“Knee high by the fourth of July” is what we expect… but Trauger’s farm in Kintnersville had local corn for us at the Doylestown Farmers Market already on July 3rd! How do they achieve that miracle of modern agriculture? Generations of farming, continual innovation, improvement and experimentation led them to grow starts for corn in their greenhouses and then plugging them into the soil as babies rather than seeds. The result is that your July 4th barbecue may have featured the freshest corn around! That and so much more was learned at the June 3rd BCFA Farm Tour at Trauger’s Farm.
The term family farm certainly applies to Trauger’s farm. Five generations and counting have farmed this land. The whole family works as a team to bring the amazing array of fresh food and flowers (and their famous mushroom popcorn!) that we see at the Doylestown Farmers Market every Saturday and at their own farm store in Kintnersville every day. Each of the adults in the family leads his or her own area of focus to make it all happen… one concentrates on making magnificent and varied flower arrangements, one is in charge of making homemade baked goods, one makes certain the fields are planted when and where they need to be… Not sure which one of them is in charge of the incredible flavors of mushroom popcorn they grow, pop, flavor and sell out of all the time!
A farm tour is an especially beautiful way to learn from the farmers and enjoy an evening walk along the river. Joel Roney, who married into the Trauger family, led us around the farm on this particular evening. The youngest family members also joined in and added to Joel’s tour with bits and pieces of what they particularly do on the farm to help out, all the while snacking on peas and asparagus that they shared with all of us along the way. At this farm we saw the incredible variety of food that is produced and learned how they were able to make it so very productive. Their unique position at a bend in the Delaware River requires a unique approach to farming. Because the soil is remarkably sandy with very little organic matter and water is abundantly reliable, they use a practice called fertigation that delivers nutrients through the irrigation system directly to the roots of each plant. They can control exactly what each plant receives and make adjustments as needed. You’ll also notice there aren’t any fences at Trauger’s farm. Surprisingly, there is little deer pressure on the farm in comparison to other farms in our area so they just aren’t needed. Lucky!
At Trauger’s farm they are also constantly looking for ways to extend the harvest season for the many different crops they grow, such as managing to have tomatoes for us in June thanks to the way they manage their greenhouses! There are a series of these large greenhouses that have been added to the farm over time as part of this continual effort. They have even figured out a way to passively distribute excess heat from one of the smaller greenhouses to a larger greenhouse to offset the energy demand. They are also experimenting with a similar idea to ward off frost in early spring and late fall. Finding ways to use energy that would otherwise be wasted helps to make the farm evermore sustainable.
There are lots of reasons to visit Trauger’s farm throughout the year. They offer pick-your-own strawberries and now blueberries as well as seasonal events like autumn hayrides and corn mazes. New to Traugers is their CSA. Subscribers receive a 10% discount on every purchase made with their CSA card. As with all CSA’s, the farm benefits by receiving funds to kickstart the growing season. All-in-all, Trauger’s farm has become a wonderful social place to spend the afternoon with family and friends.
This season is shaping up to be an especially successful peach season that promises lots of delicious pies and out of hand eating. Come taste for yourself! Head to the farm to shop at the onsite Trauger’s Farm Market or go to one of the many markets in which they participate, including Doylestown Farmers Market.
And remember to come join BCFA at our next farm tour on Wednesday August 4 at Hundred Fruit Farm!