Hereford Farm Market is win-win opportunity

Customers buy locally grown products, food banks benefit

May 13, 2014|By Pat van den Beemt | By Pat van den Beemt

The buy local movement is growing roots in North County as the Hereford Farm Market is back for its second year.

The market, at the intersection of York and Mt. Carmel roads, opened May 10 and will run every Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon through the Oct. 25.

It features local farmers selling fruits, vegetables, eggs, herbs, honey, chicken, lamb, pork and turkey, as well as homemade bread, chocolate and olive oil. Shoppers can also buy vegetables, herbs, perennials and shrubs to plant themselves.

"Last year exceeded our expectations," said Karen Cohn, who organized the market with her husband, Stan, on property they own in Hereford. "The vendors aren't getting rich, but they're living rich lives. They're also helping the lives of people in need."

She said vendors pay $10 or $15 for space each week. That money is donated to the Hereford Food Bank and the North Cluster Food Bank. And food bank volunteers arrive at the end of each market day to collect any unsold food the vendors are willing to donate.

Karen Cohn believes in a saying she posted on the Hereford Farm Market Facebook page: "You can't buy happiness but you can buy local and that's kind of the same thing."

This year's market features seven farms that will sell goods each week and others that will come on occasional basis. The regulars are Side by Side Farm, Freeland; Siwik Produce, Felton, Pa.; Oak Spring Farm, Freeland; The Contented Rooster Farm, Parkton, Ferguson Family Farm, Parkton; Manor Produce, Monkton; and Greene's Lamb, White Hall. Mullan Nursery in White Hall is also a regular.

"The farm market is in a great location and it's as much a gathering place as a marketplace," said Deborah Maude, who owns Side By Side Farm in Freeland with her partner, Jean Malotte. "Each vendor has something unique they grow or make."

Side By Side Farm is known for its Asian greens, four varieties of ginger and three types of turmeric, in addition to lettuces, beets, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, squash, potatoes and peppers. The 30-acre farm has about four acres in cultivation, plus fruit trees and several hoop houses that use passive solar energy.

One hoop house is filled with spinach that was planted this fall and ready for harvesting in early May. Another one has rows and rows of Napa cabbage, bok choy, kale, baby and red romaine lettuce, cucumbers and hakurei turnips.

Malotte, who retired from the White Hall post office to farm full time, said she'll soon be planting 700 tomatoes of 15 varieties. She and Maude have already planted five 150-foot rows of asparagus and three 250-foot rows of carrots.

They sell produce to Woodberry Kitchen, among other restaurants. They also offer a CSA (community-supported agriculture) in which people pay for weekly shares of produce and commit to volunteer with the planting and harvesting.

"Working on a farm is therapy," Maude said. "To me, it's necessary to have a relationship with the earth."

As Hereford Farm Market manager this year, Maude met with farm vendors this winter to finalize plans and continues to look for musicians to entertain the shoppers and crafters to sell their products on a part-time basis.

One new feature at the market this year is the Contented Rooster Coffee Coop. While her husband, Mark, sells vegetables, pork, turkey, chicken, ducks and eggs, Lisa Gregory will sell her homemade pastries and coffee.

She worked for Atwater's for 15 years, where she baked pastries and bread. Her Farm Market goodies will be baked using fresh eggs and herbs from her family's farm. She even makes her own sugar cane syrup. There are no additives or preservatives in her baked goods.

The Cohns are adding tables and chairs by the Coffee Coop to encourage folks to stay a while and have the chance to talk to their neighbors.

"This is what it's all about – knowing where your food comes from and being able to talk with the person growing it," Karen Cohn said. "This is the true meaning of a community farm market."

The Hereford Farm Market is at 17004 York Road, Hereford. For information on specific farms, go to each vendor's website, or go to Hereford Farm Market Facebook page.

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