I caught up with Mike Tabor, owner of Licking Creek Bend Farm in Needmore, PA, whose been in the business for 40 years and calls the Adams Morgan farmers market a “farm for food activists”. He sells his produce at the Anacostia Market too but that’s led by the community on Saturdays.
How many acres is your farm? 60 acres, but we don’t use all of it for farming. We grow from field to field.
What do you like most about farming? The philosophy that food should be available to all income levels. Just look at these heirloom beefsteaks! They are priced $2.69/lb. Can’t beat that price! I also was in teaching and in government and I started in 1972. And the saying goes, “you’re your own worst boss”. We do 12 hour days, 8 months out of the year, 6 days a week. I’ve been up since 430am this morning!
What do you dislike the most about farming? Some new regulations that are tightening up the way we do things. FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) is being more strict on preparing food.
Is your farm organic? Yes, it’s certified by naturally grown standard and how the workers are treated.
What are you growing? Apricots, “unusual fruits,” plums, blackberries, carrots. We are growing many vegetables and only peaches and apples are grown directly on our farm. We partner with a many generation family-run IPM orchard for other fruit.
Where can we find you? On Saturdays we are at the farmer’s market at Adams Morgan. We’ve been the first farm market in Washington, DC in 1973. It used to be just a dirt parking lot. About 5 farmers were here and then it became legal. This is the last “gray market” in the city where it’s not run by an incorporated management, and we supervised in that we comply with all DC regulations and have all the proper licenses, permits, etc.
We also have a CSA program, it’s $35/week early bird and $37.50/week otherwise. We provide a CSA plus extra veggies to the two Avodah houses (similar to Americorp), and they pay only $2/person. And we also got people to donate their change to help set up a youth center. We also donate to a gleaning group at the end of each market who collect food for food kitchens, pantries, etc.