Maple syrup, apples, meat, eggs, plant starts, produce and so much more! Depending on the season, shoppers can find all these at the Creekside Farm booth. Located a few miles west of Goshen, Dean and Vera Witmer still farm the heavy clay, creek bottom land where Dean grew up and from which they draw their name. Like the farm itself, the Witmer’s farming knowledge is steeped in their heritage—a Mennonite heritage where Dean learned farming from life spent on the farm and Vera learned to garden from her mother.
Since joining the market when it first opened in 2000, Creekside Farm’s small orchard, produce garden, chickens, and maple trees have provided shoppers with a “one-stop-shop” for many of their food needs. They keep their farm operations coordinated and mutually beneficial amongst all the activity. For example, the Witmers rotate their chickens day-to-day and year-to-year in order to fertilize the soil for the next year’s produce crop. The chickens provide fresh eggs through the year and meat in the summer!
The Witmers enjoy the variety of their work which changes along with the seasons. Over the winter they cut firewood to prepare for the spring syrup season and order seeds for the coming year. The hard work really begins around February when the sap starts flowing from their approximately 1,000 taps. Using a wood fired evaporator, they turn this sap into maple syrup to sell year round at the market. Syrup season morphs into planting season for their produce garden and 95 acres of corn, soybeans, and wheat. Through the summer months, the Witmers take direct orders on fresh pasture-raised chicken prepared on site. Moving into the late summer and fall, the Witmers remain busy harvesting and end the season with squashes, apples, and fresh pressed cider.
Vera takes pride in the ways their booth at the Goshen Farmer’s Market reflects and reconnects people with this seasonality of food. She explains that by shopping at the market people begin to understand that, “sweet corn is not ready in May” and “tomatoes are really tomatoes in August.” Stop by the Creekside Farm booth to find out what’s in season!