"I've read about your Buyer's Club and I don't think it's for me. What I like are farmers markets!" No worries*, we've got ya covered (ok, so Baltimore and Philly... we've got nothing for ya, see Buyer's Club blog). You still with me? Cool - here is where Three Springs can be found in the Winter Time - in our normal, fresh-faced, standard display, standardized hours farmers market format that we've all come to enjoy so much!
Silver Spring Farmers Market - Saturdays 10-1pm
We'll be at our standard spot (as far as I know right now), between Copper Canyon Grill and FroZenYo on Ellsworth from January thru March before the "Year Round" Market begins again in April, at which time we'll show up an hour earlier again, 9-1pm. That's right, every Saturday morning in DC, we've got your apple/potato/value added goodness supplies covered
January 5th - March 30th, 10-1pm
Central Pennsylvania - Twice Each Month!
Both of our awesome Central PA markets have added monthly Winter Markets to their schedules and we're happy to be attending both! Sure, we wish they were spread out bi-weekly, but this is how the chips fell, folks! Farmers on the Square will tend market every third Saturday in the afternoon while Farmers on Walnut will tend every third Friday in the late afternoon/eveningtime. So! To clarify, Three Springs will tend market on the following dates in the following locations:
FOW/Camp Hill in the First Presbyterian Church:
Happy New Year, everybody!
During the last few weeks of your favorite farmers market, you may have heard about our Winter Buyers Club - a new venture aimed at keeping our awesome and worthy customers satisfied with delicious apples (and other stuff) during the cold winter months when we're not at market. Many of you signed up to get email notification of when these orders will be delivered in your home town (click here, choose option "BC - "Your City/area"). We wanted this info out sooner, but we needed to update our online store with more selections and safe, secure authorize.net credit card authentication! We've also partnered with other farmers so you can pick up multiple things in one stop! Those emails are going out at present, but here's what to expect:
PHILADELPHIA - Jan. 28th, 12:00 - 12:30, at Headhouse Shambles, 2nd & Lombard
Every fourth Saturday between the hours of 12:00 noon and 12:30, we'll be delivering your online orders. Plus, we'll be right beside our regular neighbors at Hillacres Pride, who will be taking your orders for all your favorite meats, cheeses, dairy products, and milk on their website! One stop shopping for a month's worth of farm-fresh, sustainably raised, high quality fruits, veggies, proteins, cheeses, raw milk, and eggs! For a discount on your first buyers club purchase, just complete our short survey and click "submit" at the end.
GREENBELT AND SILVERSPRING - Jan. 15th, 10:00am (Greenbelt - GFM parking lot nearest New Deal Cafe), 11:00am (Silver Spring - location TBD)
Every third Sunday through the offseason, we'll be delivering orders for Greenbelters to the GFM parking lot nearest to New Deal Cafe between 10:00am and 10:30am. We're partnering with Two Oceans True Food, Greenbelt Farmers Markets' sustainable seafood vendor who will bring your seafood orders during the same time. We'll make the quick trip over to Silver Spring afterwards and deliver to the fine folks of that community in the same trip at a location to be determined. For a discount on your first buyers club purchase, just complete our short survey and click "submit" at the end.
Towson And Baltimore
I'm still trying to piece this drop off together. Please complete this quick survey on your Buyer's Club preferences and you'll be hearing from us soon. Thanks!
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, don't forget to click to the end and click "submit" to finish the survey and submit your answers!
A few things coming up on us quickly that warrant a little attention:
First, I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to speak about one of my favorite subjects: apple cider. The Chemical Heritage Foundation, located at 315 Chestnut Street in Center City Philadelphia was kind enough to ask me to provide an informative presentation on the making of apple cider, it's history, origins, and everything else related to this celebrated beverage. The event runs between the hours of 5-8pm and is open and free to the public. Samples will be handed out featuring cider pressed that very morning so come by and learn how this stuff is made!
Secondly, we're very proud to contribute to this year's Farmland Feast Online Auction, benefitting FRESHFarm Markets. As many of you know, FRESHFarm maintains and operates farmers markets in the DC/MD area including two of the markets we attend. They also operate several other charitable programs benefitting both local agriculture and the communities we, as local producers, serve. In order to operate and maintain these programs, they depend on the charitable gifts of folks who are behind the local food movement and envision a better community in urban areas through local agriculture. If this sounds like you, we've provided a great way to contribute - a weekend travel package to nearby historic Gettysburg that includes a personalized, private tour of our farm, two nights accomodations at the Historic Gettysburg Hotel, and an evening of dinner and music provided by me, Farmer Ben, and his Garryowen Irish Pub jam night brethren. Bids for this experience can be made at this website and I'm putting my reputation as a farmer and performer on the line to assure you, you'll get your money's worth out of this weekend! Thanks for your support!
For we Orioles fans, game number 162 of a long 162 game season usually provides little more than a merciful end to another painful, disappointing campaign in the otherwise hollowed history of our once-proud favorite baseball franchise. And while I'd considered for several weeks not reprising last year's Orioles Apple Lineup given the contrast in the promise this squad provided in the spring compared to the crushing disappointment 2011 proved to be, I've thought better of it. After watching them completely change the fortunes of the 2011 playoff race (I'M LOOKING AT YOU, RED SOX!!!) in the American League in dramatic fashion, I've decided to go ahead with it, even if I'm only going to highlight the few players worthy of commendation for their efforts. It's still early in the apple season, afterall, and while this makes it hard to do an apple lineup for a team loaded with worthy stars such as the Phillies, having so few apples with which to draw comparisons is a bit of a blessing in the case of my much-maligned Orioles. So here we go! Keep the faith Orioles fans! Afterall, only the Cubs can have a bad century, our time will come!
- 'Honeycrisp' Apples - JJ Hardy, SS - I know Adam Jones won Most Valuable Oriole and I'm well aware that Weiters was our All Star representative. However, over the course of a long season, Hardy was our best player all the way around. Some could say it was his early season injury (along with Roberts) that led to that May swoon from which the O's never recovered. One of only three Oriole shortstops to hit 30 HR, I'm glad the O's have Hardy locked down for three more years. Honeycrisp will be around for another 100 years, but who's counting?
- Three Springs "Must Eat" Apple Cider - Buck Showalter, Manager - Buck is generally a little more tart than sweet. Maybe that's why I like him so much. I like my cider as I like my big league managers... no, that sounds like a lousy joke. Buck will be actively fermenting over what went wrong for the long offseason.
- 'Jonagold' - Mark Reynolds, 3B/1B - For the record, I'm going 1B with Reynolds, not 3B - too many errors. But aside from that, yes I'll hear your strikeouts argument, but his 37 HR is the most since Miguel Tejada. Additionally, he led the team with 86 RBIs. While he didn't offer much in the way of batting average or defense, he was more than adequate (in some cases better) in all other metrics as was Honeycrisp. He can't offer everything the Honeycrisp can, but he's right there in terms of producing a quality fruit.
- 'Gala'Apples - Adam Jones, CF - Adam Jones should win another Gold Glove this year. I think his defense in CF was better than the year he did win the award. And aside from his road splits, you couldn't have asked for much better a year out of Jones. He's still learning and he's likely to progress more next season, but in a team full of rotten apples, he was a consistent, go-to big league caliber ballplayer. Gala, too, are dependable when choosing a sweet treat for the lunchbox!
- 'Fuji'Apples - Matt Wieters, C - After this season, I can say I'd proudly wear a "Matt Wieters took batting practice this afternoon. There were no survivors" t-shirt. He should be a fixture behind the plate in Baltimore for a long time to come. He improved every part of his game from an up and down rookie campaign and emerged as a bit of a leader as well. In terms of our best apples, there's only room at the top for four - Honeycrisp, Gala, Jonagold, and Fuji are our best ones. I could think of no better player to round out the top four. If you only had to pick four apples to eat the rest of your life, I'm bettin' Fuji would be on there!
- 'Macintosh' Apples - Jim Johnson, RP - I don't think I approve with the notion of making a starter out of Johnson, no matter how desperate we are for a good one. I prefer to think "hey, we've got one pitcher in the whole organization who fills a role and does it almost flawlessly and with great consistency". In other words, in a pitching staff full of rotten apples (expect me to regurgitate that analogy several times), don't fix the only thing not broken. JJ goes out there and makes the mit pop, throws strikes, and puts the pressure on the opposition. Macintosh don't hold their pressure as well, but you get the "pop" sensation when you bite into one.
- 'Jonathan' Apples - Zach Britton, SP - Hard to believe I fit a third pitcher on here, but
away we go. If you were to throw out Zach Britton's three worst starts (which were particularly bad), you'd think he was one of the better young pitchers in the league. Well, it's my opinion he still might be. He had a rough patch in the middle there but he started well, he ended well, and he led the team with 11 wins when the dust settled. He's got a bright future. If Jonathan sized more, they'd still be available at supermarkets, but it's just a eyeblink from national recognition. That's why your secret admiration of Jonathan is safe with me. Haven't tried one yet? They're the most underrated apple we grow.
- 'Gold Delicious'Apples- Robert Andino, IF - I can barely believe I just typed that. I'm really going with Robert Andino for the much-respected "underrated Golden Delicious" spot. I thought he was too good for AAA ball and never good enough to be an everyday player. I thought he had a bad attitude and would never improve his game. He proved me wrong. Reminds me of the market customer who heard some goofball farmer who kept assuring him or her that Golds aren't mushy, that they're really a terrific apple... gosh, what a coincidence! Also, who had Robert Andino at 139 games played? I would have thought 50 was a huge number.
- 'Grimes Golden'Apples - - Jeremy Guthrie, SP - This one is tough for me. Jeremy Guthrie deserves better. The O's aren't getting better anytime soon and Jeremy pitched
well enough to win close to 18 games for a good team. Instead, he lost 18 games for the Orioles because they don't play well behind him. It pains me to say it, but we need to trade Guthrie and free him from the prison known as my Baltimore Orioles. Similarly, we'll have no more Grimes Golden after this week's markets.
- 'Smokehouse'Apples - - Chris Davis, 1B - Ok, so he still looks better in batting practice
and in AAA than he does on the field but I have to put him in here based on potential alone. When he gets a hold of one, he smokes it (see what I did there?). This was a great pickup at the trade deadline without even talking Tommy Hunter and I'm anxious for what Chris Davis could do in a full season at the major league level. I'm also excited to harvest the Smokehouse each year, since each year I turn a few new customers on to this little known, heirloom tart-flavored apple!
- 'Red Delicious' Apples - Vladimir Guerrero, OF - It was great to see a Hall of Famer like
Guerrero in an O's uniform. What wasn't so great is that it was 2011 not, say, 2004 when we offered him the moon, the stars, and his very own life size Bromo Seltzer tower to haul back to the Dominican Republic only to see him sign with Anaheim. Similarly, Red Delicious look good in still life photography.
- 'Yellow Barlett' Pears - Pedro Strop, RP and Tommy Hunter, SP - I can't figure out which
one I liked better in his brief time here. Both were acquired from Texas in separate trades and did very respectable jobs in the bullpen and rotation respectively. If you acquire a Bartlett from our stand this week, you'll be the recipient of a more than respectable amount of flavor. Available in bulk online.
- 'Bosc' Pears- Nick Markakis, RF - Had a forgettable first half but ended up with a respectable season. Many had suspected Nick was playing hurt through long stretches of 2011 and Manager Buck Showalter confirmed that suspicion in his post game address after the thrilling victory over Boston Wednesday night. It's a testimony to his grit and toughness. Bosc aren't too tough to eat. Truthfully, I find it a very easy thing to do. I ate one today - easiest thing I accomplished by a landslide. They do, however, have a little gritty texture.
see also, the 2010 Baltimore Orioles Apple Lineup
The year 2010 was one for the books! It had its ups and downs and tested our mettle in a lot of ways, but we're all the better for it. There was plenty doing on the farm, where a new building project, drought conditions, lightning strikes, and stink bugs kept us manically occupied. Market wise, we tried new market endeavors at Silver Spring, H&HS building, Crossroads, Greensgrow Farms, and, briefly, The Piazza at Schmidts (was that all?). In other news, our apples were eaten by the President of the United States of America and we became our local industry's first Food Alliance certified fruit farm. Relive all this and more in our Blog Highlights 2010, farm photos, and press clippings from 2010. We'll also update you on our offseason and have a peek ahead into what to expect in 2011. Enjoy!
The Year in Blog!
The History of the much-malligned Red Delicious <check out a commenter from Spain!>
The Year in Pictures
- Yfrog acct twitter photos - I see concerts in the offseason!
- plixi pics including apple anomolies and the famous US-15 northbound Zebra!
- PASA's slideshow of our Field Day
- H&HS Market open slideshow from H&HS - Ben meets Sect. Sebelius
- Several plugs on All We Can Eat farmers market report in Washington Post - great for DC foodies
- FarmPlate had a nice write-up on Headhouse Farmers Market
- Our Food Alliance press release gets picked up by Food CEO and Philly Food Feed
- Metro Philly on Offseason Activities
- Talkin' Social Media with Greensgrow on Farm to Table
Offseason review: Nov. '10 - April '11
We take offseason education very seriously around here, as this story suggests. This year, I wanted to spend some time quantifying that fact. Below is a listing of all the leadership meetings and educations meetings we attended this offseason between Thanksgiving and the first Silver Spring Market.
- Haygrove High Tunnels Mtg, Dec (Lancaster)
- Future Harvest CASA, Reisterstown (presenter)
- PA Farm Show (54 man hours - Harrisburg)
- 3 Vendors Meetings for Farmers Markets
- FarmCredit Ag Business Class - Webinar, 3 meetings
- State Horticultural Assoc. of PA - 5 meetings combined
- Mid-Atlantic Fruit & Vegetable Convention (Hershey - 3 days, presenter)
- Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (State College, 2 days, presenter)
- Adams County Fruit Growers Association Ann'l Meeting
- County Ag Summit
- half day meeting with our tree fruit extension educators (stink bug preparedness)
- Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Board (2 mtgs)
- Wholesale Marketing Seminar (Syria, VA)
We spend a lot of time fixing equipment as well, in addition to long term business planning (including planting plans) and getting our signs ready for market season - all those details. There's all kinds of training and permits to achieve before markets start as well. We do have time for leisure as well including events like Fair Food Philly's "Brewer's Plate" and the occasional music performance in the area. I like to play a little music too - I crammed over 20 performances into this little offseason window and visited some out of town friends.
Looking Ahead to 2011
A formal announcement of our market schedule for 2011 is forthcoming, but I'm willing to get the details out to those folks brave enough to keep reading this far down! We were doing too much last year, so there are a few changes. Here's the preliminary plan:
- FRESHFarm's Silver Spring Market - back starting April 2nd (at the Panera location) and staying every week 'till Christmas
- Headhouse Farmers Market - back and better than ever! Market starts May 1.
- Kenilworth Farmers Market - back at a new, larger area of the same parking lot! Come "down the hill" from Stebbins to shop with us starting May 3rd!
- Greenbelt Farmers Market - back in our corner stand again in 2011! Opening week is May 8th!
- FRESHFarm's Health & Human Services Market - back with new times! Join us every Wednesday from 11am to 2pm over your lunch break under our new, shady tent! Market starts May 18th!
We made the decision not to return to Crossroads Farmers Market and Greensgrow Farmers Market in 2011. We like those markets a lot and we especially like the people operating them who are top notch and true, geniune local food advocates. It was a hard decision for us to make, but we felt we were over-extended and needing to cut back on our markets for this year. PLEASE, if you were a customer there, please continue to patronize these markets because they are terrific and run by some pretty special people. There are a couple other options we are considering for markets in 2011, but what you see could be what you get for us this year.
And with that, we're only 12 days away from the first Silver Spring market of 2011! It's about that time, folks!
In 2007, after several weeks of updating our farmers market customers with descriptions of apple varieties, I was struck with a nasty bout of writers block. I had to come up with a new way to describe these apples - a way my customers could appreciate. It was our first year of markets - all of them in Philadelphia where the hometown Phillies had just won the NL East after a legendary choke job by the Mets. With Phillies Phever in full swing, I described the apples by comparing them to Phillies players. It was a big hit (so to speak)! The Phils fought admirably in the playoffs before falling to the Rockies that season. However, emboldened by my 2008 Phillies Apple Lineup, the Fightin's went on to win the World Series. They made a return trip last year after another Apple Lineup. You'll recall how well Chase Utley played in October last year - no doubt miffed he wasn't included that season's lineup.
I've had a lot of fun with this over the years. Fast forward to this season, and the last few months of the Orioles season were more fun to watch than any in years! Buck Showalter got the team turned around and playing "The Oriole Way". So in homage to the revived Baltimore Orioles AND since it's brought so much luck to Philadelphia's Phillies, I give you the inaugural Baltimore Orioles Apple Lineup.
Honeycrisp - Buck Showalter, "skipper" - Our tree fruit ripened early this year, thanks to a warm spring and elevated soil temperatures brought on by a long snow pack. The Orioles, however, ripened late - thanks to the guidance of skipper Buck Showalter! Sure, there were key guys who got healthy when he showed up, but you can't say that for the starting pitchers who were, all the sudden, going 7 innings strong after he took over. Likewise, the only reason a lot of people show up for farmers markets in cold weather are crispy, sweet, tangy, Honeycrisp apples.
Jonagold - Luke Scott, DH/OF - Luke Scott was the MVP of the club this year and carried them single-handedly at times with an incredibly hot bat. Fortunately for all O's fans, the streaky slumps he's known for were fewer and farther between this year. Good thing Jonagolds aren't inconsistent! They have a flavor that ranks with Honeycrisp and a bold, syrupy flesh.
Gala - Brian Roberts, 2B - I'm sure Brian would rather forget this year, one marred by injuries and rehab. That being said, when he returned, he largely looked like the same player we've become accustomed to... a short leadoff hitter with speed who makes things happen on offense. You won't be offended by the small, sweet morsels in the Gala crates at market. They too are going fast!
Fuji - Nick Markakis, RF - One of the best defensive RF in the game, Nick had a steady year at the dish despite his power numbers suffering a bit. We're glad his contract was extended so we can enjoy above average play in right for years to come. Similarly, Fuji are not only sweet and crunchy for snacks and salads, they're known as GREAT keepers - lasting for months in refrigeration!
Nittany - Adam Jones, CF - It was another up and down year for Adam Jones who showed flashes of brilliance at the plate yet is still not quite putting it altogether. He's a little up and a little down, but he's growing! Nittany are a little sweet and a little tart. They're done growing... that's why we picked them!
Red Delicious - Matt Weiters, C - Weiters looks really good in the batting cage. We've been told for years now about how he's going to be a feared, middle of the lineup bat. So far, we've been a little disappointed. Red Delicious have always been a good-looking apple. Some people have told us that they're really good... there's still plenty of time for Matt to make a real 'Honeycrisp' oughtta himself, no need to go tart on him yet, O's fans.
Golden Delicious - Cesar Izturis, SS - Cesar is an under-appreciated member of the O's because he doesn't bring much flair. His offensive game is very average and he isn't a "web gem" highlight reel defensive star. What's underappreciated is he makes all the plays he should. All the best teams are built around strong defense up the middle... well, except maybe the Yankees (Jeter isn't 26 any more). Golden Delicious apples are also under-appreciated and dismissed as mushy. They don't make many "favorite apple" lists, but they are sweet, they are tangy, they have great texture and they've got a syrupy, winey quality when they are fresh!
Granny Smith - Jake Arrietta, SP - Jake has a great fastball and above average breaking stuff, but he's still a little green. Granny Smith have great texture and are above average for baking stuff... and they are very very green.
Empire - Brian Matusz, SP - Just a perfect example of the impact of Buck Showalter. All the sudden, the young lefty was pitching with confidence late into ballgames. Just what we like to see! In our Empire, we like to see a bi-colored skin with pretty white flesh when you bite in - I mean REALLY white! The flavor is a little more sweet than tart. If they call the Yankees The Evil Empire, I want to be sure to point out that all these apples have in common with the #*&$ Yankees is the state of origin.
Ida Red - Jeremy Guthrie, SP - Jeremy ended the year with a good run of starts. Had a few bumps along the way, but overall another very decent year for the righty who set a career mark for wins. He can really bring the heat when he needs to. Add heat to an Ida Red and you'll be remarkably surprised how well the apple maintains good texture and how the flavors brighten a little bit.
Rome Beauty - Felix Pie, OF - The ressurection project that is Felix Pie. Depending on who you ask, it might be over - he might be a bona fide big leaguer! He sure looked like one in longer stretches than ever before, and that's a terrific sign. He always had all the physical ability in the world. Oh wait, I should explain how Felix "Pie" is like this apple... are you really going to make me connect the dots for you?
Bosc Pears - Kevin Millwood, SP - It all went pear-shaped for Kevin Millwood in 2010.
Cameo - Ty Wigginton, IF - Ty made a cameo appearance in the 2010 All Star game, as the O's representative. Actually, the way he was hitting back then, if that goofball manager of the Yanks wouldn't have pinch hit that piece of garbage Nick Swisher and let Ty hit, we might have won the thing... anyhow. He lost his All Star form in the second half. Cameo lose a little of their tartness in storage and are a teriffic eating apple fresh or in the spring!
Mutsu - Koji Uehara, CL - I don't know if he's clumsy or just has bad luck, but I'm glad this Japanese import got healthy in time to contribute because he really attacks hitters coming in out of the bullpen late in games. Mutsu are another Japanese import - a late ripener with good tangy zing, attacks the palate!
Your last chance to mold our little fruit stand at your favorite farmers market in accordance with your will! It'll only take a moment - I'll leave it up for a few more weeks and then share the results!
The internet can be a pretty weird place sometimes. If you ever lacked proof of this, two seperate websites had videos of me (of all people) gabbing about this and that in two weeks time!
Crop Life America wants to get the word out on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) - a passion shared by all of us here at Three Springs Fruit Farm. This seven minute video is shot during bloom season at the farm and gives you a close look at how IPM is performed in our pretty orchards. Sorry, I think my bias came through there a bit at the end.
At the time this video was shot, we were under the impression we'd be at Bethesda on Saturdays. Now we're at Silver Spring Farmers Market instead - the subject of the video posted below. Good background tunes - I need to bribe the Silver Spring buskers down to our end of the market! We've got yummy strawberries...
Local Washington DC News 8 coverage of the FRESHFarm Markets Health & Human Services Market Grand Opening!
Its with both trepidation and anticipation that I blog my first entry at our new website! Not only has the website come along nicely, but so also has a number of other things around the farm. Meanwhile, we're preparing to attend a few May markets for the first time and, in light of these things, I'm getting awfully nervous about this crop season... but then again, if things always went as planned, I wouldn't have chosen this dynamic, frustrating, unpredicatable line of work in the first place!
The good news - lots of new things happening around here! Specific to what you can expect to see at these early markets, we have lettuce, broccoli, and radishes we're gonna try to have early for all of you. These should be ready to plant out next week or the week after (more on this later). So that's good! Our first-ever batch of Three Springs Homemade Apple Sauce turned out very well! In a more broad sense, as you've likely noticed by now, the website, while not complete, has progressed to the point where it feels like "ours" now! That feels good too. We've also been busy planting with so much more to come - the 2009 half of our exciting, progressive sweet cherry planting is in the ground! We have plenty of new apple varieties (old apple varieties but new trees, in some cases), plus plenty more peaches and blueberries all on the docket for our spring planting schedule.
Which leads right into the trepidation! We certainly needed the rains over the weekend and we were fortunate enough to miss the nasty stuff. Now, if fortune could smile on us once more, we'd get the 10 days of sun required to take the edge off my worried mind in consideration of all those things above that we've yet to plant. Right now, the near future is pretty wet, so we'll have to play it by ear.
The countdown is ON! Here's when you can expect us where to start the season! The next time you hear from me, it'll be our first "Fresh From Our Farm" update of the season!
From Our Farm To Your Home,
OPENING DATES (see also, our calendar):
May 2nd - *brand new* Lutherville, MD Market! Corner of Joppa and Falls, 2:30 - 6pm
May 3rd - Headhouse
May 3rd - Greenbelt
May 6th - Wakefield Park
June 6th - Harbor East
June 9th - Kenilworth