From Pastry to Plow

Share this post

Chocolates and Tomatoes Farm in Poolesville, MD, is a four-acre farm that strives to be sustainable, colorful, and delicious.

And while we didn’t choose Chocolates and Tomatoes for a 2015 The FruitGuys Community Fund grant just because the farm happens to produce many of our favorite things—artisan chocolates, hops for beer, and, of course, fresh vegetables—it shows the diversity of crops and products that American farms produce, and the farmers behind them. Actually, like all of our Community Fund grant recipients, we chose Chocolates and Tomatoes because its project scored high on our matrix of sustainability objectives for 2015 and it fits our mission of supporting farmers who are catalysts for environmental and economic self sufficiency, sustainability, and food access.

Operated by farmer and chocolatier Mark Mills, the farm donated 40 percent of their 2014 harvest to area food banks, including Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg, MD. Their $4,925 grant will allow Chocolates and Tomatoes to plant two acres of permanent pollinator habitat, establish erosion-reducing terracing on a quarter-acre of ground with a steep grade, as well as construct a 20×48-foot high tunnel on the terraced area to further reduce water run off. The high tunnel will be exclusively used to grow food for donation to Manna Food Center.

According to Mark, “Two of the fundamental purposes of Chocolates and Tomatoes Farm have always been to educate and to give back. The generous grant from The FruitGuys Community Fund has allowed us to advance those purposes much sooner than we thought possible. The opportunity to give young minds the chance to see farming as a living and the importance of being a steward of the land is invaluable to us. We firmly believe that for a farm to be successful in all aspects it must be part of a community. The grant has allowed us to expand that community several times over. We could not be more thankful and blessed.“

Pastry to Plow
Mark Mills wasn’t always a farmer. In 2013, he graduated from pastry school and worked as the pastry chef at Washington, D.C.’s Blue Duck Tavern. According to a July 2013 Washington Post article, Mills saw an opportunity in a unique program that aimed to match people who wanted to farm with unused farmland in Montgomery County, MD.

He’s been a farmer ever since. To follow the story of Chocolates and Tomatoes sustainability project, sign up for The FruitGuys Community Fund’s quarterly newsletter and hear how they’re doing. Grant recipients send regular updates on their projects as part of their grant requirement. Read a summary of the seven other amazing farm grant recipients and their projects.

 

Subscribe to the WEEKLY BITE

* indicates required

 

Recent The FruitLife articles:

Summer fruit varieties and when you’ll be seeing them
July 9, 2019
Beehives, swales, and vermicomposting, oh my!
April 29, 2019
Spring fruit varieties and how to enjoy them
April 16, 2019
A tribute to the “Lemon Lady” of Redwood City
March 11, 2019
The FruitGuys New Year’s poem
January 8, 2019
Sowing the seeds of entrepreneurship
October 31, 2018
Give the delicious gift of farm-fresh fruit and healthy snacks
October 4, 2018
Summer to fall transition brings new fruit into the rotation
October 2, 2018
Bring some fruitful fun to your workplace on Tuesday, October 2
September 27, 2018
Farmer suicide is a public health threat and could hurt our food supply
August 14, 2018

More recent articles:

Assumptions can harm both recruiters and job seekers
July 16, 2019
Simple summer salad dressing recipes
July 11, 2019
Easy summer pasta recipe
July 4, 2019
How to create a dress code that works all year
July 2, 2019
More employers are getting serious about time off
June 27, 2019
Food:
Two Easy Recipes for Canning Stone Fruit
June 25, 2019
Food:
The health benefits of honeydew melon
June 20, 2019
Food:
The delicate flavors of white peaches and nectarines
June 13, 2019
Don’t let plantar fasciitis pain break your stride
June 11, 2019
How to make stone fruit jams and butters
June 6, 2019

About Us

Our online magazine offers a taste of workplace culture, trends, and healthy living. It features recipes for easy, delicious work meals and tips on quick office workouts. It's also an opportunity to learn about our GoodWorks program, which helps those in need in our communities and supports small, sustainable farms.