Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association



Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association

An Association of Commercial Vegetable, Potato and Berry Growers

PVGA Board of Directors


– Dave is the principal owner and president of Miller Plant Farm, Inc. which is a greenhouse and farming operation in York County.  Miller Plant Farm produces a wide variety of vegetable transplants for many growers in Pennsylvania and other states.  The company also grows about 35 acres of vegetables both for wholesale sales to chain stores and their own retail market which includes a 350 member CSA.    A Director since 2002, he currently serves as the President of the Association.  He also serves as Chairman of the Pennsylvania Vegetable Marketing and Research Program Board.


First Vice President
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.

Seboard-member-brian-campbellcond Vice President
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.


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.


Past President
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.


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.

board-member-barron-hetheringtonBARRON (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.

ALLEN KEMMERER – For the past 25 years Allen 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.


DAVID KING – Dave is a partner of Harvest Valley Farms with his father, Arthur King, and Uncle, Larry King.  He has a B.S. in Agricultural Sciences with a minor in Horticulture from Penn State University.  Harvest Valley Farms is located in Valencia (20 miles north of Pittsburgh).  The farm’s market base consists of three Farmers’ Markets, Farm Market and Bakery Store, 350 member CSA, Pick-Your-Own Pumpkin Festival, Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank Farm Stand Project, and restaurant wholesale distributor.  They grow 65+ varieties of vegetables on 135 acres.  Some of Dave’s specialties on the farm include high tunnel production, employee management, website management, welding, and equipment maintenance.  Harvest Valley Farms currently has 8 high tunnels, two greenhouses, and one cold frame.


KENNETH MARTIN – Kenneth is employed at Furmano Foods Inc. He started there in 1989 as a fieldman and now as the Director of Ag. Operations. He has served on the Vegetable Planning Committee for the Convention for at least 23 years and as a director for 12 years and as president for two years. He also sits on the board of the Penn State Ag Council and on the Northeast IPM Center’s advisory board. Ken started out growing vegetables and greenhouse bedding plants in the early 80’s and in 1986 managed the Buffalo Valley Produce Auction until going to Furmano’s in 1989.


ERIC OESTERLING – From 1981 through 2012 Eric was employed as a Penn State Extension Agent responsible for informal education in commercial and hoe horticulture in Westmoreland County and southwestern Pennsylvania. He enjoyed working with vegetable and fruit growers in western Pennsylvania and across the state for over 35 years.  Eric retired from Penn State Extension in 2012.



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.

chris powell 2CHRISTOPHER POWELL – Christopher has been the owner of Good Harvest Farm in Lancaster County, Strasburg PA. for the past 28 years.   His farm consists of high tunnel tomatoes, hydroponic lettuce, a wide variety of mixed outdoor vegetable production, a retail garden center and a small CSA plus a year-round farmers market stand in Wayne, PA, at the Lancaster County Farmers Market. Christopher has been a member of PVGA for the past 28 years and the Pennsylvania Vegetable Marketing and Research Board for the past 15 years, currently serving as chairman. He is very proud to be associated with this great group of farmers who he has meet while doing day to day business and attending seasonal meetings.

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.

board-member-john-shenkJOHN 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-you-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.

board-member-jeff-stoltzfusJEFFREY 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.


THOMAS STRZELECKI – Tom is a fresh market grower in Wapwalopen, Luzerne County and has been a Director of the Association since 2012.  He grows a variety of fresh market vegetables and berries for wholesale and retail customers.  He has been involved in every end of the produce industry from chemical and fertilizer sales to wholesale broker and retail store sales.  He is managing partner of Covered Wagon Produce, a farm partnership with his parents.  Tom is also a Director and past Treasurer of the Scranton Farmers Night Market and a member of the Association’s Convention Task Force and Educational Committee.  Thomas and his wife reside in Peckville.


board-member-randy-treichler   RANDY TREICHLER – Randy, his wife and son run Star Hollow Farm, a small intensive vegetable and poultry farm in Huntingdon County, which they started in 1992. Produce is marketed weekly in Washington, DC through a 450-member CSA, a farmers market and several small wholesale accounts. He is a 20-plus year member of PVGA and a founding member of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) and Pennsylvania Certified Organic (PCO). He was also an 18-year member of Tuscarora Organic Growers Co-op. (The farm is not currently organic.) Randy has served on the board of directors of Tuscarora Co-op and the International Center of Tropical Agriculture in Colombia. He has degrees in Farm Operation and International Agricultural Development and has worked on crop and livestock farms in Iowa and California, and for the California Dept. of Food & Agriculture and the California Rice Growers Association prior to starting Star Hollow Farm.

board-member-mark-troyerMARK 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.

board-member-timothy-weiserTIMOTHY WEISER – Tim graduated in 1972 from McPherson College, McPherson, Kansas with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Arts with a teaching degree. He returned to York Springs to the family farm where they farm 800 acres of corn and soybeans, 140 acres of fruit, 20 acres vegetables, four acres blueberries and operate a retail farm market from June to December.  Tim is an active member of Adams County Fruit Growers Assoc., State Horticulture Association of PA (Past President), and PA Vegetable Growers Association as well as being Vice-Chairman of the Adams County Conservation District.  He owns and operates a wholesale and retail greenhouse operation, (18,000 sq. ft), which is open April 1-June 30.