JFR’S first walking interview. Visit Oregon Olive Mill and get some olive oil.
The Schmidt’s are extremely active in the farm industry as advocates for agriculture in general and are focused on trying to dispel some of the myths they see as villainizing family farms and larger farm enterprises.
This is a fascinating conversation with the owners of an extremely large farm and believe me, it’s all about family. I think they think just like I do with just some extra zeros on the ends of their numbers.
Recently I talked with Lisa Kershner from North Star Orchard in Cochranville, Pa.
North Star is synonymous with fruit and producer only farmers markets in the Philadelphia area.
They seem to be at all the best, busiest markets.
Lisa and her husband Ike have grown their orchard business along with the growth in the local food movement.
North Star is no hobby farm; it’s the real deal.
This is an innovative business. They aren’t afraid to try new things; they are excellent marketers and they aren’t afraid to evolve as the local food industry changes.
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John Hopkins and his wife own and operate Forks Farm. They have been in the local food and grass based meat business for a long time.
Here’s their story in their own words:
In 1992 we grew our first batch of pastured chickens for ourselves and a few friends. Since then our farm has evolved from a simple newsletter and order form for pastured foods to a community-supported farmer’s market. On market day you’ll meet other local farmers who share our desire for locally-grown, chemical-free, nutritious foods.
Through your purchases on market day you become an active participant in the development of a successful, local foodsystem. Every time you buy a dozen eggs here you are not just supporting Forks Farm. Your purchases extend to a dozen other local family farms, providing the glue that holds this local food system together.
The land of covered bridges
Our 85-acre farm lies just upstream from the “fork” between Huntington and Fishing Creeks here in Columbia County, Pennsylvania. This is also the site of the famous “Twin Covered Bridges,” the only twin covered bridges in the United States. There are twenty-three of these historic covered bridges nestled within the rolling hills and farmland of Columbia County. While you’re at the farm, you can walk down to the Josiah Hess covered bridge, built by the Hess family in 1876, the original homesteaders of our farm.
Local, fresh, healthy, and sustainable. Our goal is to be your local source for fresh, clean, pastured poultry, eggs, beef, lamb, and pork of the highest quality using sustainable farming methods that contribute to the health of our customers, community and environment.
Pasture-raised with no drugs. Our animals grow to maturity on pasture without the heavy grain feeding found in feedlots and confinement facilities today. Pasture raising provides our animals a low-stress, high-quality life, improves the soil, and helps maintain the landscape. We don’t believe artificial fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, growth promotants, hormones and antibiotics belong in our food chain, so we don’t use them.
Best nutrition for us. Foods raised from naturally-enriched soils and forages without chemical inputs taste better, keep longer, and are more nutritious than the food products you can buy at the grocery store. Our pasture foods are lower in saturated fats, calories, and cholesterol, and are higher in essential fatty acids and vitamins.
Spiral Path Farm, owned and operated by Mike and Terra Brownback is a 200 acre plus USDA Certified Organic vegetable farm in central Pennsylvania. The Brownbacks recently erected 4 acres of high tunnels on a separate piece of property.
As with every operation I’ve talked with both large and small with Spiral Path it’s all about family. These are forward thinking folks that exude passion for growing vegetable organically. Very good business people, the Brownbacks have evolved Spiral Path into an extremely large and successful vegetable farm.
Spiral Path markets about half of their produce through a CSA concept. The rest of their production is sold via wholesale channels. They started their CSA in 1994.
This is a discussion with two pioneers in the organic vegetable industry who are committed to excellence.
You’ll learn a lot from this one.
Today my cousin David Runk joins me to reminisce about the family farm. My mom grew up on the farm that David grew up on. We talk about David’s childhood and the farm stories he remembers about the good old days.