River Valley Farms is unique in the way that David is farming multiple small plots of land right in the middle of a residential neighborhood. They use intense planting methods and naturally grown practices to provide their customers with the best possible product. River Valley Farms is certified for growing naturally, which requires being inspected yearly and following a set of standards the same as being certified organic. Certified Naturally Grown farmers don’t use synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or GMO’s, just like the USDA’s National Organic Program. So what you get from River Valley Farms is all natural and healthy for your family, without the worry of cancer-causing chemicals being used to produce the food you buy from them.
A little back-story about Dave is that he has lived or worked on a farm for most of his life. He grew up in the Elm Grove area of Wheeling, WV on a 10-acre property. He was raised by a farming Mennonite family. Liz and her husband, Curtis, were foster parents who had a son & daughter of their own before taking in Dave, his brother & sister. Growing up, he was raised with the work ethic that no one will give you anything, so if you want something you will have to work for it. And that’s exactly what he’s done!
He has worked on farms that were anywhere from 6000-acre mono culture farms to little 15 acre farms that they leased. He and his wife raised a son and two daughters in the urban setting. About 12 years ago, after the kids grew up and started lives of their own, he and his wife moved from the Dallas, WV area into the city of Wheeling. Six years came and went before they started a little garden on borrowed land. A few years passed as he farmed that borrowed land before he was able to purchase a few lots of his own on Wheeling Island. After much research, he found that with the right kind of intensive planting program it was possible to make a good living growing on small plots inside city limits.
River Valley Farms now consists of several small plots that make up a grand total of less than one acre of land. Planting quick growing crops, he now produces enough food to take to 4 farmers’ markets each week. He also raises gourmet mushrooms as well. This all started out as a hobby for Dave, just so he would have something to do in the winter months because it’s difficult to get your hands in the dirt in the month of January.
The greatest part about River Valley Farms is that it is a family oriented farm. His two daughters, now 31 & 29, help with picking and taking to the markets. They each have 2 kids ranging from ages 6 to 13. His grandchildren come to the market with their moms each week as well, so it’s nice to see the next generation will keep Dave’s dream alive.
You can find Dave on Saturday mornings at the market in Bellaire from 9-noon with farm fresh eggs, spring mix, baby spinach, Swiss chard, green onions, white button and crimini mushrooms, just to name a few.
New for the 2016 season, River Valley Farms is introducing a new app called FarmFan. It allows them to communicate with you on market day by text message to give you the latest information about what will be at the market that day. After you become a FarmFan, one hour before the market you will get a text message from them with what’s fresh at that market day. The update may also include specials that are only available to FarmFans. So be sure to sign up! You can also show the text message to them that morning while making any purchases to claim a prize for that morning. Prizes could be a free item, discount on your next week’s purchase, or an item offered only to FarmFans customers.