By Lauren Warner
For a start, you can go directly to the farm. You’ll meet the farmers and their families who are happy to show you around. You’ll meet the animals. When you see that they are cage-free and grass fed, it may influence your choices as a consumer. There are dozens of growers selling directly to consumers. Some of them are profiled here.
Buying locally “is a huge movement,” says Tom Colbaugh, co-owner of Happy Farms. “The local community is just now starting to get an idea of who has things in their backyards. They’ve been disconnected because of the system that’s set up. They don’t really know that there’s wonderful fresh food locally.”
Farms profiled here, like many local farms, engage environmentally sustainable practices when cultivating land, manufacturing dairy products or meat. Many employ organic guidelines and some are certified. All farms listed are within a scenic 25 minute drive of Easton.
Klein Farms (410 Klein Rd., Easton) is a dairy farm selling raw milk, brown eggs, cheese, yogurt, and farm-raised beef. It is the only cow’s milk farmstead cheese operation in the five-county region. Klein Farms dairy products are all-natural and free of additives.
“Our customers who are lactose intolerant can drink raw milk. It’s totally different from store milk because it’s got all the natural enzymes and bacteria.” Pasteurization and homogenization kill these healthy organisms. The milk is tested by an independent lab and licensed for sale at the farm.
Happy Farm (1911 Gallows Hill Rd., Kintnersville) offers free-range, vegetarian-fed poultry and brown eggs in a USDA-inspected setting of 11 acres.
Tom Colbaugh and his partner Jean Nick raise ducks, geese, chickens and turkeys. Standing by the turkey chicks, Colbaugh says, “Turkeys are a whole lot different than chickens as far as their demeanor. They peck at your fingers.” He reaches his hand in to demonstrate and the baby chicks come running. He laughs heartily.
The eggs taste great and feature higher nutritional value, omega-3 fatty acids and bright orange yolks. Happy Farms poultry is never caged and has been chemical-free for three years.
Harvest Home Meats (390 Harvest Ln., Bangor) raises 100% grass-fed beef cattle. “Most of my customers come out and take a look at the farm. When they see the way we treat the cows, they want to buy their meat here,” says owner Richard DiFebo. Indeed, these cows live peacefully, grazing the lush, rolling hills.
The herd is presently comprised of Black Angus females—heifers —who are bred with a Red Devon bull. “All of the calves are half Red Devon and the rest Black Angus with Holstein blood. Red Devon perform well in the grass. The meat is very tender. DiFebo’s goal is to gradually convert the herd to Red Devon—the breed of the American colonists—which is slowly returning from a state of near-extinction.
“Cattle over the years—in this part of the country—have adapted to be finished on grain. Their whole body structure changes. They’re very much out of proportion. If you look at pictures of cattle from 100 years ago, they’re very short in comparison.”
Harvest Home Meats hosts agricultural events and is a participant of Project Grass, a state program designed to enhance Pennsylvania agriculture through better utilization of grasslands. According to the program’s website, “100% of [grass-fed] participants reported that their cattle were healthier, with less hoof, leg and udder problems.”
Meat is currently sold by the quarter and customers contact the farm directly to arrange orders.
Clear Spring Farm (206 Garr Rd., Easton) is a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) produce farm owned by Dave and Terry Kromer. You can purchase a share in the vegetables grown on the farm. As a member, you will receive a variety of vegetables harvested at peak of ripeness, flavor, and vitamin content. They have approximately 30 varieties of produce grown in two high tunnels and outside. In the back, you’ll see a pumpkin patch and a corn maze. If you show up to shop in the summer, you might watch Dave pick strawberries or pluck spinach. You can’t get produce any fresher than that.
They’ve planted seven types of berries in one high tunnel to see which berry performs the best. These will all be sold at the on-site farm stand. They triple grow to best utilize the soil. Grown outside are potatoes, kale, tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, peppers and squash. Vegetables are harvested from May through November.
In the fall, visit for pumpkin picking and enjoy the corn maze. The Kromers have grown pumpkins for over twenty years. “Last year we had the best crop ever—unreal.” After the fall holidays, they are able to feed pumpkins to the cows all winter long. The numbers at Clear Spring speak for themselves. Each year, the number of shareholders in their CSA program has doubled.
Franklin Hill Vineyards (7833 Franklin Hill Rd., Bangor) is the oldest Pennsylvania winery, at 27 years. In the first year of production, owner Elaine Pivinski scored three awards and has been fermenting grapes ever since. “I drink wine for a slew of reasons,” Pivinski says. “One is that it makes food taste better.” The winery features wines, from reds, whites and roses to specialty wines.
“I’m so proud that, in today’s economy, people are buying locally.” Franklin Hills features cooperative marketing; along with her wines, you can purchase jams and jellies made down the road, or chips and dips made from a farm in Ohio.
Tours are held twice weekly, and your best bet is to plan on the Saturday tour. Elaine’s tour flows effortlessly, as she often pauses to share laughs with visitors.
If you can’t make it to a farm, you can always visit one of the local markets, and even some supermarkets, which also sell locally grown items.
Nature’s Way Market (143 Northampton St., Easton) offers many locally sourced products. Proprietor Dave Harder cites buying locally as “an incentive as of late. We have a long list of local products. Pre-processed foods and meats have diminished as the quality is often compromised greatly.
“We deal through a distributor with local products. We have raw sauerkrauts. We purvey miso from Vermont, and we have tofu and tofu products from Allentown. We have pasteurized goat milk yogurt, locally made. We also have goat cheeses. Seasonally, we have some local vegetables. We sell honey that’s produced locally,” Harder explains.
The Harders are trained herbalists and their employees are very knowledgeable. Dave explains, “They have a sincere interest in what we do here and have incorporated it into their own lives. We do buy and sell locally and support a downtown environment—it reflects who we are. We buy intelligently; provide people with healthy options, at the same time supporting a downtown environment.”
The Easton Farmers’ Market (Centre Square, Easton) is the oldest continuously run open-air market in the nation. Saturdays May through November, find local growers and farmers at the City’s center, offering produce and other goods fresh from the farm. CSA shares from select farms are available for pick-up by members. Organizers have worked to bring fun events for the whole family each market day. Chances are you know a little someone who would be interested in the Zucchini 500, or the Junebug Parade. There is also an activity tent for the kids. The market is a hop, skip and a jump away from a handful of local eateries, all kid friendly, with libations for the rest of us.
If you want raw milk, free-range chicken and eggs, or grass-fed beef, you need not look much further than your backyard. The health benefits are undeniable, as is the peace of mind. By supporting your local farmers, you are helping to maintain a way of life, preserving the scenic farmland and our great open spaces.