2013 was the first season of Malcolms Market Garden in Staunton, VA. We started with a 30 member CSA the first year and have grown to over 90 (many repeat customers)–and have since built a great customer base in our community. We have three young children, and a fearless farm dog. Daniel looks forward to that first tomato sandwich of the season, Ashley loves sweet corn with herbed butter, and their kids love picking sugar snap peas off the vine and field tasting melons.
We first leased land in 2013 on Bells Lane Farm in the agricultural district of Staunton. This farm was established by Daniel’s great-grandfather about 100 years ago, so it was a great honor to start farming there.
In 2016, our dream of finding a farm of our own came true, and we purchased some wild and beautiful land on Christian’s Creek in Staunton. The farm has ample acreage for annual vegetables, as well as perennial vegetables, fruits and flowers.
Over the course of Spring, Summer and Fall seasons, we grow over 40 different homegrown vegetables and fruits. These include spring peas and strawberries, popular summer favorites sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons, and beans as well as broccoli, kale, spinach, beets and many more. Whatever we’re growing, we pick fresh for our CSA members as well as our local farmer’s market, local restaurants and distributors.
Healthy soil makes tasty vegetables! Working to maintain healthy soil is a high priority at Malcolms Market Garden and we incorporate many sustainable practices into our system including extensive use of cover crops to build fertility and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to support healthy populations of beneficial species in the field.
We take growing food seriously and are always conscience that the produce we are growing will feed our family as well as yours.
We are working to build organic matter into the soil and beneficial insect populations through methods like contour planting, cover cropping, maintaining riparian buffers, and beekeeping. We regularly attend grower conferences and meetings to learn new practices to improve soil fertility.
We use both organic and synthetic sprays on the farm, but there is definitely a spectrum and each crop and pest is addressed independently. We grow about 40 different fruits and vegetables and there is a wide variety of problems in growing them that must be addressed in one way or another–primarily they are weeds, detrimental insects and pathogens.
We often use organic growing methods. For example, with all leafy greens, we are primarily concerned with weeds and leaf eating caterpillars. The weeds are handled by mechanical cultivation and mulches and the caterpillars are controlled with organic bacteria (BT).
Many of the summer fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes, melons, and cucumbers are especially susceptible to air borne diseases such as blight and downy mildew. These travel through spores in the wind and move up or down the east coast depending on conditions. Because these crops are some of the most popular and our favorites, we apply fungicide when conditions favor disease. Extension service provides very accurate information on when conditions are ripe for disease and we follow their recommendations. Even despite our best efforts, some years if it’s especially rainy, we’ll have crop failures.
We don’t use any genetically modified seeds. And although we use a variety of equipment on the farm, all the produce is harvested as it has been forever, by hand!
Growing produce is humbling and there is always something new to learn. Our goal is to continue to be good stewards of what we’ve been given, and to serve our community with our best work.
The Earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof. Psalm 24:1