Smucker Farms Coming to 2118 14th St, NW

Well there’s been lots of big news for this section of the 14th St, NW corridor. Last week we learned that Piola Pizzeria was coming to 2208 14th St, NW (just north of W) and now is arguably even better news – Smucker Farms is on its way. Pending proper permits they hope to open in the next month or so and if successful, keep your eyes peeled for more storefronts around the city.

Owner Eric Smucker sends me an email with lots of great info:

Generally, the store will feature directly sourced food and products from Lancaster County, which is of course the heart of Amish and Mennonite Country and has the most fertile non-irrigated soil in North America. The farmers and manufacturers of food in Lancaster have really been stepping it up in quality recently to move beyond “Dutchy” fare, and are providing high-end products that meet the standards of more discerning customers in urban environments. As a result, they are now raising grass fed beef, pasture-raised chickens and eggs, heirloom pork and poultry, artisan cheeses, high quality milks and yogurts, and of course chemical free produce that is already being used widely in mid-Atlantic restaurants. Smucker Farms of Lancaster Co. will be providing these foodstuffs along with prepared take-away meals, amazing canned goods, handmade soaps, and some baked goods. There are so many cottage industries in Lancaster County that we are continually finding new products to add to our future inventory. In addition the store will serve as an outlet for handmade wooden toys and furniture, but the furniture will mostly be through direct order through our contacts with Amish furniture makers. We will of course have a Kids’ Corner for the little ones to try out the toys while their parents shop for dinner.

The second aspect of Smucker Farms is that we are serving as the organizer and pick-up point for a Community Supported Agriculture Program run by a small Co-Operative of chemical free farmers in Lancaster. A smaller store such as mine will usually provide fresh produce at a loss because of the immense amount of logistics involved and of course the difficulty in selling produce before it expires. And though we will be keeping some fresh produce in the store for retail sale, the direct connection between the customers and the CSA is the best way for us to make sure that we are not wasting vegetables and leafy greens on a continual basis. It also is the best way to directly support the farmers and encourage them to grow more of what we really love.

The third line of business for Smucker Farms is that we are acting as a sales agent for the aforementioned Co-Op and other small producers to restaurants within the Beltway. We have already begun this on a small scale and have had very positive feedback on our meats and cheeses, and fresh produce will be ready shortly. Some farmers are already adopting greenhouse methods to expand their growing season, and I am currently enjoying some strawberries from one of these growers, they blow away anything you can get from California in terms of freshness, flavor, and overall sweetness. The proximity of this agricultural hub is a boon for us here in the mid-Atlantic, and my company is just trying to expand access to it for everyone.

We are planning on opening at the end of this month and currently processing the paperwork necessary to change our façade and change the usage on our Certificate of Occupancy from services/offices to retail. I have helped start businesses elsewhere but this is my first foray in DC, and although the process may be a bit convoluted it is quite manageable once you have all the pieces together. With that said I am thrilled to get the store open shortly. We are already getting a lot of positive feedback and interest for the CSA and from more restaurants, so I think the business model should serve us very well. And not to get ahead of ourselves because we certainly need to make the first store work, but I have no intentions of only have one storefront in DC. As such I am looking at the process of getting the first one open as a necessary expense for future knowledge of how to best expand our footprint in the DMV.

A little about me, I was born and raised in Lancaster County and grew up Mennonite. Both of my parents grew up on farms and my father was actually raised Amish, and even though he met my Mother and never officially joined the Amish as a baptized member, I have many Amish aunts, uncles and cousins who I was privileged enough to spend time with growing up. Doing chores on an Amish farm as a child is rather amazing to say the least. I first came to DC for school, attending Georgetown for both undergrad and grad and then staying around to work in emerging markets investments. Needless to say I am finding this new path to be amazing and allows me to keep a connection to Lancaster in terms of family and food, while living in the city that I have grown to love.

Holy awesome!

31 Comment

  • PRETZELS, they better sell the pretzels!

  • I’m really looking forward to this place, but I hope they don’t run into any legal troubles with a name like Smucker!

    • If the JM Smucker company from Ohio tried to chase down every eponymous Smucker-owned business throughout PA and OH, they wouldn’t have time to make any jam. It’s a pretty common name in that part of the country.

  • I am soooo excited about this venture. I love Amish sweet treats! I loved buying the produce from Lancaster County area farms when I lived in PA.

  • they better have celery and whoopie pies

  • This store will be nothing short of amazing when it opens. I wish the best of luck to the owner.

  • Everything about it sounds great, but I’m most excited about the “grass fed beef, pasture-raised chickens and eggs, heirloom pork and poultry” part. If they do this right I’ll be a weekly customer so I don’t have to navigate the Whole Foods madness.

  • The inevitable beef between this place and the Yes! Organic Market across the street will make this area very dangerous.

  • This is the owner here, and thanks to everyone for the comments and encouragement! We will of course have pretzels and awesome meats available as part of our product line-up. I’ve also heard request for sugar cookies, whoopie pies and many other Amish goodies, and rest assured we will have these items on our shelves.

    The PoP suggested I comment here to let you know that the applications for our CSA is now available for download at the News section of our website here The CSA is a great way to support local farmers and allows my store to provide our customers with a much wider variety of fresh produce than might otherwise be possible for a small boutique grocery like us.

    Please email me at [email protected] (or just comment here) if you need anything!

    • Gee, Eric. You’ve become a good neighbor even before opening up! Now we’re going to have to drive up the Reading Terminal Market in Philly to refresh our stale minds as to what a good Amish Market offers. Or, the Amish Market out in Easton, MD. Well fooey. We’re gonna have our own Amish Market right on here on 14th Street. No more schlepping (is that an Amish word?) in the car.

      • Have you been to the Amish market in Germantown (MD not Philly)?

        • I’m afraid I have not been to the one in Germantown but I should probably check it out it at some point. From the looks of it they are offering a lot more of the dutchy style fare that we may not be offering. The producers that we are working with tend to make smaller batches of cheeses, yogurts, etc that are harder to come by at these markets, especially as many of the market stands are buying their cheese and meats from the Mid-West. Nothing wrong with the Mid-West of course, but it is rare for an “Amish Market” outside of Lancaster Co. to have products strictly from the Amish and Mennonites communities.

          If you do get up to Lancaster Co. at all, Lancaster Central Market has quite a few market stands that do offer products expressly from local sources and these purveyors do a wonderful job of keeping a direct connection with the farmer, if they are not the farmer/producer themselves!

  • Making plans, making plans. Welcome to DC.

  • Wow, sounds terrific. I don’t live anywhere nearby, but will go out of my way to check out this store. I love the idea of bringing the farmer’s market into a store – especially excited about the cheeses, yogurts, organic meats and eggs.

  • I am a Lancaster County transplant and am really looking forward to this venture! Is there any possibility that shoo-fly pie will also be included? Also, is there any chance that you will carry Lancaster Brewing Co. beer? Nothing goes better with shoo-fly pie like Milk Stout!

  • As a former Philly resident within a block of this location, I am beyond thrilled by this news!

  • I live a couple of blocks away. I am so happy. I will be a weekly customer buying eggs, meat, milk, yogurt, etc…

  • Nice! I live a block away and am looking forward to it. Something different!

  • Hey all,

    Just wanted to put in a little cautionary word here – a lot of people assume that Amish/Mennonite products are somehow inherently natural/sustainable and that Amish farmers are inherently environmentally-friendly. I work in the field of environmental/agricultural restoration, and I can tell you that Amish farmers are just like the rest of the farming community (or any community). Some of them are awesome and take great care of their land. But many of them are extremely irresponsible. In fact, on average they follow fewer conservation guidelines than normal farmers, because they refuse to work with the government on principle, and that includes conservation programs. So, don’t take anything for granted when buying Amish produce. Get the facts!

    Also, their homemade foods typically include lots of trans fats and corn syrup – which you may not mind, but just to let you know. A lot of people assume that the food is somehow more “pure” or natural than other foods, which may or may not be true depending on what your standards are. (Try going into an Amish grocery store (for Amish people) it’s like a natural foods coop except the bulk foods aisle is all vegetable shortening and neon-red food dye.)

    Still I think this cool and it’s great to see that they will be offering grass/pasture-raised meats. I encourage everyone to hold them to that high standard, don’t take anything for granted.

  • Sounds fantastic! Look forward to shopping there.

  • Is this why I see all the Amish in Adams Morgan? Because if it isn’t, this phenomenon has been baffling me for years.

  • Anonymous raises some very good points that are worthwhile addressing.

    He is absolutely correct that the typical Amish/Mennonite diet consumed in Lancaster Co. does have more, a lot more, calories from fat and starches. One of the reasons for this is that they also lead a much more active lifestyle working on farms or in other occupations which do not lend to sitting down very much. When this is the case they can burn these extra calories, even though they may have to worry about heart health issues down the road.

    What we will be offering are foods and products sourced mainly in Lancaster Co., but are designed specifically for the urban consumer, which means less fat, more flavor, and higher quality of ingredients. To be quite honest, some of the producers would not consume the products (such as stinky Euro-style cheeses which I think we all love!) that they are making because they are tailoring their products for a palate not their own. But don’t worry, our baked goods will have their requisite amount of calories from fat, but no more than you will find in your typical cupcake!

    In regards to environmental issues surrounding small farmers, you are also correct that some farmers (not just Amish and Mennonite) in Lancaster Co. have long ignored environmental regulations and contributed to the degradation of the Chesapeake Bay. What is not being as highly touted is that many, if not most, of the farmers in the area have rapidly embraced changing their methods over the past 15 years and are leading a rebirth in ecologically sound farming practices. This includes chemical-free, certified organic, crop rotations, winter cover crops to stop erosion, and fencing off streams and ponds to ensure that clean water reaches the Chesapeake. If you would like to know more, I can direct you to the co-op that we have partnered with so that they can explain what their farmers are doing to ensure that the environment is sustained, and not degraded.

    Thanks for raising these points in this thread and letting me address them!

    • Yes, I’d definitely be interested in learning more about your coop. Although I wasn’t just referring to the Amish and Mennonite farmers in Lancaster; they are also in Maryland and plenty of other places around the country, and the same issues that I raised apply everywhere.

      I’m glad that Lancaster farmers are moving in the right direction. However, I’m very familiar with agriculture and the Chesapeake, and in my experience, “most” of the Lancaster farmers are still not particularly conservation-oriented. And let’s not get carried away; Lancaster is definitely not leading the (re)birth of ecologically sound farming practices – although they may be riding its coattails, which is great.

      One last thing – I’m a “she” not a “he”. Let’s get away from that default assumption of maleness, shall we? After all, we’re not Amish. 🙂

      • How about you use your real name and be specific if you want to go all facty-sciencey on us?

        “on average they follow fewer conservation guidelines than normal farmers, because they refuse to work with the government on principle, and that includes conservation programs.”

        What does that even mean?

        “And let’s not get carried away; Lancaster is definitely not leading the (re)birth of ecologically sound farming practices – although they may be riding its coattails . . .”

        Again – what are you talking about?

        So we don’t actually want to read an entire agricultural policy paper on this blog – but if you’re raising serious issues – at least link your sources. And use your name.

        I have no dog in this fight – I live on Cheetos – I don’t like pretzels – you just annoy me in general.

  • Eric

    Welcome to the neighborhood! Everyone I’ve talked to about this is excited!

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