Bradford County destination provides lesson in our connection to the earth and sustainable living. How many people can honestly say they know where their food comes from? Sure, you buy it in a store and sometimes you can even pick the cut of meat you want from a display case, instead of purchasing it pre-wrapped in plastic on a Styrofoam tray. Vegetables are displayed in bins from which you can choose local and even organic varieties, but where does it come from before it hits supermarket shelves?

If you've ever had questions about the food you eat, organic farming or sustainable agriculture, a “farm vacation” might be just the weekend getaway you never knew you needed. From farm to table, there is an adventure to be had in finding out more about our deep connection to the land–a connection that has somehow been replaced with shelves of canned goods, aisles of produce and freezers full of pre-packaged meat.

Berry Fields Farm in rural northeastern Pennsylvania offers an unspoiled refuge where visitors will find the simplicity lacking in their hectic suburban and urban lifestyles. There won’t be any alarms but when the rooster crows, you will want to rise and shine, admire the scenic Bradford County landscape around the farm, and participate in a daily routine that includes organic gardening and caring for barnyard animals such as grass-fed Hereford cattle, Tamworth hogs, Boer goats and free-range poultry.

Stay in the guest house, which can accommodate two to 10 people and is appropriate for an extended family vacation, with three large bedrooms, a living room, a den, a kitchen and a bath. For a more affordable stay, the farm's one bedroom efficiency apartment can accommodate two to seven people, with a kitchen and a large bathroom with shower.

Charlie and Barbara Gerlach, the proprietors of Berry Field Farm, will provide you with all the comforts of home during your stay. Although meals are extra, you can rest assured that they are prepared "farm fresh." Prices for meals are reasonable: breakfast is $4 to $8, lunch is $8 to $12 and dinner is $15 to $25 per person. Children under four eat free and children up to age 12 eat at half price.

The Gerlachs believe that understanding and supporting sustainable agriculture leads to healthier diets. Their animals are permitted to graze and eat their natural diets, unlike corn-fed animals at large commercial farms. The Gerlachs' animals are not given any hormones and their crops are not treated with chemicals or pesticides. This is good, old-fashioned farming with sweat equity built into every ounce of the end results.

For a getaway that is just as much an educational experience as it is an escape from suburbia, Berry Fields Farm is an ideal choice. The farm offers visitors an opportunity to participate in and learn more about sustainable and organic farming. After you leave, you will have a greater respect for food and a deeper appreciation of your own connection to the Earth. Maybe you will be inspired to grow your own garden or raise chickens in your backyard—zoning laws permitting of course.



WHERE: RR #2 Box 114B1, New Albany, Pa. 18833

WHY GO: Because you have a green thumb but have only used it on the potted plants in your window. You will have the opportunity to learn about sustainable agriculture and will enjoy eating some of the freshest food on Earth.

PRICING: $100 per night for two people and $25 per night for each additional person, not to exceed the weekly rate of $650 for unit 1 and $600 for unit 2. Call (570) 924-3019 for reservations.

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Image Courtesy of: Simon Howden