From Alejandra Owens. You can find her at her food blog, One Bite At A Time. Alejandra also writes for City Eats DC, a Food Network site, where you can book dinner reservations. Follow her on Twitter at @frijolita and email her at alejandra[AT]borderstan.com
As someone who is constantly on the hunt for quality produce, dairy and meat, I was particularly excited to finally check out Smucker Farms of Lancaster Co. The owner, his family and a few local producers hosted a grand opening party where a number of food bloggers and local residents got to sample a variety of the items sold in the store
It’s a simple, unassuming store front — so much so that Tammy and I nearly walked right past it. Smucker Farms was founded by Eric Smucker, a Lancaster-native and long-time DC resident, to create a direct connection between producers in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and consumers in DC at their store at 2118 14th Street (just below W), which opened last November.
“I was between jobs as a result of the financial crash,” said Smucker. “It wasn’t a good time to be in finance! I was at home in Lancaster and felt the residents of DC were missing out on all the great produce and goods coming from where I grew up.”
The now settled into store features produce, meats, milk, cheeses, ice cream, gelato, baked goods, kombucha and more. At the moment, about 85% of the store features items or goods sourced or made in Lancaster County but they hope to flip that number to feature items or goods sourced from right here in DC. A few of the items that stood out to me were bottles from DC’s first kombucha microbrewery, Capital Kombucha, pickled items from Gordy’s Pickle Jar and pints of my personal favorite, Dolcezza Gelato.
Once you enter the store and realize just how big the space is, you appreciate how truly jam-packed it is with so many delicious things. Homemade pastas, crackers, specialty popcorns, “cookie in a jar” mixes (which made really lovely cookies by the way), jams, vinaigrettes, an entire case of a variety of cuts of 100% grass-fed beef, organic free-range chicken and sausages, a cooler stocked with fresh herbs, beets, lettuces, stir fry mixes and more, and a variety of spices that would make even the most well-stocked kitchen blush.
As if the “charm” factor wasn’t high enough, when Eric Smucker took to the daïs (an overturned wooden produce crate) to thank us all for coming, his mother asked him a question. “Is the grass-fed beef only fed grass, Eric?!” clearly tossing him a softball and making it all the more clear that Smucker Farms of Lancaster County isn’t some hippy/hipster, organic, locally sourced market — it was a family venture, something Eric Smucker wouldn’t or couldn’t have done alone.
“The building hadn’t been occupied since 2004 or 2005, and it was my father and I that did most of the demolition and build-out in the space,” added Smucker. “We had to tear up three layers of flooring to get to what you’re standing on now.”
Smucker then gave us the run down of all the blown up photos hanging throughout the store. “Those are chickens from our farm,” he said somewhat ironically. “And that’s my uncle sitting in a field on our farm. That’s the barn raising from my grandparent’s farm. And that’s a milk cow. Oh and that’s my nephew sitting on a tractor!” To which the group sighed a collective “awwwww.”
I have high hopes for the Smuckers’ store, and particularly see it filling a gap come winter when the markets shut down or it’s slim pickings throughout. Will you be making a trip to check it out soon? Or have you already? What did you guys think of it?
Smucker Farms of Lancaster County is located at 2118 14th St NW and is open from 9am to 9pm all week long.