In today’s society, many young adults tend to forget about the importance of their heritage, either by chance or choice. In the Wriglesworth family, one cannot escape the traditions and heritage driving this family because the legacy is still very much alive in the hills of Grampian, Pennsylvania, at the Knob Farm.
Purchased in 1864 by the first family members, the farm started as a simple 167-acre homestead, complete with a small home, log barn and an orchard that still has one original apple tree remaining today. The farm went on to become one of the most prosperous farms in the county by the end of the nineteenth century. Our family survived the Great Depression by pedaling butter, eggs, baked goods and chickens to the local town’s doctors and lawyers. As modern farming practices were adapted, the fourth generation started a dairy business with just 28 cows in 1950. Over the next 72 years, generations of family members worked hard and continued accepting new technology to become a successful 75 cow commercial herd, complete with a freestall barn and ten stall milking parlor, all while raising their own heifers and farming over 200 acres to produce their own feed.
The Farm Now
In June 2022, my father Jeff, the sixth generation, and current owner, sustained a severe knee injury. Given the extent of the damage, the time of year and lack of permanent help, the quick decision to sell the milking herd had to be made. Being the only other full-time employee, I was also a busy mother of four kids ranging between the ages of four months to ten years. With the help of family members, I was able to continue to care for the remaining 60 head of young heifers and tended to the crops. By fall, my dad was able to return to some light chores, but we faced the reality everyone had asked all summer-what’s next for the farm?
The Creamery at Knob Farm
The decision to sell the cows was made in such haste we did not have any idea where we would go from there, but we knew we wanted to continue the tradition of a working farm into the 7th and 8th generations. The Creamery at Knob Farm evolved from our rich family history and the desire to preserve the farm’s legacy and heritage.
We had been interested in selling milk directly to consumers for a few years but really explored the micro-dairy process last fall and believed it to be a good fit to allow us to continue to dairy farm but on a smaller, more personal scale. Equipment was purchased in November and, since we had been milking cows until recently, our facilities needed very little modifications to pass the inspection required for the micro-dairy.
We currently sell both pasteurized and raw non-homogenized milk directly to consumers at a self-serve stand on the farm as well as a few local businesses. Fortunately, we kept all our young heifers and are able to use them as the foundation of our new milking herd. We use a slower pasteurization method that involves a lower temperature and longer duration than that of a commercial dairy processing plant. It is equally as effective at killing bacteria while preserving the beneficial enzymes and proteins which makes our milk have a richer flavor.
We are also approved for raw milk sales directly to our consumers. Raw milk requires additional testing on both the cows and the milk to ensure consumer health and safety. Strict, frequent milk testing and facility inspections are performed to make sure the Creamery site and products meet or exceed government standards.
Our flavored milks are made with organic or natural based flavors without the use of artificial colors or preservatives which is important to many of our customers. These pints have become very popular among local kids. Seeing their excitement over nutritious milk is the most rewarding aspect of our creamery. We hope to someday expand to offer butter, cream, and ice cream.
We are so blessed to be given a second chance to continue dairy farming and are able to provide an opportunity for the next generation, the eighth, to grow up living the farm life like so many generations have enjoyed before them.
Learn more about the PA Preferred farm: click here.