When it comes to Bucks County’s most iconic properties, there are few as beloved as Maximuck’s Farm Market in Buckingham Township.
Ideally located at the corner of Long Lane and Street Road, the expansive 102-acre property has been family owned and operated for more than six decades.
Created through the dedication, vision and hard work of Walt and Sally (Tanner) Maximuck, the farm has thrived since Walt returned to his Bucks County home from his distinguished service in World War II, where he was a member of the 8th Air Force.
Through their 60-year marriage, the couple tirelessly worked the farm, with an uncompromising passion for the land. It wasn’t unusual to see Sally in the fields driving the tractor and lawn mower, tending to the lush vegetable garden. Walt, a leading figure in the Bucks County farming community, was among the first to encourage soil conservation, using terracing and no-till farming.
Today, Matthew Maximuck Sr. and his son, Matt Jr., run the farm, which continues the family tradition of innovation, as it carefully transitions the operation to eco-friendly growing. Tomatoes are planted in organic material and grown using recycled bags, providing customers a cleaner and more nutritious vegetable. Lettuces are grown hydroponically, and the entire market’s energy needs are met with state-of-the-art solar panels. Collective energy systems power the farming and cultivating process as well.
So, it only seems fitting that the Maximucks, so committed and connected to the land, would choose to protect it with a conservation easement, as Walt had wanted.
Now, said Matt Sr., “We’ll be able to grow fresh produce and flowers year round and keep the beauty of the farm so that everyone can enjoy it.”
Held by Buckingham Township, Bucks County and the state of Pennsylvania, this vital preservation of a Buckingham landmark not only preserves a highly valuable property – that includes approximately 20 acres of prime farmland and 75 acres of farmland of statewide importance – it completes 257 acres of contiguous farmland preservation that spans Buckingham and Solebury townships.
“Buckingham Township is thrilled to add Maximuck’s Farm to its 3,932.53 acres of preserved farmland, adding to the 6,113 total protected acres,” said Maggie Rash, chairwoman of the Buckingham Township Board of Supervisors. “It’s a privilege to continue to support a true farming family and a decades-old farm market that serves the community. Thank you to the Maximuck family, our partners, Heritage Conservancy and Bucks County, and the residents of Buckingham who support preservation efforts.”
“While the preservation of 100 acres of agricultural land is always important, the preservation of agricultural lands that provides scenic vistas from well travelled roads is even more exciting,” said Jeff Marshall, president of Heritage Conservancy. “They add to the quality of life in a community as well as to the quality of locally grown food. We thank the Maximuck family and our partners for all of us who will benefit from driving by this property forever.”
Despite its long agricultural history and deep commitment to preserving its farming community and rural heritage, Buckingham has had to battle at times to protect its natural environment from development.
In a 2009 update of its Open Space Plan, Buckingham officials noted, “The preservation of the township’s farms remains our principal priority; it is both the means of preserving an important local industry and of protecting the natural landscape and the historic built environment that are integral components of it.”
The Maximuck property lies within the Paunacussing Watershed, a tributary to the Delaware River, making its preservation critical. Only seven properties, including the Maximuck property, fall within the 100-acre to 180-acre size in the watershed. Their primary value, states the 2005 Paunacussing Watershed Conservation Plan, is due to their open, scenic viewscapes and groundwater recharge benefits.
“Where they are contiguous, their conservation importance is even greater. Entire scenic landscapes also could be protected when protecting properties of this size,” the conservation plan concluded.
Richard Harvey, director of Bucks County’s Agricultural Preservation/Open Space Preservation program agrees.
“The Maximuck farm is a significant farm in Bucks County with a successful on-site farm market. We are pleased to finally see this farm preserved. It will add to the over 17,000 acres of preserved farmland through the Bucks County Agricultural Land Preservation Program,” he said.
The preservation success of Maximuck’s Farm Market was made possible by Bucks County Agricultural Land Preservation Program; Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture; Buckingham Township; and Heritage Conservancy via Heritage Conservancy’s Gory Preservation Fund and a grant from the 1771 Foundation and the Land Trust Alliance.