Their Own Design: Brothers change the blueprint of their family farm

Sam and Brian FoxThough he and his brother, Sam, were raised on a conventional dairy farm in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Brian Fox took a completely different career path before realizing that he’d rather be farming. Brian spent his days as a graphic designer in Washington, D.C., before delving full-time into tending vegetables and cultivating garlic. But ask him today what he thinks of swapping a desk job for this and it’s clear he made the right move: “I’d rather be this kind of worn-out.”

The brothers own Salem Mountain Farm in Waymart, Pennsylvania. Sam had always had the agricultural dream, but their parents ended the dairy operation in the 1970s. He and Brian knew that starting their own agricultural business, even if it was on the family land, was going to be a challenge.

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Retail Value: Improvising on sales gets to the meat of the business

Randy ShanerThe red shale soil sloping down to the Manatawny Creek in Berks County is ideally suited for grassland, and even in Pennsylvania, grassland means cattle. Here Randy Shaner, his father, Bob Shaner, and his cousin, Chad Hoffman, raise grass-based, grain-finished 100 percent Angus cattle on 900 acres at the Peterson & Shaner Farms in Douglassville, Pennsylvania.  
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Living The Dream: An idealistic vision becomes a dynamic business

The Brownback Family, owners of Spiral Path FarmSpiral Path Farm is a well-oiled machine. Tidy rows of kale, tomatoes and broccoli line sections of the farm in Loysville, Pennsylvania, and when you see their community supported agriculture (CSA) operation, it’s clear that a considerable amount of planning and organization went into the farming and the business. But it wasn’t always so well-coordinated. 
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Pork Life: Connections, smart decisions plump up production

Paul and Ember CrivellaroEmber Crivellaro speaks affectionately about the city’s most highly regarded chefs as though they’re the neighborhood kids with a lemonade stand. Ember, and her husband, Paul, are some of the preemminent porcine professionals of Philadelphia. Country Time Farm’s customers include Le Virtu, South Philly Tap Room, American Sardine Bar, Southwark and the eateries of Jose Garces and Marc Vetri.
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Family Trees: Innovation bears fruit for seven generations

Ben Wenk, the youngest generation of Wenk family fruit farmers.Fruit farmer Ben Wenk has the unusual distinction of living on a street named after his family. Three Springs Fruit Farm on Bendersville Wenksville Road in Aspers, Pennsylvania, has been in operation since 1818 and there, with his father and uncle, Wenk grows apples, cherries, peaches and pears. 

Seven generations of Wenks have called Adams County home, and it was Ben’s great-great-grandfather, Ferd Wenk, who first planted four of the family’s acres in apples. Ben’s grandfather, Donald Wenk, built on that legacy when a group of apple growers in the area formed a cooperative and bought Musselman’s, a nearby apple processing company. 

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