are many. An extended growing season, boosted by innovations in nutrient management and soil conservation, yields quality produce, livestock, dairy, and grains from small to mid-sized farms. The national Buy Local Movement has kept our local ag industry robust, with plentiful farmers markets, farm stores, and community supported agriculture (CSA) harvesting revenues. Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC) and University of Maryland Extension provide training, promotion, and support to boost profitability.


Aquaculture Heritage

With 300 miles of shoreline along the Potomac River, Patuxent River, and their tributaries, Charles County’s commitment to aquaculture is a legacy, with ecologists and producers partnering on conservation techniques to ensure a steady supply of oysters, blue crab, catfish, and striped bass. Partnerships with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation (MARBIDCO) keep waterways and access to capital strong.


A Prime Locale

Our location in the center of the Washington, D.C., Richmond, Baltimore corridor offers a mix of metropolitan and rural assets. We have approximately 1.9 million customers in easy reach. Within Charles County, U.S. Route 301 is an alternative to Interstate 95, and the new Nice Middleton Bridge connecting Maryland and Virginia across the Potomac River will double span capacity. Three major airports are within an hour’s drive. As the leading supplier of rail-based freight service in North America, CSX serves Charles County, running through Waldorf, St. Charles, White Plains, and La Plata. For enterprises seeking water-based transport, the Port of Baltimore, one of only two East Coast ports with a channel to accommodate container ships, sits 50 miles to the north.


DC Metro's Lowest Cost Commercial Real Estate

Lease rates are 40% lower than the rest of the Washington, D.C. metro area, with low real estate taxes and utility benefitting the bottom line. Flexible zoning and competitive incentives provide the pro-business environment sought by early-stage and established enterprises alike.


Talented Workforce

Charles County’s talent pipeline is strong with over a million well-educated workers within commuting distance. Tapping into that talent or upgrading skills of existing employees is as easy as reaching out to any of these local workforce resource providers.


Business Resources and Community Support

The Charles County Economic Development Department (EDD) is a front-line source of business support resources. Our services include site selection assistance, guidance on financing, access to workforce hiring and training, expedited permitting for qualified projects, and new and expanding business incentives.   The EDD also helps businesses connect with partners such as our local Chambers of Commerce, workforce board, and Small Business Development Center.  


Together, Charles County’s assets and ecosystem of support make us an ideal location for the Food Processing Industry. To learn more, visit our Food Processing and AgriBusiness pages.

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