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Chester County Ag Council

Red Dog Market: Farmers Supporting Farmers

A feature from the 2023 Farm Prodcuts Guide.

Dog Photo

This store with an unusual name has an unlikely business model. Red Dog Market, named for owners Emma and Aaron de Long's reddish colored dog, is an oasis of all things fresh and local with a special mission. Not only are the de Longs operating a friendly neighborhood market offering a variety of produce, meat, dairy products, and dry goods, but they are also helping to grow a network of local farmers like themselves.

An Unexpected Opportunity

Aaron and Emma de Long didn't set out to open a store, but the idea had been in the back of Emma's mind since she opened Kneehigh Farm on the nearby Lundale Farm property in 2015 and noticed the nearby building.

"I knew a store would allow me to extend my sales beyond the typical produce season, and it would give me a greater opportunity to share the foods I eat with my customers," recalls Emma.

After meeting her husband Aaron in 2016 through their mutual love of sustainable farming, the two were eager to expand their mission to "cultivate the healthiest, happiest humans" through food. When the building became available in the early part of the pandemic, they knew they had to act quickly.

"We never planned to open a store, but we felt that the universe was giving us this opportunity," says Aaron, who has since left his career at Pasa (a sustainable farming advocacy organization) to manage Red Dog Market full time.

Not only has the market been well-timed to dovetail with the growing interest in locally grown food fueled by pandemic food insecurity, but it's also provided a convenient spot for Emma's Kneehigh Farm CSA (community supported agriculture) customers to pick up their produce shares and do the rest of their shopping. Kneehigh Farm CSA members can use their points to purchase items in the store and receive a 10% discount on additional purchases.

Family Photo

A Business Based on Friendship

When it came time to stock their shelves, Emma and Aaron first turned to their Lundale Farm neighbors who run Pasture Song Farm, a pastured meats and flower business, and then invited a cheesemaking friend who runs Valley Milkhouse in Oley to get on board. From there, they've expanded their sourcing network to include other farming families and friends resulting in a retail space celebrating all things local and fresh.

"The earth, air, and water of where you live becomes a part of who you are when you eat locally," says Aaron. "Customers can always ask us how things in the market are grown because I walk the fields and talk with the farmers we source from."

As farmers themselves, they understand that every sale matters. They and their team go out of their way to welcome customers and talk with them about the products.

"We get to know our customers' families and they get to know us," says Aaron. "They trust us and our ability to source food from local, environmentally responsible farmers."

With interest in organic and sustainably sourced foods continuing to grow, Aaron and Emma feel optimistic about Red Dog Market's future and the need to support small, local farms.

"There is a social and economic value in what we do," says Aaron. "Local farming builds and strengthens our communities."

Visit Red Dog Market

1503 Ridge Road, Pottstown, PA 19465
Phone: 484-925-7470