FARMER/FARM: Ben Wenk, Three Springs Fruit Farm
“I was a little rudderless after earning my agriculture degree. When I heard that Headhouse Farmers’ Market was going to start back in 2007, something clicked.”
If you are even a casual shopper at Headhouse Farmers’ Market, you likely already know Ben Wenk, steward of his family’s 190-year-old Adams County farm, Three Springs Fruit Farm.
Affable, outgoing producers like Wenk are the very reason people love farmers’ markets in the first place—he talks to everyone, laughs easily and is a treasure trove of knowledge about the food his family brings to market. Many of the heirloom apple varieties he grows practically have their own fan clubs, and the Three Springs brand of hard cider, Ploughman, boasts its own legion of devotees.
What shoppers may not realize though, is how inextricably Headhouse and Wenk himself are linked. “I was a little rudderless after earning my agriculture degree. When I heard that Headhouse was going to start back in 2007, something clicked. I couldn’t have anticipated how much of a watershed moment the farmers’ market would be. It matched my skill set and my personality.”
He’s seen the explosion of the local-food movement first hand from his farmers’ market stall.
“Today, farmers’ markets are getting into their adolescent stage. The tremendous growth has tapered off a bit,” says Wenk. “It used to be that showing up with nice looking produce and being friendly was enough to be competitive, and now it is the baseline for entry.” As a market veteran, Wenk tries to pay it forward by offering newcomers the same generous mentorship he once received to help the whole community thrive.
Three Springs Fruit Farm,
Adams County, PA