The Farmers and the Land
Don and Becky were one of the first organic growers in Western PA. After spending several years renting farms east of Pittsburgh, Don and Becky moved their growing young family to near Zelienople in 1979, purchasing a farm which had been used for dairy cows. One of the attractions of the the farm was that it was obvious that previous farmers had taken care to rotate crops and return valuable manures to the land. We've continued and enhanced these time-tried methods through innovative, organic, environmentally-friendly, sustainable agriculture practices while raising three daughters.
The original owners of our farm in the 1800’s homesteaded the property as the first house and barn on the road (which was subsequently named Ziegler Rd., after them). Hand hewn beams in the barn and other outbuildings indicate logs from the property were used in it's sturdy construction. In true farm-family style, they subsequently built a couple of more houses and two more barns (also still standing!) One of these is ‘down the lane’ from our farm and for the last 20+ years has been that of our neighbors the Lewis’s who produce grass-fed beef. Over the years prior to our purchase, the several hundred acres of original farm property was divided into smaller sections, the heart of which Don and Becky have slowly pieced back together into the 80 acres which comprise the farm today.
Many local Pittsburgh farmers have benefited from Don and Becky’s knowledge. Numerous other organic producers started as ‘helpers’ on our farm, going on to running successful farm businesses themselves. Don and Becky have always led by example, helping to sustain and grow the local farming community. In 2013, they were the recipients of the Sustainable Agriculture Leadership Award given annually by the Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) in recognition of their efforts as leaders in sustainable agriculture for over 40 years.
Don and Becky were amongst the original members of PASA, which is now the largest statewide, member-based sustainable farming organization in the United States. They attended the very beginning annual PASA conferences, an event which has blossomed into the largest sustainable agricultural annual meeting in the nation! The Kretschmanns have remained actively involved in this organization since its inception, with Don serving on the board of directors for the maximum number years allowed by term limits and giving numerous presentations, workshops, and farm tours over the years. Don and Becky both strongly believe in giving back to the sustainable agriculture community by being highly involved at the statewide, national, and international levels.