When Ernest Yoder, Delvin’s father, turned the dairy herd over to his son, built his first greenhouse and started growing hydroponic tomatoes in 1994 he likely never thought that one day the cows would leave and tomatoes would be the main farm product.
Tomato marketing in the early years was mostly wholesale. However, as more and more people learned about the greenhouse on Browns Mill Road with the juicy, homegrown tasting tomatoes, retail sales increased significantly.
After Ernest’s eyesight failed Delvin and Barbara took over the original greenhouse, built a second, larger greenhouse and added a retail sales room to accommodate the numerous on-farm customers.
And sure enough, after 59 years of milk production, in early spring of 2011 the dairy herd did leave. Among the reasons was the need to devote more time to produce with an expanding tomato customer base.
Expansion continues with increasing family involvement. Son Lowell and Juanita are responsible for the juicy Chandler strawberries picked and sold here, as well as the Pick Your Own berry patch. A third greenhouse is also under consideration.
Ernest and Lovina Yoder, the original tomato growers, are still as active as possible in the greenhouse operation, with Ernest still assembling boxes and Lovina helping with vine work.
We all recognize and are blessed with the legacy that has been passed down enabling us to participate in this new adventure of feeding our neighbors, near and far.