Tasting A Little Bit of Lancaster, Pennsylvania’s Local Goodness

DC’s local food scene is spreading like wildfire, from the do-it-yourselfers at Grey DC to the homey classiness of Seasonal Pantry.  But nobody does it quite like Smucker Farms of Lancaster County, a haven devoted to all things (but especially the food) from slice of the state that is famous for its Amish and Mennonite residents and traditions.

Smucker Farms was founded to bring the products of agrarian Lancaster County to the bustling market of Washington, DC.  Almost the entire store is stocked with products from the county, with the exceptions of some farms and vendors in southeast Pennsylvania that are not within the county line, as well as a handful of local DC products (such as Gordy’s pickles).

The variety of goods is impressive—you can get everything from spices to breads to meat to produce to tomato and other sauces to condiments.  And, of course, the apple butter and shoofly pie for which Amish country is known.  I also liked some of the out-of-the-ordinary products like shrub, a beverage with colonial roots that is “created when fruit is preserved in vinegar, sweetened with sugar and then mixed with water or spirits.”   The store also has soaps and lotions, wooden furniture and kids’ toys, and even a few seasonal cookbooks.

Lancaster Farms works with a farmer’s cooperative to ensure that there are no hiccups in the sourcing and distribution process, and also to provide a CSA that can be picked up at the store.  The cooperative, Oasis at Bird-in-Hand, is run by the quintessentially Amish trio of Dale Stoltzfus, Elmer Lapp, and Leroy Miller.

Technically, all goods from Lancaster County are local, considering that the county seat is approximately 120 miles from DC and the southern tip of the county is even closer.  If you’re looking for local food and products that come from a community that values traditional farming, this is the place for you.

To visit:  2118 14th St. NW, 202-986-7332.  Open every day 9am-9pm.  U Street Metro or many buses.

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