Richard’s Fruit Market in Frederick County sells more than just fruit. “We can grow your whole meal,” owner and operator Eddie Richard says, “even down to the flowers for the table.”
And it’s more than just a market. The farm is open to the public for events throughout the year. There is a peach festival in August, an apple festival in October, and open houses year-round. “People can come with their families, have a picnic, and chill out on the farm,” Eddie says. “We grill hamburgers from our beef and grill pizzas with toppings we grow right here.” There’s even a petting zoo.
Providing people with good food and a chance to hang out on the farm is part of a larger desire to spread the word about farming, one that Eddie shares with his daughter, Kayla, who has helped him run things since September 2015.
“There are less and less people who know about agriculture these days,” Kayla says. “The best part of being open to the public is being able to teach about what we do. It’s second nature to us.”
Eddie agrees. “We get loads of questions about growing things.” In order to answer them, Eddie meets people at the market and takes them on a walking tour of the farm, which includes 60 acres that were placed under easement with the Virginia Outdoors Foundation in 2018. “We talk about the whole process, from beginning to harvest,” he says. “I answer questions about how I do things, stabilizing the plants, choosing varieties, sharing knowledge so they can start their own gardens on the right foot.”
While much has changed since Eddie’s parents started the original market in a wagon at the end of their driveway in 1953, Eddie is determined to stay true to his parents’ vision. His mom, Mary, still helps run the market, in the same building she and her husband built after their little farm stand took off. Eddie’s son, Cameron, also helps out, and Kayla’s 8-month-old daughter will be the sixth generation of the family to grow up on the farm.
“My mom and dad started the market the year they got married,” Eddie says. “Of course, in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s it cost less to grow, there were fewer diseases, and fewer insects. You could make good money just growing apples and peaches. A lot has changed, but our passion hasn’t.” To find out about everything that is happening at Richard’s Fruit Market, go to their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/RichardsFruitMarket/events/