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Goodness Grows lets the good grow!
Written by: Clare B.
Edited by: Lisa Blubaugh
Goodness Grows, located on Route 220 just 13 miles north in Cumberland, is a family owned and operated farm nestled on nearly 100 acres of farmland and forest. And although the Custer family has been offering organic produce, fresh milled breads, free-range eggs, grains and handcrafted soaps, and lotions since 1999, the farm’s history goes much, much further back--all the way to 1758.
It was then on the ground that houses Goodness Grows today that George Washington and Col. Bouguet met to discuss proposed routes by which General Forbes would attack French Ft. Duquesne. Later, during the the Whiskey Rebellion, George Washington set up an armory on the farm’s property to help reinforce the proposed whiskey tax. In 2016, Goodness Grows now grows grains for Pittsburgh-based distillery Wigle.
I recently had the pleasure of visiting Goodness Grows. Although owner Rob Custer was busy in the field, he and his wife Dawn took the time to talk to me their humble abode. I took the grand tour of their estate led by farm hand Olivia.
Their home is an old stone house built in the 1800s and equipped with a full commercial kitchen. I can only imagine the aroma that wafts through their farmhouse as they bake 15 different kinds of bread, all from grains they grow!
As I made my way to the barn, I was greeted by chickens dancing around my feet and the sound of loud baaaas from the goats. The animals have access to roam freely in open green pastures. Goats at Goodness Grows are milked for their dairy. The milk is then turned into homemade lotions and soaps. I got to meet Penelope, a goat who found herself at Goodness Grows after retiring from the circus. Most goats are ornery and always up to something; Penelope is no different, and definitely has a few tricks on her side.
I walked among the fields past teenage goats employed as lawn mowers. The bees were buzzing as day lilies smiled at the sun! We walked to a pond, which can be seen when you’re driving along 220.Their picturesque pond is covered in water lilies.
In the fields, Emma and Alex are hard at work tending to growing plants. As I walked through the salsa field and continued among rows of broccoli, dill, and fennel, I was overcome with a feeling of happiness. I was standing among a beautiful piece of extremely well-taken care of land. Each plant, animal, and human was interconnected in this ecosystem. It is truly a place where the goodness grows!
There is a connection between farmers and their land. As Dawn says on her website “We pride ourselves on selecting plants and animals that integrate with each other, complementing the nutritional needs of each other while creating the least amount of environmental impact to our natural ecosystem. We continue to strive for balance, eliminating outsourcing of nutritional inputs from afar.” It is a knowledge and a passion that can be tasted when biting into fresh farm harvests.
For more information on their CSA or products avaliable,
please visit their website goodnessgrowspa.com or follow them on Facebook @GoodGrows.
You can also find Goodness Grows at the Allegany Farmers Markets:
Downtown Cumberland Thursday 9:30 a.m – 1:00 p.m.
City Place Frostburg Friday 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.