During my first year at Oberlin College, where I was studying music performance, a flyer caught my eye advertising a summer job at Wheatland Vegetable Farms. It seemed interesting and it was close to my parents' house in the Virginia suburbs, so I applied. I had no idea what I was getting into that first summer! But I liked just about everything about it. One thing led to the next and I have made my living through vegetable farming since 2005. Here at Second Spring Farm I cultivate some of the same land that I worked that very first summer; those former employers are now my landlords and neighbors. I see farming as a set of infinite challenges, variables, and constraints, and I enjoy creating ecologically sound systems that take those details into account to produce a reliable harvest of high-quality vegetables. Over the winter I plan the farm for the coming season and build tractor implements. No matter the time of year I try to set aside time to play music and hang out with friends.  On the board of the Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, I am glad to have an opportunity to help strengthen the local food community which makes my farming possible.

About the Farm

Currently the farm is small, with 3.5 acres planted, but efficient farm systems, old tractors, and lots of equipment allow sales of about half wholesale and half CSA to be profitable on this scale. A large red 70hp International 884 tractor tills the soil, and a tiny yellow 14hp Farmall Cub does the rest of the work. I like machinery, and design and build most of the equipment I use with the Cub, which allows me to farm in the way I enjoy most. About half the farm gets planted in long-season fruit crops (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, etc.), which go into black mulch that warms the soil and suppresses weeds.  The other half of the farm is in short-season root or leaf crops (carrots, beets, lettuce, spinach, etc.) which are grown in raised beds on bare ground and carefully cultivated with the Cub.  Our workers are an integral and essential part of the farm: they make everything happen!  Information about working at Second Spring Farm:  We're hiring!


Friends and Neighbors

In the 1970s three farm families and assorted friends purchased 400 acres here, which became Wheatland Vegetable Farms, Potomac Vegetable Farms, and Moutoux Orchards. As older farmers have retired and others have grown into farming, the makeup of the 400 acres has diversified. There are now six quite different farming operations here, producing vegetables, flowers, fruit, meat, dairy, eggs, and grain.  These are some friends and neighbors in the greater northern VA / MD area (we all use similar growing practices).

  • Potomac Vegetable Farms -- Market and CSA farm in Wheatland and Vienna, VA.  We sell a lot of our produce to their CSA.
  • Greenstone Fields -- Excellent flower farmer next door, selling at the Falls Church market, and wholesale to designers and CSAs
  • Moutoux Orchards -- Full-diet, year-round CSA in Wheatland
  • Open Book Farm -- Great meat and vegetables west of Frederick
  • Full Cellar Farm -- Market and CSA farm over the river in Jefferson, MD
  • Mountain View Farm -- Market farm west of here at the Blue Ridge Center
  • Willowsford Farm -- CSA farm at a 2000-acre development west of Dulles Airport, who buys our squash and cucumbers
  • Waterpenny Farm -- Market and CSA farm in Sperryville, VA, selling at the Takoma Park and Arlington Courthouse markets
  • Maple Avenue Market and Farm -- Local food store in Vienna, and small farm in Marshall, VA
  • Sweet Farm Sauerkraut  -- Awesome kraut, pickles and other fermented things from Frederick.
  • 4P Foods -- A boxed-delivery service working to build local networks by sourcing regional and local food, including from our farm