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 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.

FAQ question #2 of ?

After last week’s market cancellation, we’re itching to get back at it this coming Saturday. Weather forecast says sunny, high of 53, so should be a good day for it. We’ll have plenty of duck eggs, chicken eggs, and microgreens. Hope to see you!

Next question for our evolving FAQ list…

Will the microgreens regrow?

Aside from one exception (peas), none of our microgreens will regrow after harvest. Per our basic horticultural understanding, with any plant, the seed provides the bulk of the resources needed in early growth before photosynthesis eventually takes over. And there are essentially two distinct forms of seed germination: epigeal and hypogeal.

In epigeal germination, the seed rises above ground as the plant grows upward. Thus, when you harvest a young plant which grows in this manner, the unharvested remainder has no energy reserves from which to draw on and, thus, dies. We believe that all of our microgreens varieties aside from peas are epigeal germinators.

With hypogeal germination, the seed remains on the ground (though “hypo” implies that the seed is actually underground) and doesn’t move upward as the plant grows. And you can readily see this with our pea trays. Thus, when you harvest a tray of peas, there are still energy reserves in the seed from which the unharvested portion can draw on and resume growth. However, because the second round of growth is starting from partially depleted resources, the results will likely not be as good as the first… the shoots might look scragglier or thinner, and some of the shoots may not have sufficient reserves to grow at all. So your overall harvest weight from a second (or third) cutting will likely be less than what you’d get on the first cut.

Market closed tomorrow

Saw a Facebook post from the market managers last night… They’re going to cancel tomorrow’s (Feb 15) Manassas farmer’s market due to the forecasted low temperatures.

Like usual, we grow microgreens every week and we have a big backlog of chicken eggs and duck eggs, so if you’d be willing to make the drive to our house in Nokesville, we can hook you up with our typical farmer’s market fare. Just send us an email at and we can make arrangements.

Anyway, at least it isn’t raining(?) Hope to see everyone at the market on the 22nd!

FAQ question #1 of ?

All setup and ready to go! From this past Saturday’s market.

The year is off to a good start so far. Market activity is admittedly quite a bit lower this time of year with far fewer vendors and far fewer customers. But we’re hanging in there, and we’re still getting great feedback and support from the new and returning customers who do make it out, so that’s awesome. We’ll be there again this Saturday, February 8 from 9am – 1pm, so hope you can come out and see us!

Wanted to try a little something with the blog. We get asked questions at the market, sometimes the same question multiple times in a day. So we’re going to try addressing some of these questions in blog posts going forward and maybe eventually build a separate FAQ page, etc. Anyway, so here’s the first one…

What do I do with microgreens? Can I grow them in my garden?

At a basic level, you could obviously do anything you want with the microgreens you buy from us. But the “intended purpose” would be so that you could eat / serve them as food. They are often used in salads or as a garnish for soups or meat. Potentially a lettuce replacement in a sandwich, etc. When you buy a live 5″x5″ tray from us, the general idea would be to keep the plants alive and healthy for the following week or so, and cut (harvest) from the tray as needed. Any harvested portion could be used immediately or stored in the refrigerator for an additional week beyond that.

You don’t really want to grow the plants much larger than they are at the time of sale, mainly because they are seeded quite densely and the individual plants would begin competing with each other for resources (soil nutrients, water, light)… it could get unruly in there. So planting a tray directly into a garden isn’t recommended. We would offer that you keep the tray indoors and in a room with some amount of ambient light. And water perhaps once a day to keep the plants alive and healthy. Our particular trays have slits in the bottom, which means you can water from underneath rather than overhead (helps avoid mold issues, etc). Just put the tray on a plate or some larger vessel and water into that, and the plants will suck the water up through the slits in the tray.