Tuscarora Organic Growers Co-op Hustontown, PA
Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative took root in 1988 when three neighboring farmers realized they could become more efficient by cooperating instead of duplicating their marketing efforts. In the first season, seven growers moved about 1,500 cases of produce to Washington DC retailers over a five-month period.
The growers soon discovered that by working together, they could coordinate crop production to complement one another rather than compete. Each grower could focus on the crops that they do well and purchase other items through the co-op. The co-op was soon providing a diversity of crops and a level of service that no individual grower could provide on their own.
TOG started with no outside funding, just an idea that farmers could work together to grow their produce sustainably and be profitable.
Now, nearly 30 years later, they work with 50 member growers, and over a dozen non-member growers, to supply restaurants and retailers in Washington DC, central Pennsylvania, and everywhere in between.
Many of TOG’s growers’ farms are located throughout a seven-county region of south central Pennsylvania known as the Juniata River Valley. (The counties are Bedford, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Mifflin and Perry). This beautiful, rugged region is sparsely populated, heavily forested, and environmentally pristine.
Organic certification, and the cooperative spirit, are the common links between TOG farms. Otherwise, the farms are diverse: There are early organic pioneers who started to grow in the 1970’s as well as many new generation farmers, some of whom graduated from internships on some of the older farms. There are traditional farms which chose to switch to organic farming. There are also a large number of Amish and Mennonite growers in the co-op. Their values and family life truly exemplify sustainability in farming.