purchase limit updates

Elissa planting various indeterminate cherry tomatoes in the garden on May 18.

Just wanted to provide an update on our purchase limit situation:

chicken eggs:1 dozen max
duck eggs:1 dozen max
6oz bag salad mix: 2 bags max
microgreens:no limit

Chicken eggs have been consistently selling out about a week in advance. For example, we sold out of chicken eggs for May 23 back on May 16. (We are currently taking orders for May 30.) We typically sell out of duck eggs a day or two before the market. For the bagged salad mix, we’ve been steadily increasing our supply from the garden, so we think we can handle some additional orders there. And for microgreens, feel free to order however much you want. If demand for microgreens really shoots up, we can react to that and have more ready for sale in another week or two.

Still no official news (at least that we’ve heard) on whether / when the market will be shifting from the current pre-order-only scheme. That said, vendors (ourselves included) may have “extra” unsold product on hand at the market for any last-minute order add-ons, etc. We certainly appreciate all of the support during this period, but are also looking forward to resuming the normal market (however that might look) as soon as it would be safe to do so.

staying busy with spring plantings

200 cells of salad greens, ready for the garden

The Manassas farmer’s market is still in pre-order-only mode and we continue to go every week. Many thanks to all of the people who have ordered through us. A lot of repeat customers, as well, which is great. Meanwhile, we have a lot going on in the garden these days…

We’re holding steady, if not slightly increasing, the amount of salad mix that we have available each week. We’ve altered our harvesting strategy in an effort to try to get more product. Initially, our approach was to just harvest each plant whole, leaving nothing behind to regrow, and then plant a new batch of transplants in that same spot shortly thereafter. That approach maximized what we could get from that bed on the given week, but then it’d be another 3-5 weeks before we’d be able to get another harvest from the bed.

Our new approach is to harvest Dowding style, taking only the more mature outer leaves of each plant, leaving the inner actively-growing leaves undisturbed. We’re hoping this means that we could return to that bed a week or two later to get more product. So far, we think this is proving to be the case, but it’s still a bit early to know for sure. This method is a bit more labor intensive in terms of harvesting time (albeit lower planting frequency so maybe it’s a wash?), but hopefully means we can get more product to the market faster.

First batch of peanuts went from our grow rack to the garden on May 10, and we’ll be sowing a new batch in the grow room on the 15th. The plan is to do three batches in total so that we’ll ideally have peanuts available at the market from mid-August through mid-November.

Tomatoes were sown in the grow room on April 11 and will be going into the ground this coming weekend. We’re planning to put up a makeshift greenhouse to shelter these guys. Over a year ago, I bought a beat up, discounted “garage in a box” from Tractor Supply. It sat in storage for a long while, but we eventually dusted it off and built-out the frame. Our plan is to secure polyethylene plastic to it via wiggle wire and channel lock, and then plant the tomatoes underneath. We’ll see how that goes.

Still chugging away as usual with microgreens and eggs. Eggs continue to sell out every week (both duck and chicken, though chicken seems to be in higher demand). We’re grateful for all the community support in the face of current circumstances.

Salad mix available in limited quantities

Peanuts waking up!

So we debuted our salad mix last week and sold out in less than two days. It’s obviously nice for us that there seems to be demand for it, but we also don’t like turning folks away due to sell outs. It’s going to be a slow process, but we’re working on increasing our weekly salad mix output. Salad mix is something that we will ideally be able to do year-round, so we’re trying to play the long game here. Anyway, for those who bought salad mix last week, please let us know what you thought about it! Any feedback, good or bad, is welcome.

We WILL have salad mix for sale this week, but it will likely not be as much as we had last week. So, for that reason, we’re going to ask that any future salad mix orders be limited to one bag per order for the time being. Regarding our $5 for 1, $4 for 2+ pricing scheme where you mix and match with microgreens trays…. that will still be in effect. So a single bag of salad mix will be $5, but if you get a bag of salad mix and 1 or more microgreens trays, then the salad mix and microgreens will be $4 per item. Please let us know if you have any questions on that.

We’re sold out of chicken eggs for the May 2 market, but are taking advance orders for the May 9 market. We do have some duck eggs available for May 2, and plenty of microgreens.

Behind the scenes, we’re also investigating ways to better automate the order reservation process. It will almost certainly involve some sort of shopping cart scheme on our website, but a potential twist could be that you could either purchase your cart contents via PayPal / credit card (just like you would in any online store)… OR… you could “reserve” the contents of your order and pay later via Venmo or in-person at the market, etc. But, generally, having our products visible on our website with prices and availability for upcoming market dates… all of that, it seems, would make for a more streamlined, efficient experience for all involved. Anyway, these are all concepts / in the works at this point, but we’ll keep you posted with any news on that front.

Hang in there, everyone, and hope to see you Saturday!

Sold out of salad mix!

Sorry to anyone who may have been interested and not yet placed an order, but we are now sold out of the salad mix bags for this week. We do have more growing in the garden for next week. Meanwhile, for this week, we still have some duck eggs available as well as the following varieties of microgreens:

  • arugula
  • basic salad mix (not to be confused with the garden-harvested stuff)
  • basil
  • cilantro
  • kale
  • pea
  • radish
  • spicy salad mix

Thanks all!

We have salad mix for sale!

The lettuces…

We’re starting to get our first batches of salad greens from the garden! All 8 of the following greens will be combined into one big ol’ mix of veggie goodness:

  • 4 different lettuces:
    • green oak leaf
    • red oak leaf
    • red romaine
    • green Batavian
  • red Russian kale
  • mustard
  • rainbow Swiss Chard
  • arugula
A representative sample of what you’d get from our salad mix bag.

We’re going to offer this mix for sale at the Manassas Farmer’s Market in a 6 ounce bag. The market is still pre-order only, so please contact us if you’d like to arrange an order. Pricing will be similar to what we do for microgreens: $5 for a single bag or $4 per bag for two or more bags. And you can mix and match the salad mix bags with microgreens as desired (for example, a bag of salad mix and a 5×5 microgreens tray would cost $8 total). And, as always, we have plenty of microgreens this week, as well!

Meanwhile, we’re completely sold out of chicken eggs this week. There has been a massive increase in egg demand over the past month or so. We used to have a healthy reserve of eggs to rely on, but we’re at the point now where we’re essentially taking orders for eggs that haven’t even been laid yet! If you’d like chicken eggs, all we can really do at the moment is place an order for you for the following week (ie May 2 market). We do still have some duck eggs available this week.

We’ve sown batches of cherry tomatoes and peanuts inside and will be planting them out in the garden next month… hopefully some good stuff to come over the summer. Looking forward to eventually resuming the traditional farmer’s market setup with tents and sampling and lots of people browsing around… maybe in a month or two or three? We haven’t heard anything on that front, but we’ll let you know if we do. Stay healthy, everyone!

limiting egg orders

The demand for eggs has gone way way up over the past few weeks. Our duck egg backlog more or less disappeared last week, and our chicken egg supply is almost at that point. It seems people are stocking up on the more staple products these days. These certainly aren’t the best of times, but we’re grateful for all of the local support recently.

We’ve decided to put purchase limits in place for our chicken eggs and duck eggs to hopefully better spread out availability. For the time being, we’re going to limit chicken egg purchases to no more than 1 dozen and duck egg purchases to no more than a 1/2 dozen. We’re hoping that this will reduce the number of times we have to tell people we don’t have any eggs for them in the near term. Once our supply has recovered a bit and/or demand has calmed down, we’ll likely remove the purchase limits… we’ll post another update at that time. Our egg prices have been unchanged since we started selling at the farmer’s market in June last year, and no plans to change them anytime soon: $3 per half dozen for chicken eggs and $4 per half dozen for duck eggs.

We want to give a big thank you to all of our customers, and hope everyone is staying safe and healthy!

pandemic farmer’s market

Just look at all that hustle and bustle…

The first “drive by” farmer’s market went off without a hitch (at least for us) this past Saturday. We setup our green tables and put the orders out in grocery bags… customers came, grabbed their stuff, and went on their way. The market opened for pickup at 10am and we had all our orders gone by noon-ish.

There was some occasional confusion amongst the customers as to which vendor was which, as not many of us had signage. We’re planning to bring our sign this next time, to do our part to alleviate that. And also a few people who hadn’t pre-ordered from anyone and just wanted to browse around… they were, as kindly as possible, turned away by the market managers. There’s definitely a different vibe to this market, but not sure much can be done about that. It’s nice that we’re all at least making a go of it.

Not sure yet which vendors might be showing up on the 11th. We already have a handful of orders, so we’ll definitely be there. We had heard about the possibility of needing to sub-divide that 10am – 1pm time window into multiple shifts IF too many vendors needed to attend (point being to avoid excessive people density). But, again, no idea which vendors will be coming this next time, and so far, the official plan is that all vendors will be there from 10am – 1pm.

Anyway, we’ve seen a lot of chicken egg sales these past few weeks. Significantly higher than any other period. We still have an inventory of chicken eggs, but may need to start limiting purchase quantities maybe next week or so. We’ll see how things go. For now, please keep the orders coming! And we have some duck eggs back in stock, as well. We’re also reorienting our microgreens grow schedule to align with these Saturday markets. So now, all of our microgreens will (ideally) hit peak maturity on Saturdays.

Hope all are well. Seems like we’re slowly but surely getting through this thing.

drive by market location change!

We got word just hours ago that the market managers will need to move the location of the “drive by” farmer’s market. The new location will be our usual Saturday farmer’s market location… ie in the commuter parking lot across the street from Baldwin Elementary School. Timeframe is still Saturday from 10am – 1pm. We’re crossing our fingers that there will be no further changes in plans, but… well maybe we’ll just hope for the best.

Many thanks to all the folks who have already placed orders with us for pickup at this market! For anyone else, we still have plenty of chicken eggs and I think still a few microgreens trays, so feel free to contact us and we can get into details. Regardless, best of health to everyone and enjoy the upcoming weekend!

“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.