Before getting to where we are today, we were full-time dairy farmers for 20 years. It was in 1979 when we first tried out our green thumbs and planted strawberries. In 1980, our first season, we were selling strawberries in a wagon on the side of the road with 4 acres of fresh berries. By 1990 we had expanded the sales area and built a market on the farm. 1993 was a pivotal year for Willowtree Farm as we sold the dairy herd, retiring from the dairy business to focus on our fruits and vegetables. It was this year that we started taking our products to farmers ô markets. We now sell at nine seasonal farmers ô markets each week.
Today, we grow 100 acres of fruits and vegetables with the help of our two sons, eleven full-time seasonal laborers and several local workers. Our fresh products are sold 10% wholesale contracts and 90% to our loyal customers. We farm 350 acres of field crops, hay and pasture and raise 100 head of beef cows.
In the fall of each year, we arrange school tours for kids and adults alike to come to the farm and learn about the many aspects of farming and food. We also press our own apple cider from apples grown in my sister ôs nearby orchard. We sell our own naturally grown beef which has no antibiotics and no growth hormones.
Quality control is also very important to us and word of mouth helps us to be successful. Our best marketing tool? When a customer has a complaint we replace the product with a smile.