Walter Himmelreich with great granddaughter Jenelle Wiker, 1987
In 1947, when Walter and Jennie Himmelreich, were in their mid thirties with five young kids, they decided to buy a new farm. When Walter saw the Old Homestead property in Ronks, Pennsylvania, he immediately felt connected to the spot and was especially taken with the healthy black soil. At the auction for the property, he set a price limit for himself, and began bidding. In the end, another man outbid him. Sad and defeated, Walter did not look for another property; he just couldn't get that particular farm out of his mind. Several months later, the man who overbid Walter at the auction contacted him, saying he had this feeling that he needed to sell the farm to the man he'd outbid. So Walter bought the farm from him for his own original highest bid. And so began the Old Homestead Farm.
Nowadays, Bobby is the farmer. He, along with his sister Denisa and their cousin Jennie are the third generation to farm Old Homestead. They are now training Jenelle, Bobby's daughter, who will be the fourth generation farmer.
On 60 acres, we grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables which we sell at our farmstand, to restaurants, and wholesale to other farmers. Much of our produce goes to the members of our CSA. Bobby's specialty is hydroponic lettuce and tomatoes which he grows in four greenhouses. We have a large flower shop as well where we offer mostly annual bedding plants, but also some perennials, mums, easter bulbs, and poinsettias.