The Adams County Farmers Market, located in Gettysburg, PA, relies on the hard work and dedication of many great vendors, growers, and producers. I am glad to be working with Gettysburg Connection on this monthly column to highlight some of the vendors who support our community-driven work. This month I was excited to talk with Russ and Holly Fetting from Rare Hold Farmhome, a wonderful family farm located just across the Mason-Dixon in Taneytown, MD.
Russ and Holly had a very intentional and thoughtful project in mind as they launched their business in spring of 2019. Even the name Rare Hold Farmhome has several layers of meaning. “Russ and I found one another later in our lives,” Holly told me. “From each of our histories came the understanding that when you find something good, really good – that is rare, and you should honor, value and appreciate it.” Russ and Holly fell in love with the name Rare Hold Farmhome before they even realized the purely fortuitous coincidence that the initials RHF could also stand for Russ & Holly Fetting!
Russ and Holly are equally as thoughtful and intentional with the products they produce. The RHF team specialize in responsibly raising hogs, Scottish Highland cattle, and Freedom Ranger chickens. “Our animals are given the best of care,” Russ described to me. “On pasture full time. Living together on the land, calving and farrowing together with no crates. We knew that we couldn’t solve the problem (of humane treatment of animals) on a global scale, but locally we could do our small part.” Russ and Holly’s compassionate farming practices not only benefit their animals but customers as well, as their pork and chicken products are some of the highest quality available in our area.
Another reason why the RHF team is able to produce such high quality products is because of the knowledge they brought from their careers. In particular, Russ’s expertise as a chef helped cultivate an understanding of high quality products and flavor. “As I have gotten on with my career, 38 years as a chef, I decided that I wanted to get one step closer to the source and to raise some livestock for food,” said Russ. “When we received the meat back featuring our farm label and the USDA shield, we knew we were legitimate and were ready to start selling.”
However, the practice of farming at Rare Hold Farmhome is more than just a business. Russ and Holly see themselves as taking part in an important, community-minded project, and participating at the Adams County Farmers Market is much more than simply transactional. As Holly put it, “the impact of being a vendor at the farmers market is exponential. On a philosophical level, it has reinforced our beliefs in what people want. It has allowed us to connect with people. People who share our goals in honoring the lives of these animals and appreciating the gifts they provide.” Holly went on to say how knowing your local farmers is a blessing and a privilege, and eating food raised locally nourishes more than just our bodies. “It feeds our souls, too,” she said.
Russ and Holly have learned a lot throughout their Rare Hold Farmhome journey, but the story of this family-run farm is really just beginning. Russ and Holly both agree that RHF is about more than the food. “It is about hospitality, serving others, and helping one another achieve something bigger collectively than we could apart; it is about creating connection and reaping its benefits together,” Holly said. “Russ and I absolutely feel called to invite you – as our original logo says – ‘Come and Grow with Us.’” You can follow along with the Fettings and the growth of their business on their Facebook page and website.
I hope everyone will come out and say hello to the Rare Hold team, and all of our other great vendors, at the Adams County Farmers Market this season. Find us in downtown Gettysburg at 108 North Stratton Street from 8am-1pm every Saturday until the end of October.
Reza Djalal is the Market Manager/Program Director for the Adams County Farmers Market. You can reach him at: email@example.com, or learn more about the farmers market at: www.acfarmersmarkets.org.