The first thing that struck us about our visit to Agriberry farm was their branding. Anne greeted us from the pack shed wearing a purple apron that proudly sported the Agriberry logo and raspberry dangly earrings. In the driveway was a purple van and practically everyone we met during our tour was wearing at least one purple item of clothing (ok, that might be an exaggeration!). Anne greeted us from the pack shed with a friendly smile and a wave to come on in and see where the magic happens! She openly shared the farm’s mission and values alongside their many struggles as a small family farm trying to make it work. We then were gladly sent off with a pack of the best blueberries I have EVER tasted and offered a sample of every different variety of berry we could find – or maybe that was just us feeling the urge to pluck another taster for our “research." We are so excited to be working with Agriberry Farm and supporting their mission in whatever ways we can. You can be certain that every time you receive a pint of berries or jar of jam in your 4P delivery, they were grown with love by the Geyer Family and most likely pulled from the bush by one of Anne’s “Young Workers."
Agriberry was founded in 2008 by Anne and Chuck Geyer. Anne and Chuck met while working at the University of Maryland’s Horticultural Research Farm on a USDA berry production study. After getting married in 1982 they moved to Virginia to work on a 60-acre berry farm. In 2008, 25 years later, they found themselves the awardees of a USDA Specialty Crop Grant enabling them to lease their own piece of land and start a berry farm that also had a mission to develop young farmers.
The farm started out selling an innovative “all fruit” CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share that was sold primarily to the Richmond, VA market, one of the nation’s only fruit and berry CSAs. What started as a 9-week pilot, quickly evolved into a 20-week CSA program with more than 500 members.
The Geyers also work collaboratively with other local specialty crop farmers which enables them to service a large number of customers with additional fruit from their partner farms. In 2011 they were able to purchase their own 25 acres of land on Hanover’s scenic River Road. They now grow an assortment of fruits and berries including red, black and purple raspberries, blackberries, peaches, nectarines, plums and cherries. The property is now outfitted with a packing shed with freezer and refrigeration capability and a commercial kitchen for the preparation of a variety of value-added products.
Outside of family members, the farm employs more than a dozen workers that are enthusiastic to be part of “Team Agriberry”. During the summer months the rows are filled with area youth participating in the “Young Worker Training Program”, with as many as 50 youth employed through the summer months.
Anne and Chuck consider their CSA to be the base that allows them to build farmer-to-farmer relationships as well as to run a summer-long Young Worker Training Program, which works with youth to provide work experience, hands-on agricultural experience and a deeper appreciation for where their food comes from.
Anne and Chuck are proudly committed to raising healthy and sustainably grown food that will craft lasting relationships that nourish the local community, as well as other family-owned small farms. They value telling the truth about the food they provide and to help evolve the local food networks. The following mission statement from the Agriberry website sums up their philosophy quite well, as follows:
“The Agriberry Farm Mission is to grow great berries and fruit and be a premier agriculture training facility for motivated young workers."
- Not USDA Certified Organic, but they use “organic” practices in the way they grow their fruit
- Use highly targeted Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques
- All field management practices reflect consideration for the safety of customers, workers, plants, pollinators and resident wildlife
- All practices meet or exceed Extension Service guidelines for safety
- Snead’s Asparagus Farm in Fredricksburg, VA
- Chesterfield Berry Farm in Mosely, VA
- Calvert Farm in Rising Sun, MD (USDA Certified Organic)
Where to Buy
Find fruit from Agriberry and other local growers in your 4P Bag during berry season (May-September with June-July as peak season). Look for jams and other preserves in our pantry section. For the most up-to-date information about Agriberry's Fruit-only CSA or to discover Agriberry at a local area farmer's market, visit their website.
Agriberry Farm is a partner of Local Food Hub Grower Services. 4P Foods is proud to partner with Local Food Hub to increase community access to local food.