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Farm Business For War Veteran Grows

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A farmer's market sign for FRESHFARM Market in Dupont Circle.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mvjantzen/3422916874/
A farmer's market sign for FRESHFARM Market in Dupont Circle.

It's lunchtime at the FRESHFARM Market at McPherson Square, just blocks from the White House, and farmer Calvin Riggleman is looking to make a sale on steak sauce.

Riggleman, a West Virginia native, is far away from the battlefields he used to know.

"I joined the marines, got mobilized for the Iraq invasion, and was telling everyone about my family's farm," he says. "I was there for my first deployment for 7 months. Then I came home, started the company, and then I volunteered to go back in 2006."

Bigg Riggs Farm is selling produce along with what Riggleman calls value added products, such as jams and jellies, products that can be sold in the off-season as a way to keep his farm profitable year round.

"I took the peaches to a manufacturing place and made peach jam, sold that in a few weeks, and then got apple butter made, and sold that in a few weeks," he says.

Now Riggleman sells his farms products at a half-dozen farmer's markets in the D.C. area, and business is growing.

"It gave me a good source of income," he says. "I've employed 7 more people just for the markets."

From a family farm to Iraq and back, he says it feels pretty food. "Just living the American dream," says Riggleman. "And still alive."

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