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 Natural Awakenings Lancaster-Berks

Community of Oasis at Bird-in-Hand: Sharing Real, Live, In-Season Food with Local Families

Jun 30, 2016 10:51PM ● By Gisele Rinaldi Siebold

On May 10, Oasis at Bird-in-Hand opened a second stand at Lancaster Central Market, which was previously occupied by Lancaster Farm Fresh. “We appreciate Lancaster Farm Fresh for paving the way for local, fresh, organic produce,” shares Dale Stoltzfus, co-owner of Oasis. “We are building upon the foundations laid by Lancaster Farm Fresh, and appreciate Central Market management in welcoming Oasis for more of a presence.”

The produce stand features fresh, organic herbs, fruits and vegetables that are in season, as well as canned goods that come directly from the farmers who preserve for the winter from the abundance of summer. Canned items include jams, applesauce, pizza sauce, tomato soup, ketchup, zucchini relish, pickled vegetables, red beet eggs and more.

The new booth complements the other Oasis stand at Central Market that carries raw and pasteurized cow milk, raw goat and sheep milk, golden grass-fed butter, heavy cream, half-and-half and cultured buttermilk. Raw cow and goat cheeses, cottage cheese and fresh cheese curds, whole cow milk yogurt and sheep yogurt, and pastured, soy-free, GMO-free eggs can also be purchased.

Raw, probiotic-rich fermented foods including kimchee, sauerkraut and more, as well as gluten-free cookies and heirloom whole wheat round out the selection. Soft-serve yogurt and ice cream are available for the summer season.

The goal of Oasis is to provide the healthiest, most delicious food possible, all the while helping to build a strong and sustainable network of farms. “Strengthening the economic viability of small, family-owned farms, by providing their nutrient dense, organically grown produce, dairy and meats to customers, is at the heart of our mission,” explains Stoltzfus.

Oasis farmers work on small, diversified, horse- and mule-powered farms, where animals roam on healthy pastures, and families work together in the fields, planting and harvesting crops. Weeds are kept under control without the use of environmentally degrading synthetic fertilizers, chemicals and pesticides.

Intent on building up the nutrient content of their crops, Oasis farmers test the soil and the plants as they grow, and feed them what they need, to result in the tastiest and most nutritious food offered for sale. The farmers are concerned about the health of the land and the people it feeds, and they are committed to growing and sharing their good food.

The philosophy of farming that accompanies this way of life attempts to better understand how elements of the soil work together to produce healthy plants and animals. Understanding how to support and enhance the natural composition of soil microbes at work yields plants and animals that are naturally less susceptible to blight, illnesses and enemy insects. This farming methodology grows nutrient-dense crops that are resistant to disease, weeds and pests.

Nutrient density refers to the concentrated amount of valuable nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, essential fatty acids and phytonutrients found within food that is rich in enzymes and sustaining to the human body. The principle of eating nutrient-dense foods supports healthy eating and healthy living.

“The food we have is the peak of the pinnacle because our farmers pay attention to the soil,” enthuses Stoltzfus. “Healthy plants make a tasty harvest.”

Oasis at Bird-in-Hand also has a retail store in Ronks, between the Old Philadelphia Pike and the Lincoln Highway. The location is a historically significant place in the U.S. because it is where some of the first Germanic and other settlers arrived to begin the farming tradition that continues today. Furthermore, Oasis offers unique CSA shares comprised of in-season, local, fresh produce. CSAs can be purchased at market, in the store or online.

Woven throughout the Community of Oasis at Bird-in-Hand are fibers of gratitude. The staff is very appreciative of their role as liaisons between family-owned farms and consumers. They have witnessed the forming of relationships between farmers and customers who care as much about the land as they do to nourish, support and sustain the legacy of Lancaster County farms.

Locations: Tues., Fri. and Sat., at Central Market stands 27 and 70, 23 N. Market St., Lancaster; Retail store, 60 N. Ronks Rd., Ste. J, Ronks. For more information, call 717-288-2154, email [email protected] or visit RealLiveFood.org.

Gisele Rinaldi Siebold is a contributing writer to Natural Awakenings Lancaster-Berks edition. Connect with her at [email protected]

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