Family Farms Equal Family Fun Locally-Grown Fresh Fruits and Vegetables and So Much More!

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By Marianne Reid Anderson

Studies show that children are more likely to eat fresh, seasonal produce when it comes from a farm or farm market that they have visited. Our local farms and farm markets make sure families and children are welcome, involved and encouraged to learn or enjoy their visits to their local farm, offering kid favorites, activities, tours and so much more.

Butler Farm Market – Located at 901 Evans City Road in Renfrew, Butler County, the Butler Farm Market was founded in 1983 by Harry Shiever. The Butler Farm Market is open year-round, providing fresh produce, a meat department and deli counter. During the main season, they bring in fresh produce from the Tri-County Auction which is primarily comprised of Amish farmers. The Butler Farm Market is also known for its incredible in-house kitchens, offering 3 homemade soups a day, sandwiches and hoagies, heat and serve entrees, daily specials and homemade, fresh-dough PIZZA. You can even get their incredibly popular in-house, hickory-smoked, pulled-pork on a pizza topped with BBQ sauce and cheddar and mozzarella cheeses. For more information and to view their weekly specials and kitchen menu, visit

Dillner Family Farm – The Dillner Family Farm has been in the family since 1940, and is currently owned and operated by Don and Jane Dillner and their family. This year, their children are joining the business now that they have graduated college, with their son graduating from Penn State with a degree in horticulture and their daughter from Butler County Community College with a degree in business management. Dedicated to sustainable agriculture, they have expanded their farming to include their new farm in Summit Township in Butler County location in addition to their Gibsonia location. Their CSA* program also continues to grow as they expand. They schedule tours of the farm and their high tunnel greenhouses and encourage children to participate and ask questions with lots of wholesome family fun activities including teaching children how to seed their favorite vegies. In July, there will also be u-pick blueberry bushes available for families to enjoy. Visit their website or email them directly at for schedules, events and additional information.

Eichner’s Farm Market and Greenhouses – At Eichner’s Farm, the focus is on Farming ‘und’ Naturopathy (FUN), co-partnered with Ron Eichner and Dr. Millie Lytle Naturopathic Doctor, ND, MPH, CNS, which brings together two very unique paths of farming and naturopathy to form the “Yellow Brick Road of Nutrition and Wellness”. Naturopathy focuses on the body’s wellness through properly grown and fed produce and meats. For example, at Eichner’s, their laying hens produce a high energy white and brown shell eggs and their chicken feed is fortified with vitamins, minerals and amino acids to enhance nutritional values and their homemade gourmet sauerkraut is fermented and offers natural pro-biotics for the digestive tract. Like our high energy eggs, not all sauerkraut is the same. Two ounces a day of fermented sauerkraut gives you ample pro-biotics. They also offer Pasture Maid Creamery’s raw un-pasteurized and un-homogenized milk and cheeses. Raw dairy is live with all the beneficial vitamins, minerals and enzymes and their fields are organically fertilized which provides countless vitamins, minerals and trace elements to enhance all our vegetables. Eichner and Dr. Lytle are also in the process of recording several podcasts on wellness and the benefits of healthy farming. To learn more, Eichner’s offers a must read book by Dr. Millie called “Eating for Meaning Workbook” and Ron is available on-site to answer questions and assist customers of all ages with their needs. Visit us (coming soon) at and or email or call 724-935-2131.

Harvest Valley Farms –the King family owns, operates and has expanded to a total of six different farms as part of Harvest Valley Farms. Its main farm market on Cunningham Road in Gibsonia but their produce is available at several locations throughout the Pittsburgh area, through their very popular CSA program and our proud new owners of their second farm market in Oakmont. Harvest Valley Farms has been in operation for four generations. Co-owner Art King knows full-well the positive effect farms have on children, saying “Children definitely eat more fruits and vegetables when they visit the farms where they are grown. At Harvest Valley, children are encouraged to take their own bag and fill it themselves with what they want to eat, they also love to visit the chickens and the goats, especially Buster the Goat our mascot and known for his friendly and gentle way.” They also have lots of special events including tours, an open house in July that highlight various vendors and will be giving out free samples. In the fall, they offer special “pre-school tours” and their amazing Harvest Festival filled with children’s activities. On you next visit, be sure and stop by the bakery. For more information, visit their website at and be sure to join their many social media followers and Like their highly popular Facebook page.

Kaelin’s Family Farm – is located on Brandt School Road in Franklin Park.  Kaelin’s is open from mid-March to Christmas. They start with beautiful flowers and baskets, transition to delectable produce and then they even sell trees, wreaths and cookie trays at Christmas. Kaelin’s farm market also includes the Kaelin Country Kitchen that offers fresh daily lunch specials, breakfast and homemade baked goods. There is also lots of homemade fare for pick-up to take home and heat-up for the family such as homemade stuff peppers For more information or to download their daily lunch menu that includes daily homemade soups and sandwiches such as their Turkey Apple Panini, Corned beef or Turkey Reuben’s, and even hot dogs and PB&J’s for the kids among many others delights, go to

Reilly’s Summer Seat Farm and Garden Center – Conveniently located at 1120 Roosevelt Road off of Mt. Nebo Road, Reilly’s is an extensive farm market and garden center that also hosts an extensive array of special events including family festivals, hayrides, tours, and parties such as “Fairy-topia” where your little girl can enjoy creating her own fairy garden while enjoying treats and tea. Reilly’s is also a great place to celebrate a birthday where you have your own picnic area and table for activities with a hay ride to hand-pick a seasonal item, then onward to visit with the animals and then the hay ride takes you back to the picnic area. In addition, they have family-oriented u-pick berry fields for several varieties available throughout the summer. They also have an amazing harvest festivals with as many as 11 wagons to the pumpkin patch, corn maze and haunted house; For more information about their market, garden center, upcoming events and festivals, or to book a party visit

Shenot Family Farm – Now open year-round, Shenot’s is located on Wexford Run Road between I79 and Rt-19 in Wexford. Ed and his son Rob are 5th and 6th generation Shenot farmers, both with degrees in horticulture from Penn State. In addition to their incredible produce, including over 12 varieties of sweet corn that are staggered throughout the growing season and award-winning apple cider, they provide instructions, ingredients and know-how for canning, preserving and pickling for the resurgence of this popular family activity. In addition, their delectable homemade fudge, available in over 60 flavors in height of season, is now available and packaged for wedding, shower and party favors. Be sure and take home some popcorn too for a natural, fluffy yet crunchy, incredibly tasty snack. For more information, check out their website at and learn about all the harvest activities too including, hay rides, pumpkin patch and their incredibly popular corn maze.

We here at Northern Connection would like to applaud these hard-working families and we encourage our readers to support our local farms and businesses. If you know of any other farms, festivals or events, be sure and let us know at or call us at 724-940-2444.

*CSA – stands for a Community Supported Agriculture program in which, for a fee, you become a member and receive a box of weekly produce for you and your family to enjoy, for pick-up at selected, convenient locations.

[Editor’s Note: As a special note, on behalf of all of us here at Northern Connection magazine, I would like to personally thank the many wonderful families that took the time from all their hard work to speak with me. Your hard work and dedication is greatly appreciated and inspiring.]