Tessa DeMaster

We Went to Pittsburgh Too! + Come Sunday to Open Gate (or Saturday, if you are brave!)

Published 5 months ago • 3 min read

Hi Reader,

I'm surprised when our little family farm does something BIG. We're just a little farm business but Reuben has big dreams and our farm members keep encouraging us to grow and get better at what we do.

Our first farm staff business trip was exciting and we hope it bears a lot of fruit.

To Pittsburgh & Back with Farmer Reuben

To find out what it takes to serve more farm members, more food, in an efficient way that keeps YOU happy with every part of the experience, we drove out to see our friend and mentor, Simon Huntley, founder of Harvie at Harvie Farms Pittsburgh.

Wray, our market assistant, and Suzanne, our office assistant, traveled with us to learn to make our process of how and what we offer to our members even better. Do we need to expand and offer more? What should our defining values be when we make these decisions?

Food You Can Trust!

The center of our business is to provide food you don't have to question and wonder about. We either grow it or we make sure we know how it is grown.

We want to keep earning that trust so it is the top question when we offer new products. Our team is committed to making this clear to our members so we'll be adding more information about each item, ingredients and info about each farm and producer. We want to do the work for you so you don't have to read labels at the store.

The packline at Harvie is longer and has more people but it runs similar to ours. Our packbarn is more beautiful though with the red doors and the stone walls. We took lots of pictures and notes.

What Can You Make with Food BEFORE it Becomes Waste?

We donate to food pantries and churches what we can't use but another way that Harvie is attacking this is by making food to sell at Harvie Kitchen. Quinoa salads with veggies, pickled veggies, and cold brew flavored coffees are popular choices by their members.

Enjoying a cup of "joe" with Simon and Jordan, the kitchen manager, we learned what it takes to add prepared food to the customizable options in our Market Boxes. REALITY CHECK: After one year of making food, Harvie Kitchen is still just a break even venture. We'll wait before we jump into trying that.

Testing Something New: Gift Baskets!

After our visit to Pittsburgh, Wrays head was spinning with ideas she'd love to try. For now we've limited her to Holiday Gift Baskets.

You can see all her beautiful creations this weekend during Open Gate. Get gift ideas before the holiday rush - wouldn't that feel great?

Still in the Dirt

But even with all this excitement -trips, events, new ideas- we are still farming in the dirt every day. My little farm girl came with me today to check on the fall greens in the greenhouse and even helped pull some weeds. We left the big weeds for the bigger farmer, though.

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It's Finally Here! Choose Sunday

The cookies are made. The flowers are picked. The Gift Baskets are wrapped. The bread is baking. Gelato is frozen. The pizza dough is ready!

Our popular herbalist from our Homesteading conference returns to the farm for this event - Jim Furey. Ask your follow up questions after all you learned in his workshops.

If you aren't sure which day to come, let me give you a hint...


The weather looks better and more of our special partners will be here. But if you want a more personal farm tour or less crowded shopping and activities, bring your rain jacket (just in case) and come on Saturday.

🍂🌾 Open Gate Farm Tour Details 🌾🍂

  • Dates: October 14th and 15th
  • Time: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
  • Location: Willow Haven Farm, 7686 Herber Rd. New Tripoli, PA 18066
  • Meadow View Beekeeping Observation Hive
  • Jim Furey - Clinical Herbalist
  • Sofia's Cottage Collective
  • Storm's End Herbal Remedies
  • Emmanuel Farm - growing microgreens
  • Buy Fresh Buy Local connects you to your local food
  • Pumpkin decorating, Rock Painting & coloring books
  • Pizza, Gelato & more
  • Barnyard Bingo See Rules here.

Let's encourage your desire to have a good, healthy way of life and food on your table that supports that goal.

We'll keep farming for you!

Reuben and Tessa DeMaster
Willow Haven Farm

P.S. Did we pick the right value? Food you can trust. Is that why you buy your food from us instead of Whole Foods, Walmart, Giant or Weis? Let me know.

P.S. NOW is a great time to become a member! Talk to Tessa at my tent during Open Gate to find out how a Market Box can fit into your life.

Thinking of unsubscribing? CSA members need to stay connected to our emails but you can limit them to just vital information about your membership by clicking here.

Tessa DeMaster

Growing up on my family's farm in Pennsylvania, I never would have pictured the life I live at Willow Haven farm. As a kid I spent summers in our large family garden we called, “The Truck Patch”. I helped mom every summer, picking beans, weeding, and cutting fruit and vegetables for the hundreds of jars of canned and frozen produce we put up. Now I spends less time out in the field and more time in the kitchen doing the same preserving for my own farm family. Farmer Reuben values my many hours doing much of the behind the scenes marketing, writing emails to cultivate customers and capturing the farm story each week. I'm always learning along the way in my quest to improve the farm experience for each of her current and future farm members in our 500+ member, year-round customized farm box delivery program. Reading our stories will connect you with your food in a way you never experienced before. Someday soon you will want to fit local food into your life and we'll be here to help you.

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