RITA RESICK – Rita is one of the four owners of 560-acre Laurel Vista Farms in Somerset County. Laurel Vista grows potatoes, green beans and sweet onions, for sale to the fresh market through Pittsburgh region grocery stores and wholesale outlets under the label “Ken and Rick’s Wholesome Vegetables,” as well as grains and hay. Rita also developed a line of shelf stable jarred products made from Laurel Vista vegetables, which are available in stores, specialty shops, local community events, and online. In her past career, Rita was President of Farr Communications, Inc., owner and operator of an AM/FM radio station in Charleroi PA. Prior to that, she was the Chief Financial Officer of Medrad, Inc., a medical device manufacturer headquartered in Warrendale PA, now a part of Bayer HealthCare. In addition to her work at Laurel Vista Farms, Rita provides professional consulting services for sustainable agricultural initiatives in Southwestern PA. She currently serves on the Boards of The Society for Contemporary Craft and United Way of Mon Valley. She is a past director of the Foundation for California University of Pennsylvania and, most recently, of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture. This year Rita has been serving on the PVGA Capacity Building Task Force. She and her husband Rick Stafford divide their time between their farm home in Somerset and their city home in Pittsburgh.
First Vice President
PETER FLYNN – Pete began dairy farming on the Jones’s farm, now the current site of the Bayard Rustin High School, in 1986. In 1989 he planted sweet corn on one-eighth of an acre and sold his harvest from the back of his pick-up truck. Deciding to concentrate solely on growing produce, he sold his cows in 1992 and opened his first stand. In 2000, Pete moved his operation to Westtown School. Built on 170 acres of the school’s land, the large farm stands on the north side of Street Road/Route 926 and grows some of the finest produce in the area. Pete, an active board member of the Chester County Food Bank, designates roughly 5 acres of land to grow for the less fortunate members of our community. In 2014, that 5 acres yielded approximately 120,000 lb. of fresh produce for the Chester County Food Bank. Customers and local chefs from all over the region travel for miles to purchase Pete’s produce.
Second Vice President
TINA FORRY – Tina along with her husband Greg and five children operate Risser Marvel Farm Market in Annville. They have operated the market the entire season since 2007 since the Marvel’s retired but since 1991 they had operated it during the fall after the Marvel’s closed. They have two high tunnels and grow about 25 acres of fresh market vegetables for their retail market that also features canned goods and local baked goods. In the spring they offer pick-your-own strawberries and in the fall a corn maze. They end the season with Christmas trees. Tina enjoys marketing and served as president of the Pennsylvania Retail Farm Market Association.
WILLIAM REYNOLDS – Bill and his wife Lois have a 106 acre produce and grain farm located in Franklin Co. They grow mainly pumpkins, gourds, and some watermelons. Most of the produce is sold retail at their farm market and fall festival, with some being sold wholesale. During the months of Sept. and Oct., they have a fall festival which has pick-your-own pumpkins, hayrides to the pumpkin patch, a large play area, a corn maze and grass maze. Through the week, they schedule school tours with an educational talk about their farm and growing pumpkins, as well as beekeeping. They have also attended the Gettysburg Farmer’s Market and Bill is past president of Gettysburg Farmer’s Market. He has served on the PVGA convention planning committee and is Secretary/Treasurer of the Association.
BRIAN CAMPBELL – Brian is a fresh market grower in Berwick, Columbia County, who was first elected to the Board in 2007. He specializes in sweet corn, pumpkins, broccoli, lettuce, and other crops which he ships in wholesale quantities. He also operates a roadside farm market which he started when he was 14 years old. A 1990 graduate of Penn State University, he and his wife have two daughters and a son. He is currently Past President of the Association and chair of the Leadership and Recognition Committee.
CHRIS HARNER – Chris is a 3rd generation fruit and vegetable grower in Centre County. I’ve been working on the farm my whole life, and full time since graduating from PSU with a BS in Ag Business Management in 1994. His farm, Harner Farm, is composed of a mix of about 40 acres tree fruit, 30 acres of vegetables, and the rest is a mix of Christmas trees, blueberries, grapes, greenhouses, high-tunnels, corn maze etc. The farm has it’s own retail location and sells wholesale to local restaurants, grocery stores and other farms. The farm has been making the transition to pick-your-own over the years, to provide on-the-farm activities for the families in our area. Currently Chris is a member of SHAP, Appalachian Fruit Growers (Past Pres.), Penn State AG Council, and Pa Farm Bureau.
BARRON (BOOTS) HETHERINGTON – Boots and his wife Robin operate B & R Farms in northwestern Schuylkill County. Daughters Katie, Morgan, and Blair represent the seventh consecutive generation to live in the farm house on Strawberry Lane. Boots and Robin farm 300 acres grain, hay, and produce. Robin starts off the growing season with hanging baskets and bedding plants in her greenhouse range. Asparagus and high tunnel tomatoes soon follow. The Hetheringtons are best known in their local area for their U-pick strawberry operation. Early sweet corn under plastic follows strawberry season with retail and wholesale sales of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and Indian corn continuing through October. Boots served several years as a member of the Penn State Board of Trustees and made “Strawberry Surprises” all week at the PVGA Farm Show Food Booth for many years. Boots served on the PVGA Board for 24 years, including two years as President, before stepping down in 2011 to serve as a Special Advisor to Gov. Corbett for four years. At the Department of Agriculture he was in charge of the state grants to the local fairs across the state.
ALAN KEMMERER – For the past 25 years Alan has owned and operated Kemmerer Farms in Columbia County. Growing fresh market vegetables on approximately 250 acres for wholesale markets as well as producing vegetable transplants for other growers in PA and NJ. Crop mix currently consists of broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, bell pepper, eggplant, and tomatoes. Prior to this Allen worked as a loan officer for Northeastern Farm Credit for 3 years after college. He presently serve on the state Labor & Safety Committee for Pennsylvania Farm Bureau as well as the PVGA Government Affairs Committee.
ARTHUR KING – Art operates Harvest Valley Farms with his son David and his brother Larry in Valencia, Pennsylvania, just north of Pittsburgh. Their marketing is just as diversified as their product list. Over 58 varieties of small fruits and vegetables are grown on 160 acres. They have a 530 member CSA, sell at three farmers markets, a home farm market, one wholesale account and host pick-your-own pumpkin activities in October. Art holds a BA Degree in Nature Conservation from California University of Pennsylvania and an associate degree in Business Management from Butler Community College. He is Past President of the Association and has served four terms on the Board. He also serves on the Capacity Development Committee.
AMY METRICK – Amy is part of Metrick’s Harvest View Farm and Market along with her parents Ken and Cathy Metrick and her sister Laura in Butler County. They farm 50 acres of vegetables and apples that they sell at their retail farm market on the farm. The family also runs a greenhouse in the spring, a CSA from June through November and a cider press from September through December. Amy graduated from Pennsylvania College of Technology with an associate degree in ornamental horticulture plant production and a bachelors in business management in 2014. She currently works for Penn State Extension as the Butler County 4-H Educator. Amy is a member of the Butler County Farm Bureau, Butler Farm Show and Mt. Chestnut Presbyterian Church.
MICHAEL ORZOLEK – Mike is Professor Emeritus of Vegetable Crops in the Department of Plant Science at The Pennsylvania State University. Before his retirement in July 2012, he had a three-way appointment – 60% Extension, 22% Research and 18% Teaching. Since his retirement he has kept active conducting applied field research and moved his office to the Horticulture Research Farm at Rock Springs. He has done extensive research on stand establishment, plastic mulches, high tunnels, weed management and tillage systems. Mike is still the current Director of the Penn State Center for Plasticulture and the CP High Tunnel Research and Education Facility at Rock Springs. Dr. Orzolek formerly was Extension Vegetable Specialist at the University of Delaware (1974-81). He received his B.S. in Biology from Alliance College, his M.S. in Horticulture from West Virginia University, and his Ph.D. in Horticulture/Botany from the University of Maryland.
JAMES REIFF – James has been farming produce for over 10 years on his home farm in Leola, PA. Although James has grown pumpkins, tomatoes, cantaloupes, and watermelons, his current operation involves an acre of greenhouse tomatoes and three acres of a line of large gourds that he has developed. He has also started a wholesale citrus marketing business. In his free time he volunteers with Mennonite Disaster Service and serves on their Board.
JOHN SHENK – John would need to give credit to the 4-H program for creating an interest in growing berries and vegetables at a young age. He did not grow up on a farm, but was able to get a start in farming by growing and direct marketing them in Philadelphia. His He and his wife Linda have farmed with their family for 33 years. Along the way, they began to concentrate on growing strawberries for pick-your-own and direct sales. More recently, the focus on strawberries led to developing a strawberry cultivator and beginning Hillside Cultivator Co. He feels very fortunate to have a very good grower organization in Pennsylvania.
ROBERT SHENOT – Rob is a 6th generation grower from Wexford, Allegheny Co. Rob, along with his wife Leah and his parents run a 100+ acre fruit and vegetable farm consisting of 20 acres of orchard (apple and peach), and a wide variety of vegetable crops. The Shenots market their produce through their own retail market located on the farm which is situated in the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh. Rob graduated from Penn State in 2001 with a B.S. in Horticulture and now lives on the farm.
JEFFREY STOLTZFUS – Jeff graduated from Penn State in 1985 with a degree in Agriculture Education. After spending six years working for cooperative extension in water quality projects, he has spent the past 20 years working as the Adult Ag Instructor with Eastern Lancaster County. His responsibilities have included providing educational meetings and consulting for small vegetable growers in eastern Lancaster County. He has worked closely with both the Leola and Weaverland Produce Auctions, as well as the Lancaster County Vegetable Farmers Cooperative. He serves on the Simply Sweet Onion Committee. He cooperated on research and extension activities with Penn State and Cornell. On his small home farm, he raises four acres of pumpkins and recently added strawberries in addition to livestock and grain.
JONATHAN STRITE – Jon is a 1998 graduate of Middletown Area High School and 2001 graduate of Pennsylvania State University with degrees in horticulture and ag-business. Upon graduation from college he returned to his family’s farm full time. Strite’s Orchard was established in 1914 and currently consists of 300 acres split equally between fruits and vegetables. Their main focus is the fresh market with 95% of their produce being sold through their on-site farm market that has been in operation since the 1950’s and which now includes a CSA. They also operate several greenhouses where they grow bedding plants as well as all of the vegetable transplants that they use throughout the year. They also have added a high tunnel for early season tomato production. Jon’s primary role on the farm has been production.
MARK TROYER – Mark owns and operates Troyer Growers in Waterford, Erie County, consisting of 1,600 acres of grains and 400 acres of potatoes for processing and chips. He is a board member and past president of the Erie County Farm Bureau as well as chairman of the Pennsylvania Potato Research Board.
JOEL WEAVER – Joel is the co-owner of his family’s fifth generation dairy farm located in Somerset County, which he operates with his brother, Mark Weaver. He has been growing and marketing sweet corn since the 1970’s. The farm also includes 140 acres of grains, hay, and beef cattle. In 2004, the dairy cows were sold and the farm added five acres of vegetables and 3,000 square feet of high tunnels, day-neutral strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. He markets vegetables, beef, and fruits through a home retail market and four tailgate retail markets in Somerset and Cambria County. Joel has been active member in the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau by lobbying and representing farmers from his area for over thirty-eight years.