Written by Robert Borkowski, Farmers Market Intern
As part of our ongoing efforts to bring local, fresh food to you via the Farmers Market at Maryland, we will be featuring our vendors so you have an idea of who they are, what they produce, and what their environmental and social philosophies are. If this the first time you have heard of the Farmers Market at Maryland, we are here on campus every Wednesday through November 18th, from 11 am to 3 pm in front of Cole Field House. Come visit us!
This week we are featuring Valencia Produce of Montross, Virginia. One of our two fruits and vegetable vendors, Valencia is owned and operated by Juan Valencia and his family. They lease 32 acres of farmland in Montross, Virginia, to produce beans, squash, watermelon, cantaloupe, eggplant, many varieties of heirloom tomatoes, and cherry tomatoes, and more. You have to visit their stall to see the remarkable variety of produce they bring to the market! They use hoop houses (structures like greenhouses to grow crops longer into the season) to extend the growing season in the early spring and late fall.
Valencia practices many forms of sustainable agriculture, including conservation tilling (tilling only when necessary or on smaller pieces of land) and using pesticides only when absolutely needed. Part of their Integrated Pest Management program (using natural means of controlling pests) consists of cover cropping with rye and barley, crop rotation, incorporating cover crops as green manure and composting. Because of customer demand, they use no chemicals or pesticides on their salad mixes.
You can follow Valencia’s Produce on their Facebook page.