Farm Profile: Streamside Farm at Elkins Estate

story by Ariela RoseStreamside Farm at Elkins Estate is run by Meei Ling Ng and her husband Larry Shaeffer. The couple fell in love with the property’s close proximity to Center City, as well as its sprawling mansions and dark, fertile soil. They were first introduced to urban agriculture in the community garden at Broad and South Streets. “That’s where we learned not only how to grow vegetables, but how to mix with the community,” says Ng.
Ng and Shaeffer started the farm in March, and throughout the summer they grew neat rows of corn, stalks of beans and a rainbow of wild flowers. These days, beds of winter greens and an herb-filled hothouse occupy the farmers’ time. Once harvested, produce is washed and packed in an estate building located steps away from the farm. The bounty is sold at the Creekside Co-op Farmers’ Market and Weavers Way Ogontz, both located within one mile. Salad greens are also used by nearby Under the Oak Café and wellness retreats hosted on the Estate.
“We think this is a place that can really reach its potential because of the proximity to its markets,” explains Shaeffer.
Elkins Park community volunteers frequent the farm and assist with weeding, planting and selling goods at the farmers’ market. Interested parties are invited to tour the farm, and an educational series on Japanese flower arrangement was hosted this past summer.
“The main thing is that people in the community really support us,” says Ng. “That’s why they line up at my table at the farmers’ market; because they know where the produce came from.” —Ariela Rose

1750 Ashbourne Rd., Elkins Park, streamsidefarm.org