Farmers. They’re just like us. Spring House Farm’s Andrew Crush swung by the P Street Whole Foods one Wednesday afternoon after making a delivery around the corner at Birch & Barley. He describes the patience-zapping amount of time it took to find a parking spot and then wait in the 10-items-or-fewer line when trying to purchase a single product. “I would be pretty frustrated if that’s how day-to-day grocery shopping is.” Well, it is.
Starting immediately, there’s another option. Crush, who has been working hard to bring his sustainably raised hogs into area restaurants, is pivoting to get his Lovettsville, Virginia, products directly into people’s homes.
Friday marked the launch of the farm’s expanded a la carte online ordering program. Crush is hoping it will encourage more Washingtonians to experiment in the kitchen. “D.C. is definitely a going-out-to-dinner crowd,” he says. “Save a buck or two and come up with something at home.”
The list of what’s available is a home cook’s dream: pasture-raised poultry ranging from whole chickens ($6/lb) to chicken livers ($4.50); an arsenal of beef products like porterhouse steaks ($34/lb), beef brisket ($8.25/lb), ground beef ($7/lb), and Delmonico steaks ($22/lb); and pasture-raised, forest-finished pork such as pork chops ($18/lb), pork tenderloin ($12.99/lb), bacon ($10), and St. Louis-style spare ribs ($8.25/lb).
There’s the same breadth of cuts when it comes to lamb and goat, plus eggs ($4.50/dozen) and honey ($8 for 8oz.). All products are USDA-certified and come vacuum-packed. The Spring House Farm website even offers recipes.
Recognizing he’s competing with the convenience of popping into grocery stores or the small smattering of butcher shops in the region, Crush worked to streamline things. If an order amounts to $250 or more, Spring House Farm will deliver the parcel directly to the customer’s door. Otherwise, orders can be picked up at Primal Fitness just off New York Avenue at 219 M St. NW.
Spring House Farm has long had a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program where customers can sign up to receive packages of farm goods biweekly, but like all CSAs, patrons can’t select their products. The new a la carte system, made possible by a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, allows people to pick and choose.
“The loan’s designed specifically for farms because the payment plan works with how your sales are,” Crush explains. Unlike a car payment where you pay a fixed rate every month, Crush pays more during the times of year he’s earning the most. “This way we can pass savings onto our customers.”
Crush used the loan to purchase a walk-in freezer. “Before, anything people would order would be at the bottom of the chest freezer,” he says. “It was difficult.” The walk-in freezer enables Crush and his staff to manage inventory better.
Spring House Farm, 37864 Long Lane, Lovettsville VA; (703) 728-6623; springhouse.farm