Rocklands Farm truly reflects the essence of a “family farm.” In a high-roofed barn, owner and farmer Greg Glenn’s mother oversees the set-ups for weddings. His father is the visionary for the vineyard and wine production; Glenn himself runs the livestock and vegetable production, and his wife coordinates educational events at the farm and designs flowers for wedding events. Depending on the time of year, Rocklands Farm employs additional staff of up to five full-time and four part-time staff.
Glenn grew up 18 miles from the farm in Bethesda, MD, a bustling suburb of DC. While Glenn was in college, studying agriculture and economics, his father bought Rocklands Farm and its 34 acres with the intent of finding a more placid place for his family to settle. In 2003, his parents moved to the farm, and Glenn soon followed with his wife, Anna.
Glenn attributes a large part of the farm’s soaring growth to a federal Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) EQUIP grant that paid for fencing and water troughs. “To fence that field doubled our acreage of grazeable land,” he explains, pointing toward a pasture bordered by a brand new fence. He posits that the fencing allowed them to shave five years off of what would have been a long, arduous process of pinching pennies and saving up. He adds that the grant took the farm “from surviving mode to succeeding mode.” Next season, he will rotate cattle, layer hens, broiler chickens, sheep, and hogs on the new space.
Rocklands Farm is so close to DC that the farm stand, located in the heart of the farm property, is a popular destination for city dwellers. For some years, Rocklands Farm went to different farmers markets in the DC area, but found that they could sell all of their products just as easily from their farm stand. In fact, the stand often sells out of meat products like sausages and roasters, an issue Glenn hopes to rectify with the new acreage.
Rocklands Farm is growing as fast as it can to meet the demand of its community; their CSA offers meat, vegetables, and eggs to forty families. Glenn has applied for another grant that will help pay for a hoophouse to expand their vegetable production. He hopes to use it for tomatoes and other high-value crops in the summer, and winter greens in the fall and early spring, so that the farm can provide a full diet year round for its customers. “There is a huge demand for pasture raised, sustainable practices,” Glenn says.
The Rocklands Farm staff is growing; part-time employees usually turn into full-time managers. As his farm expands, it will welcome more employees and generate future farmers. “Experience can propel people forward,” Glenn explains; his current full-time farm managers, for example, have been with him for three years, and are soon moving to Minnesota to start their own farm operation. “Sharing a passion for the land” is an enormous part of the mission of Rocklands Farm, and as a family, that is exactly what the Glenns do.