PVGA Annual Award Recipient 2008 – Robert C. Trax
Trax is the president of Trax Farms, a family farm operation that has been operated by six generations of the family. He oversees the farming operations, where he has worked since graduating from high school in the 1940s. The farm includes 400 acres of land. The largest acreage crops are sweet corn, pumpkins, apples, peaches, blueberries, tomatoes, beans, and strawberries as well as other fruits and vegetables. He became president and farm manager in 1980.
In addition to crops, the family runs a retail farm market that began originally with a display area built with several sheets of plywood. After several expansions, Traxes have transformed the farm’s barn into a large, modern retail outlet that includes a deli, bakery, gift and flower shop, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables from the farm and orchards plus an extensive greenhouse, nursery and garden center. The farm also features a separate cider bottling operation that supplies supermarket chains and other local retailers.
Some 15 members of the Trax family work on the farm. The farm always has used cutting-edge technologies to grow crops. The farm was the first operation in western Pennsylvania to grow strawberries on plastic and to use trickle irrigation extensively to grow such crops as peppers, tomatoes and strawberries.
Traxes use contour plowing, strip cropping and grass waterways to best utilize the hilly Washington County land. The farm also has carefully expanded into entertainment farming. Spring and fall festivals bring in tourists and long-time customers, while children and their parents can pick their own strawberries and blueberries.
Trax has worked closely with Penn State Extension over the years to both improve his own farm operation and, by providing land and support for demonstration and research plots, to help his fellow growers as well.
Trax is a past president of the Association, serving from 1998 to 1999, a Director since 1989, and a member and past vice chairman of the Pennsylvania Vegetable Marketing and Research Board. He also belongs to the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and the State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania. Locally, he belongs to the Masonic Lodge and is a trustee of Peters Creek Baptist Church. He has been named a Master Farmer and an Honorary County Agent.