Smiths Farm is a 32 acre farm that has been owned by our family for 56 years in 2012. We value the history of our farm and buildings that represent the Pennsylvania Dutch farming heritage of York County in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Inside our barn in the past, we housed cattle and pigs purchased from local farmers for processing for Spurgeon Smith and Sons Meat Market. Our father, Richard Smith and our mother Joan were part of this family business with our paternal grandfather and uncle for over 50 years. In the 1970s, USDA inspections made it increasingly difficult for our father to buy and slaughter local cattle for the meat market. As a result of this pressure for improvements that were not financially or personally feasible, our father began to buy meat from the large scale industrial market. The meat store closed in the early 1990s a few years after our father had retired. Although our family did not farm our land, we had close ties to the local farming community via the family business, and in addition, for decades we leased our land to a small scale dairy farmer who had a farm adjacent to our property.
As a family, we (Linda, Steve, and Berty Smith) have made a commitment to keep the farm and are in the process of protecting the land so that it cannot be developed now or in the future. We believe that the maintenance and restoration of a local food economy is important for a healthy environment and people, and a sustainable approach to using the limited resources of the Earth.
A local, organic crop farmer has transitioned our fields to organic production. Ted and Pete Fake grow spelt, barley, and soy beans on about 26 of our acres. We are pleased to have an organic crop farmer on our land since 2006, and have seen the soils improve considerably after decades of conventional methods. In addition, in 2006, we consulted with a rep from the NRCS (National Resource Conservation Service) and we put new strip contour borders in our fields that follow the elevation changes on the property and thus reduce erosion. Prior to this we had only a few large contour boundaries that did not correctly follow the changes in the landscape. These new contour strips in combination with crop rotation and green manure continue to enhance the health of the biota in our soils and support greater biodiversity on our farm.
Produce Business In the summer of 2009, our family started a small-scale, produce business with a focus on heirloom varieties and a diversity of edible vegetables. We use only organic methods without the use of any synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. We make and buy organically made compost to add to our approximately two acres of vegetable production. To reduce erosion and add to soil fertility, we plant green manures such as barley and buckwheat and turn these into our soils before we begin the next planting of vegetables.
In 2009 through 2011 we sold produce at three farmers markets in Towson, MD, Hershey, PA, and Marietta, PA. We also sell produce to Sonnewalds, a local health food store. We decided to change the direction of our farm sales and have opened a stand to sell directly from our farm in mid-summer 2012. We will miss our customers at the farmers markets, but have found that the schedule of the markets conflicts with our other jobs.
We specialize in garlic, heirloom tomatoes, hot and mild peppers, potatoes, eggplant, and greens and also sell a diverse assortment of other vegetables, flowers, and herbs. In 2010, we added fruit trees and in 2011, we added raspberries and asparagus to our long term plantings.
For the growing seasons of 2010 and 2011, we were registered with Certified Naturally Grown, and we are now in the process of joining the USDA Program for Organic Certification. From 2009, we have used only methods approved by USDA organic regulations. Pest control and weed management are especially difficult on organic farms, and we continue to learn and experiment with new techniques for control. Conservation and Research Two other areas of interest on our farm are the restoration of native plants, and research with organic farming methods. In 2008, we planted a 15 foot wide strip of native grasses and wildflowers between a tree corridor and crop fields. We have planted a variety of native wildflowers in two beds that are part of our vegetable plot, and put native red cedar, white and scrub pines, sumac and other wild flowers on the property.
In 2010, an intern Jason Cesta studied the effects of native flowers on attracting pollinators that can also pollinate our vegetables. In 2009, Ryan Hart examined how under-sowing broccoli with clover influenced yield.
Internships We offer internships that include a stipend, housing, and staple foods and vegetables. Interns have the opportunity to help with all aspects of vegetable production and selling. Interns can also gain experience on the design, implementation, and analysis of experiments concerning sustainable agriculture.
Buy freshly-picked produce grown with only organic methods at our farm stand. We use sustainable farming methods to provide our local community with nutritious foods. On our family farm, we are planting native plants that improve our local environment and provide food and shelter for wildlife especially pollinators. During the summer, we are open Monday - Saturday from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Feel free to contact us for more information or special requests. We look forward to meeting you.
Smith's Farm Stand
1140 Felton Road
Red Lion, PA 17356
Mon - Sat 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM
We wholesale garlic and are developing our sales now.
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