Local Farmers Meet Nutritional and Environmental Needs Across States
John's girlfriend Keri has been taking an agriculture communications class this semester at college. She wrote an article about the farm and what we are doing that was too good to not share. We feel like this article really captures what our approach to farming and our goals for the future. Enjoy!
“We aim to nurture families, communities, and the environment by providing healthy food from our family to yours,” is the mission of the Masser family, who own Red Hill Harvest. Since September 2020, the Massers have built Red Hill Harvest from a small family farm in Pennsylvania into a business that now reaches customers across state lines.
The Masser family gathers for dinner and fellowship every Thursday night in Pitman, PA. This is where they discuss their mission and values of Red Hill Harvest.
The Massers directly market grass-fed beef, potatoes, cabbage and pasture-raised eggs. Recently, the Massers also developed a website allowing customers to shop online, purchase food products and have items shipped directly to their homes or pick up at the designated location.
“On some levels we reached our mission, but we haven’t met all of our customers yet. Through our cold shipping program, we can ship to Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, District of Columbia, West Virginia, Delaware, New York, Connecticut, Virginia and Massachusetts,” said John Masser, full time employee of Red Hill Harvest, and son of Nolan Masser. Shipping across state borders is how they plan to expand their customer demographics. They want customers to have a more personal relationship with their food by connecting with their grower.
Nolan Masser, president of Red Hill Harvest, desire to connect with customers in order to provide them with a direct food source. By marketing on a website and through social media they can get their message out
Nolan and John Masser pack their grass-fed beef for a cold shipping order on Friday, March 18, 2022, in Pitman, PA. (AP Photo/Keri Ferster)
The Massers’ ancestors directly marketed their produce at a nearby town. Then from the 1970s to early 2000s they profitably produced products for chain stores. As years went by, margins became less, and the soil felt negative effects from growing potatoes. Producing potatoes annually depletes the soil of nutrients, which leads to low yields, dependence on fertilizer and less resistance to diseases.
Masser states, “Farms should be a closed system, where everything supports each other. Our plants should feed our animals and our animals should feed us.” The impact on the environment is equally important to the Masser family. By implementing new sustainable techniques, such as rotational grazing they have seen improvement in soil health. They focus on regenerative agriculture in order to grow nutritious food that customers can trust.
For eight generations, the Masser family has grown, harvested and produced crops on 550 acres. By protecting the environment and practicing sustainable methods they can preserve the land. The Massers plan to stay connected with their roots and values for generations to come.
“I enjoy working with my family on the farm, it’s gratifying to teach children how to do something and watch them do it. For the next 10 years I’ll guide them in growing their own business. I am looking to build something that I may not be able to see,” Nolan Masser stated.
Connecting with customers, focusing on healthy foods, nurturing the environment and believing in family values is how Red Hill Harvest was founded and how it will continue to thrive in order to meet the needs of the growing population.
Three generations of the Masser Family, owners of Red Hill Harvest pose in a potato field in Pitman, PA representing the products they offer.