Chances are if you’ve been to one of the Central Farm Markets, you’ve noticed the Twin Springs tents. It’s one of the biggest vendors we have, both in terms of space they take up and the sheer size of their operation. It takes at least 6 tents put together to harbor their product, as they sell everything from corn, squash and celery to berries, peaches, and a wide variety of apples. There are always quite a few people running the show, but if you’ve visited the Pike or Mosaic Markets, you’ve probably run into Jesse King- a tall, scruffy-looking fellow who was lucky enough to have grown up in the world of Twin Springs.
Twin Springs Fruit Farm is located near the town of Orrtanna, right outside of Gettysburg, PA. The farm sits on 75 acres, and they also rent an additional 20 acres from a neighboring farm. Jesse’s dad, Aubrey King, started the farm, coming from no real farming background, with two other partners in 1978. In the beginning, they were focusing solely on apples and peaches, selling them in bags at their first farm market at the old Redskins stadium. Their next market, in Takoma Park, is the longest running farm market in the area. They still sell their product there to this day.
According to Jesse though, the Central Farm Markets are quickly becoming one of their highest grossing markets! It’s clear to see why; people are so impressed with the quality and variety of their product, they keep coming back, week after week! Twin Springs is one of the few farm vendors we have that also hold stand-alone markets during the week. They do 18 markets during the summer and 8 year-round, including our Bethesda Market!
There are a couple new things going on at the farm these days. Along with the other 4 greenhouses they have, Jesse and his helper built a new one last September. There is now automated shading in all of their greenhouses, allowing the proper amount of sunlight in as needed. They also now have something called a Biomass Burner. It is a gigantic machine that takes up two huge buildings on the farm and it burns construction waste and wood chips to create energy. Jesse estimates that they will burn 700 tons, enough for all five greenhouses for the whole winter. It’s considered carbon neutral. When considering the change from coal, which they used to burn to heat the greenhouses, it is the equivalent to taking 170 midsize cars off the road in terms of emissions! It’s so efficient that the farm is exempt from any EPA regulations in terms of the emissions. This is a huge deal for a farm of this size and Jesse is very proud to be a part of bringing it to Twin Springs.
More news from the farm: starting this week (October 11 and 12), Twin Springs will be bringing back a favorite product to the markets! Kaleidoscope Greens, a cross between Brussels sprouts and kale, will be available at all three Central Farm Market locations. These greens grow on tall, upright plants just like Brussels sprouts, but unlike the sprouts, the florets remain open and vaguely resemble kale. Even though they are a cross between two slightly bitter vegetables, Kaleidoscope greens are tender and mildly flavored. They are delicious when sautéed briefly in a hot pan with olive oil and garlic, or chopped up fine and eaten raw. Not to mention the fact that they are beautiful and full of nutrients!
So stop by any of our markets and check out the amazing things that Twin Springs Fruit Farm has to offer. Any time of the year, you can find high-quality produce, helpful staff, and enough choices to make your head spin! Make sure you say “hi” to Jesse and any of his incredibly hard-working helpers- his buddy Rhett is at Rockville and Bethesda every week and he’s a riot! And don’t forget to try the Kaleidoscope greens! I’m dying to know what you think of them!