“drive by farmer’s market” beginning 4/4

The birds are currently in pen #2 of 3 until weekend of April 11. Then they’ll move to pen #3 (on the left).

The Manassas Farmer’s Market managers have announced a “Drive By Farmer’s Market”. We’re still trying to learn all the specifics, but here’s our understanding:

The location for this market will be the Manassas train station parking lot. First market will be this coming Saturday (April 4) from 10am – 1pm. The concept is that customers are to contact vendors in advance and pre-order what they would like. Then, vendors show up the following Saturday with all of the pre-orders and distribute to customers during that 10am – 1pm time window. Customers are welcome to pay vendors electronically at time of order OR upon pickup at the market.

Pennington Market Farm plans to participate in this drive by market. At the moment, we have plenty of chicken eggs, some duck eggs, and 2-3 trays of each of the following microgreens:

  • arugula
  • basic salad mix
  • basil
  • kale
  • pea
  • radish
  • spicy salad mix

For payment, we are planning to accept cash, check, SNAP tokens, credit card via chip, swipe, or manual number entry, or Venmo. Our top preference would be Venmo (an app similar to PayPal) as it can be done without in-person interaction, doesn’t require sharing a potentially sensitive number with us, and also involves no 3rd party fees. My username on Venmo is @DerekPennington, so you would just send the payment to that username. Anyway, this is our current plan for payment methods, but is subject to change with everything going on these days. We’ll let you know if we change anything there.

Anyway, please let us know if you’d like any eggs and/or microgreens for pickup at the drive by market this Saturday. And meanwhile, we’re still offering delivery to your address or pickup from our front porch for any of the above at anytime, as well. Please email us at farmer@pennmarketfarm.com or call 703-392-4810 to discuss your order.

Thanks and hope you all stay healthy!

update: market closed until May 2

So now they’re saying the Manassas Farmer’s Market will be closed until May 2 (for Saturday) and May 7 (for Thursday). I mean, it is what it is.

We were originally going to just shutdown microgreens production for a few weeks, but we’ve actually had a decent week sales-wise with deliveries and front-porch pickups… so we’re going to begin a rotation of a handful of varieties and just start a couple 5×5 trays per day. Current plan is the following:

  • pea
  • radish
  • arugula
  • kale
  • basic salad mix
  • spicy salad mix

Our duck egg supply is fairly low (maybe 5-10 eggs total in our inventory?), but we still have a good supply of chicken eggs, so let us know if you’re interested!

We’ve been gradually ramping up our salad mix production in the garden. Haven’t harvested anything yet, but hopefully we’ll start doing that in the next several weeks. This salad mix thing is all new for us, so there’s going to be some trial and error with quantities and growing practices and everything else. So hopefully we’ll actually have something decent for that first market in May. We’ll keep you posted.

delivery and/or front porch pickup

We’ve been hearing all kinds of reports about stores being stripped clean, etc. Meanwhile, we have these birds that keep on laying eggs and we have no farmer’s market where we can offload them. (And we also have a batch of microgreens that we were growing for the 3/21 market, which has been cancelled.)

Anyway, if you’d like eggs or microgreens, we wanted to offer a couple options. For an order of, say, $10 or more, we could deliver to your door. Alternatively, if you’d be willing to make the drive to our home in Nokesville, we could leave your order out on the front porch for you to pickup (no minimum $ for that). If either option sounds interesting, please contact us and we can work out the arrangements. For the front porch pickup option, we have a mini-fridge on the porch for eggs, and could just leave microgreens out in a bag. Cash payments could be left in the fridge. Please see our products page for details on what we have, prices, and so forth.

Anyway, so a couple ideas we wanted to throw on the table. Hope everyone is hanging in there and staying healthy! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Saturday farmer’s market cancelled until 4/18

We got word last night that, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the managers for the Manassas farmer’s market will be cancelling all markets for the next 30 days. This means no farmer’s markets from now until April 16 (for Thursday market) and April 18 (for Saturday market). It’s unfortunate, but understandable. We want to wish everyone well until we meet again in April (and beyond, of course!)

FAQ question #3 of ?

Ye Olde Growe Room… e

March is here! Almost daylight savings time! The winter market is beginning to wane and the main season market is starting to appear on the horizon. The official schedule, as we understand it, is that the last winter market (9am – 1pm time slot) will be Saturday, March 28 and the first main season market (8am – 1pm time slot) will be Saturday, April 4. (Not sure about the Thursday market schedule.)

We’ll be at the market again this Saturday, so come out and see us if you can. Weather is looking pretty good. And now for another FAQ entry…

Is your farm organic?

If you’re a fan of the US Department of Agriculture, they state that “only certified operations can sell, label or represent products as organic, unless exempt or excluded from certification” (link). So “organic” is a word that farmers *should* be careful about using in advertising. Pennington Market Farm has not been certified as organic by the USDA, and we have not tried to claim our farm or any of our products as being organic. Some vendors at some farmers markets may have labeling or otherwise claim “organic” for their farm or products… we recommend that the diligent consumer doublecheck said farm(s) on the USDA Organic Integrity Database (link).

We’ve certainly given thought to getting certified as organic, at least with our microgreens. Many of our seeds are certified organic and we use certified organic soil. It would likely simply be a matter of doing the paperwork and paying the various fees.

Certifying our eggs, on the other hand, would be a harder process. To our understanding, for poultry/eggs to be certified, the farmer would need to prove/show that the birds have eaten only certified organic feed since birth (I would imagine natural, approved pasture would be fine, as well). In our case, though we do provide plenty of pasture for forage, we supplement our birds’ diets with feed that is not certified organic. Even if we were to begin using organic feed today, we wouldn’t be able to certify the eggs until all of our currently-laying hens were replaced with hens which had eaten organic feed since birth. So that presents a non-trivial hurdle.

Generally, we have considered aiming for some form of certification, whether USDA organic or GAP or Certified Naturally Grown, etc. It would seem that having third party certification of some kind could only be a good thing. But we’re still relatively new to this whole farming endeavor, and we want to get a little further down the road before we attempt something like that. As always, we shall see how it goes.