We are Randy, Chris & Sam, plus Randy’s mother Mary, now 97! Children Jack and Anna have both moved on, although Anna is now in DC. We moved to Star Hollow Farm in 1992 and turned what had been a summer getaway farm for the previous owners into a working vegetable and poultry farm. The house was built in 1840 on land granted to the first settlers by William Penn’s sons before the Revolution.
[Photo] Most of the gang in the garden last summer. (Jack is currently living out West.)
[Photo] Sam and Anna at her place of business. She's a manager there.
Neither Randy nor Chris grew up on a farm but Randy has been interested in agriculture and farming since he was a kid. He was born and raised near San Francisco but couldn’t wait to get out into the country. He studied ag at Iowa State, UC Davis and Cornell, with a different emphasis at each place. In San Francisco he met Chris, a peripatetic Pennsylvania girl. Between us we’ve traveled to 30-plus countries on four continents. After Randy finished his masters in International Ag at UC Davis and us starting a family, we moved to Colombia, South America where Randy worked for the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).
[Photo] The Board of Directors at CIAT headquarters in Colombia. That's Randy with the skinny tie back in 1990.
Coming back to the states after two years abroad, we decided to try out our dream of becoming farmers. We landed first at New Morning Farm nearby where Randy served as crew chief for that vegetable farm. We loved the area and found our dream farm two miles up the creek from them, here in the mountains of southern Pennysylvania. Sam was born there the first year and hasn't wanted to leave the area since. 2017 marks our 25th anniversary farming here and our 17th year in Adams Morgan, DC (at a neighborhood farmers' market started by Jim from New Morning Farm in 1973). It’s not an easy life and the pay isn’t great, but Randy’s home six days a week, we work together as a family, eat well and like our jobs!
[Photo] Our 1840s farmhouse in February.
Organizations and experience
We were founding members of PASA (PA Assoc. of Sustainable Ag), PCO (PA Certified Organic), longtime members of PVGA (PA Vegetable Growers Assoc.) and were longtime members of TOG (Tuscarora Organic Growers). Randy served on the TOG board of directors for many years and has recently been named to the PVGA board. He has also served as an organic farm inspector and board secretary for CIAT. Randy's ag experience prior to starting Star Hollow Farm included worker on the Iowa State research farm, Cal Davis cotton research assistant, ag curriculum development intern, CA Rice Growers Assoc. intern, marketing intern for the CA Dept. of Food & Ag, work on crop, swine and beef farms in IA and CA, and assistant to the Director of CIAT. For two years he was Coordinator of the Wilson College Community Agriculture Project -- now the Robyn Van En Center -- where he gathered, produced and distributed information about CSA in the USA.