The Berks-Mont News (http://www.berksmontnews.com)

Deep Roots Valley Farm takes a natural approach to food


By Jennifer Hetrick, For 21st Century Media

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Will and Kelly Smith of Centre Township are the husband and wife duo behind Deep Roots Valley Farm along Irish Creek Road and focus their energy on raising eggs, poultry and other meats as naturally as possible.
Their intentions are geared toward benefitting not only the land but those who buy their food, the animals—giving them a good quality of life and an admirable amount of respect that they so rightly deserve, their own children and the rest of their family, the community, and in a larger sense, the world, too.
Back in 1911, Kelly’s great-grandfather, Howard Phillips purchased the farmland where the family still works acre after acre 102 years later. The property’s farming efforts have reshaped a lot throughout the past century. The last of the dairy cows were sold in 1991, raised by her father Larry and mother Cathy Phillips who are still on the farm.
Deep Roots Valley Farm totals 150 acres and is wrapped around by the sweeping hills of the Blue Mountain. Will and Kelly are fifth generation farmers and still work with Kelly’s grandfather, Paul Phillips, who lives just down the road from the historic farmhouse and the charming tire swing their daughters sway on in the warm season.
“In high school, I had an interest in cooking,” Kelly said about studying nutrition and dietary aspects of food.
Wanting organic baby food for their first daughter, Hannah, Kelly realized years ago that there wasn’t enough of a market for it to be on any grocery store shelves. Frustrated by this, Kelly started making her own baby food at home. This served as part of how she and Will delved into farming for their living.
Since both of them have backgrounds in the restaurant industry and Will has a degree in economics, and after Kelly made Will watch the 2008 documentary “Food, Inc.,” finding their way into a chemical-free approach to farming seemed carved into the cards.
Today, they raise chicken, eggs, beef, pork and turkey. All of their animals have the freedom of roaming in different pastures across the expanse of the land with rotational grazing efforts, as movable fences are relocated periodically around the farm.
Their chicken CSA (community-supported agriculture—programs set up where people pay ahead of time for farm foods so that farmers can better afford their operational costs before foods are raised and ready) and egg CSA are big hits with locals from not only Berks County but Deep Roots Valley Farm fans in Montgomery and Lehigh counties as well.
Will and Kelly are also new at the Phoenixville Farmers’ Market in Chester County this year.
“No job I’ve ever had has been so rewarding,” Will said about his time spent working with the animals and having such appreciative customers who rave for the impeccable flavor of their eggs.
“Our belief is to heal the soil,” Kelly said about the goal of keeping the land chemical-free and bringing it back to a healthier state.
And since animals graze the land, if they aren’t grazing on and eating pesticide-ridden grass and crops, that means the final eggs, poultry and meats coming from the farm are more nutrient dense and healthy.
“We’ll never compete with industrialized food, but we appreciate knowing we’re making a difference and bringing more options to Berks County,” Will said.
Visit http://deeprootsvalley.com and search for Deep Roots Valley Farm on Facebook to find out more.