Get to know your farmer...

Josh Heller grew up helping out on his Grandparent's family farm in Bushkill, PA.  This is where he learned his love of cultivating the earth and raising from it healthy, bountiful, and delicious produce.  Grandma and Grandpa Heller taught him all the ins and outs of farming, from which varieties yield the best product and the growing needs of each type of fruit or veggie, to how to safely operate the farm equipment and never (ever) to sit or kneel when you're picking produce (this was Grandpa Heller's rule because "you can't pick as fast on your hind end"). 

One of Grandma Heller's favorite memories of little Josh, was when he and his sisters were told they were needed to pick two 5-gallon buckets of peas before coming in for dinner.  She was happily surprised when Josh finished way ahead of his sisters, until after sorting the peas she found his oversized sweatshirt stuffed into the bottom of one of his buckets.

Grandma and Grandpa Heller purchased a farm in Bainbridge, NY and sold the farm in Bushkill.  In 1997 Josh's parents purchased the farm in Manheim at an auction.  Actually, as the story goes, Josh's dad Mark was in Lancaster on business and called his mom Pam to let her know about a great farm that was going to be auctioned off that weekend.  They had been looking for a farm of there own so he thought he'd go and check it out.  He ended up the winning bidder.   Happily for Pam, when the moving truck pulled up and she saw the house for the first time, she fell in love at first sight (Mark breathed a sigh of relief).  Mark had a full time day job so they leased the land to a neighboring farmer and Josh had a break from farming.  He started attending Manheim Central High School as a Sophomore.  In his free time he tinkered with pretty much anything he could find from his mom's antique radio to his dad's broken down Studebaker.  He loved to figure out how things worked by taking them apart and trying to put them back together again.  This practice came in handy later on the farm, where equipment always seems to require maintenance at the most inopportune times.

After graduating from High School and attending some classes at Penn State York, Josh started working in the restaurant industry.  His love for growing food was channeled into a love for cooking.  His experience, hard work, and leadership skills led him to become an Executive Chef for a restaurant group in Boston, MA by the time he was 24. 

Josh's true passion was always farming and when the circumstance presented itself, he knew what he wanted and needed to do.  A devastating flood had torn through his grandparents' land.  Josh joined his grandparents in New York and started farming again.  He began selling produce at a variety of weekly Farmers' Markets while helping his grandparents recover from the flood.  After a year in New York, theirfarm was back on track and Josh decided it was time to move home to Manheim and "dig in" to his parents' land.

And thus Creekside Farm Market was born.  With some start-up help from his parents and grandparents, Josh started raising produce in Manheim and selling it from a roadside stand that he of course built himself.  One of the best decisions he made was to open a stand at the newly formed Lititz Farmers' Market.  Not only did he gain great exposure for his product, but he also met the love of his life, his wife Kristi.  In his second season, he added a stand at the Mount Joy Farmer's Market and Kristi took over the stand at Lititz.  

In its fourth season Creekside Farm Market continues to evolve to better serve our community by offering the first CSA shares to our customers.  Due to time and labor constraints, a sad decision was made to give up the stand at the Lititz Farmers' Market. The Heller family has also welcomed the fourth generation with the addition of Benjamin Joshua Heller, born on June 27, 2011.

Josh, Kristi and Ben currently live in the Borough of Lititz with there dog Tucker, a Brittany and loyal hunting companion to Josh.  Kristi works for a bank and helps on the farm whenever she can.  She also spends a lot of time during the season canning and freezing all the goodies Josh brings home.  Josh still enjoys cooking for friends and family when he can find the time.  He has also been known to speak on the subject at the local Women's Auxilary Club.  

During the off-season, Josh helps run the family Christmas Wreath business on the farm.  Early every November the whole Heller family takes a trip up to Grandma & Grandpa Heller's to cut greens from their Christmas Tree patch.  Grandma & Grandpa are now enjoying semi-retirement.  They're still raising enough produce to feed a small army, however they no longer sell it to the public.  Occasionally, you'll find some of their goodies available at the Creekside Farm Market stands.  Mark and Pam also help on the farm whenever they can and run the Pick-Your-Own Strawberry Patch. 

The Heller family is happy to carry on the Heller farming tradition in the Lancaster County Community and  hope to serve you well!

Kristi Josh and Ben

Kristi, Josh and Ben

Ben loves daddy's tomatoes

Josh with Grandma and Grandpa Heller