A 10th-generation farm in Mohnton is keeping up with the times to preserve the family farm.
“You can’t farm like your forefathers did or the generation before you,” said co-owner Mark Weber.
Allegheny Valley Farms on Weber Road in Mohnton is the site of 100 acres on two different parcels that date back to the 1700s. Current owners Mark and Kim Weber take pride in their family history.
Henry Weber bought their farm 10 generations ago from Pennsylvania’s founder, William Penn. They cherish the original deed that is written on a sheepskin and signed by William Penn. Weber ancestors were Mennonites. The Alleghany Meeting House, where many of their ancestors are buried, is a national historic meeting house and cemetery bordering the back of the property along Horning Road.
The two-parcel farm is the site of the original log house now covered with siding, and a more than 200-year-old farmhouse where they live with their two sons, Aaron, 21 and Noah, 19, the 11th generation.
Aaron, a Garden Spot graduate, works on the farm with a long-term goal to make his future here and maintain the farm’s heritage. Noah, a Governor Mifflin graduate, is studying at Northampton Community College, then going on to St. Joseph’s University where he has a baseball scholarship and will major in Food Management.
“You can’t farm like your forefathers did, or the generation before you. During the years, our family realized we needed to diversify and expand our offerings, to continue to survive and preserve our family farm,” said Mark Weber who worked these same fields in his youth.
His wife, Kim, added, “In order to sustain the farm you have to change with the times. Years ago, we decided to think outside of the box. After dairying for 25 years, in 2006 we began experimenting with processing yogurt, and sour cream because of the on-going fluctuating milk prices. We do all our own marketing, production, packaging and delivery.”
For the past 10 years they have been making and selling yogurt and sour cream. It is a long process. Hours are long, early to rise on the farm 3 a.m. then early to bed by 6 p.m. Their farm fresh yogurt is made from fresh milk from Brown Swiss cows, raw sugar, fresh fruit puree’, and probiotics. The day before it’s cooked for four hours then left to incubate for 8.5 hours. The next day by 5 a.m. it is cooled and packaged then delivered.
They market to commercial accounts: bakers, restaurants, food service operators, and grab’ n’ go facilities, grocers, along with some home users. It is used for parfaits, dressings, toppings for veggies, smoothies and parfaits. Mark developed a special process that he uses to create a vat set and non-homogenized sour cream. The process is the same with a longer incubation time of 22 hours. Also made from Brown Swiss cow milk and 40 percent fat cream from local dairies, it is used by restaurants, food service, manufacturing ingredients and home use.
Also, they raise 27,000 chickens annually for the live market. The chicks arrive just a few hours old from a local hatchery and are shipped to live markets at 6 and 12 weeks outside of the Berks County area. Aaron raises around 400 rabbits both bucks and does in a special barn. They are also shipped live to markets outside the area. Goats are also raised in another barn. Some of the buildings and land are also rented out to others.
A farm favorite is Kim’s Bakery. Kim, known in the Tri-County area for participation in competition bake-offs and her custom baked goods, won a Blue Ribbon for her Carmel Pecan Apple Pie in Harrisburg and participates for “Cupcake Wars for Restoring Hope” charity and others. Every Tuesday at St. Joseph’s Hospital on Route183 her products are there.
Her homemade baked goods are produced in a certified kitchen on the farm from top quality ingredients including their sour cream. She sells retail and is known for her unique and delicious personal special orders: theme cakes, cupcakes, cookies, pies, whoopie pies, bars, quick and yeast breads, and many seasonal and holiday items. Gluten free is a specialty.
Their Mission: “We continue to diversify our products, allowing operations to grow and expand, as our family begins to produce new items and services for our customer base. We develop, produce and provide top quality local products to be utilized and enjoyed by those who purchase for manufacturing, a recipe ingredient, or consumption at special events and holidays. Our products can be used in your kitchen, restaurants, or manufacturing facilities.”
This 10th generation farm brings history full circle from the days of William Penn, and Weber ancestors to today’s mission to develop, produce, and provide top quality local products, to be utilized and enjoyed by those who purchase for manufacturing, a recipe ingredient, for consumption at special events and holidays, and can be used in your kitchen or manufacturing facilities.