If you have not yet treated yourself to one of Griggstown Farm’s infamous Chicken Pot Pies, you’re in for a treat. As our November Producer of the Month, all of our Griggstown pies are 20% off. If you’re vegetarian – no problem - there’s a Vegetarian Pot Pie option as well.
Meeting and speaking with farmer, producer, and business owner George Rude at the Griggstown Farm Market was a special treat. What stood out for me is this man’s dedication and passion for farming. He emphasized this fact throughout the interview: “The biggest thing to realize is that I am a full time farmer. I put my whole heart into my job. I work 24/7. It’s my whole life.” Perhaps the exception is when he’s hunting, but even then he’s working the business. “When I’m not farming, and am hunting, I spend those times on the phone.”
Hunting preceded farming for George. “I’ve always been a hunter and I still hunt. I hunt confidently. We started raising quail. The people who originally owned the farm were from Manhattan and we raised quail to hunt. Then we met James Beard [legendary culinary chef in NYC] and he wanted quail to eat – and that’s how it all got started.”
Griggstown Farm has been the home of George Rude and his family since his return from Vietnam. His family of origin had “nothing - absolutely nothing” to do with farming, and George had “no idea” that farming was going to become his life’s work. At age 21, George and his wife simply “preferred” to rent the available apartment on the current property – the property he started working in 1974, eventually purchased in 2008, and has recently preserved.
Today Griggstown Farm is a sustainable farm, community kitchen and market that raises, grows and produces all natural poultry and minimally processed food products on-site. The producer part of the business developed in 2002 when the kitchen and market opened. It was the next evolution into offering value added items for local customers. “We started with a small kitchen – 600 square feet; now our kitchen is 5,000 square feet. When we first started it was all about raising birds, not processing birds. Now we not only raise our own birds, we also process our own birds.” A significant fact to note is that the kitchen and onsite processing plant are both USDA certified. George comments, “Not too many farms can say they have a USDA plant on their premises.”
Chef Adam, who joined the interview, reflects on his experience of being an integral part of the producer business: “For me as a chef and someone who loves natural food, being able to work on a farm and create all these handmade products is a joy.” Adam continued, “Everything we do here is made by hand. We don’t have any machines that do anything here except help mix our dough. There’s no preservatives; everything is all natural ingredients.” About the farm’s amazingly prepared and delicious pot pies Adam comments, “The freshness, quality and time that goes into a pot pie is a beautiful thing. One pot pie takes about three days to make – it’s the best way to put it. We obviously make a lot at once but the whole process from start to finish is three days.”
The interview closed with George emphasizing the value he places on staying small and local rather than getting into the big chains. “I like 80 small jobs, not ten big ones. We’re happier going to Doylestown – an hour away from us – and selling a few cases to the co-op rather than selling to the big boys.”
Here’s one more thing about the business – they value and support the local community in a number of ways. As I was leaving the interview area I noticed a group of students walking in. I asked Adam about them. He explained that since 2012 Griggstown Farm has been actively involved in a special needs school program, offering job skills training onsite, accompanied by a job coach. Adam says the youth really make a difference with the various tasks and projects they handle.
Learn more about Griggstown Farm at their website: griggstownfarm.com.
Mark your calendar: stop by the store to sample one of Griggstown Farm pot pies. Demo dates are Saturday, November 7, from 10:30 – 12:30 and then again on Wednesday, November 18, from 4:30 – 6:30.