Jim Hook wrote and article for the Public Opinion on March 31, 2015 titled – “Chambersburg potato farm closes its gift store.” Interesting choice of words for the title, but the subtitle – Longtime local farm family to focus on growing its potatoes provides an accurate summary. The entire post from the PO is below:
CHAMBERSBURG >> The Bender family is closing its produce and gift store at 1120 Lincoln Way East to concentrate on growing potatoes.
“We want to focus on supplying people with the most satisfying potatoes people can get,” said Bryan Bender, the fourth-generation farmer. “Bender Potatoes is not going anywhere.”
His parents, David and Linda Bender, said in a joint statement on Monday that it was “a very difficult business decision” to not reopen Bender’s Potato and Produce Barn this spring. The family has operated the store in earshot of Interstate 81 for 21 years.
“Dad loves farming,” Bryan Bender said. “He doesn’t want to retire anytime soon. Mom would like to have some free time to enjoy her three grandchildren.”
The Bender family has been growing potatoes in the Chambersburg area for 100 years, starting with Charles S. Bender, who farmed the site where Chambersburg Area Senior High School was built later. His son, Charles A. “Bud” Bender, farmed along Lincoln Way in the borough. When I-81 cut into the Chambersburg farm, he bought a farm near Orrstown to grow potatoes.
His sons, Charles A. Bender Jr. and David Bender, took over when Charles Sr. died. David continues to grow potatoes there today.
The Benders grow different varieties of round white potatoes for grocery stores, food services and potato chip plants in the region.
Bryan Bender said the family has not decided about the future of the 15 acres in Chambersburg. The entrance is from Stouffer Avenue.
“We haven’t made a decision about the pumpkin patch or hay maze,” he said.
The store typically opened around May 1 and carried a variety of produce, flowers and gifts throughout the growing season. The Pumpkin Fest has been a favorite event in the fall for pick-your-own pumpkins.
David Bender will continue to collect weather data for the National Weather Service from the farm in Chambersburg.
To inquire about local honey or wholesale orders of potatoes call 264-6720, the former store phone number.