Our Farm Director, Maureen, goes to great lengths to raise top quality produce without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilizers. She has also designed her farm plan so that all of our crops are successionally planted, ensuring that there are fresh vegetables ready for harvest all throughout the market season. As a result, one can find a wide range of Arcadian-grown produce at any of our eight weekly Mobile Market stops.
With a month and a half of operations under its belt, the Mobile Market has already made concrete progress towards realizing its mission of increasing access to healthy, affordable food in low-income, "food desert" neighborhoods -- market participation is on the rise and food assistance recipients are happily using their benefits to purchase farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, and sustainably-produced dairy, eggs and meat. It's truly a pleasure to see our produce go home with market goers who couldn't otherwise access locally-grown foods.
In addition to working towards a more equitable food system in the National Capital Region, our Mobile Market provides an alternative outlet for local, sustainable farms. As such, Arcadia works with a number of partner producers who share our farming philosophy. We are proud to supplement our offerings with their farm-fresh products, and would like to highlight their operations:
One such producer is Whipple Farm. Located in the Piedmont region of Virginia, this 160 acre farm uses biodynamic farming practices -- among other things, this type of farming follows a lunar calendar and uses herbal sprays to naturally strengthen the pest- and disease-resistance of plants. Whipple also specializes in growing heirloom varieties, helping to preserve the genetic biodiversity of our food stock, while putting out some seriously delicious veggies not found in the conventional food system.
Another partner farm - and the source of some of our best fruit - is Kilmer’s Orchard. Hailing from Inwood, West Virginia (about 75 miles from D.C.), this family farm means business when it comes to growing fruit. Derek is strictly no-spray on his berries and implements Integrated Pest Management on his stone fruits. He is also a frequent source for fresh, local produce for a number of D.C. schools, through which we originally connected with Derek.
Not all our partners are from further afield, however -- one of our closest partners grows on land within the District. Common Good City Farm, a nonprofit organization located in LeDroit Park (where the Mobile Market makes a weekly stop), aims to “grow food, educate, and help low-income DC community members meet their food needs” through its various programs, while creating a “replicable model of a community-based urban food system.” It’s open to the public, and a lion's share of Common Good's produce goes straight to the community and local food banks. They, too, exclusively follow environmentally sustainable practices.
For our pork and chicken, we work with the Haskins Family Farm in Middletown, Virginia, just 80 miles from D.C. near the Blue Ridge Mountains. This 14-acre family farm humanely raises free-range poultry and pork on fresh, green pastures, where they get plenty of sun, space to roam, and get a natural diet of grass and bugs. Because of this, the Haskins don't need to use antibiotics or growth-accelerating hormones with their livestock.
We work with Mt. Airy Farm via White House Meats for delicious, dry-aged ground beef. This is a USDA-Certified, Organic Black Angus farm in Upperville, Virginia, where they have 1,000 acres of pasture to graze on. Like our chicken and pork, no hormones or non-therapeutic antibiotics are used in the beef we receive. We love working with Jon and Seth of White House Meats, who help to make this otherwise high-end product available for our low-income market participants.
While we have our own small flock of chickens at Arcadia Farm, we go to Helen’s Hens to meet our growing demand for heritage, brown eggs. These hens are also raised on pasture, moving from spot to spot behind grazing cows in their mobile chicken coops. This allows them to pick at all the tasty bugs left in the cow’s path, while also helping to return nutrients to the pasture. Their diet results in nutrient-dense eggs with a rich, orange yolk that puts conventional egg to shame.
Lastly, for our selection of milk products, we collaborate with Moo Thru for its prize-winning, grass-fed Holstein herd which grazes on a farm along the banks of the Rappahannock River. Whatever milk doesn’t get turned into ice cream at this Remington, Virginia creamery is made available to the Mobile Market as Cream-Top Whole, Skim, and Chocolate, served in half-gallon glass bottles.