Our story has been one of continual change to meet the needs of the local community.
For four generations, the farm was owned by the Shelly Family. Historically speaking, the farm would have been considered a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch Farm (German) with a farm house circa 1794 (build from stone cleared from the fields), large barn, dairy cows, pigs, chickens, orchards, field corn, hayfields, small fruits, vegetables and a flower patch.
Everything was grown on the farm to sustain the family. Life was hard and families were large. Great Grammy Shelly would tell us stories of how on “baking day” they made a pie and a loaf of bread for each meal of the day for the whole week! (21 pies and 21 loaves).
In 1928, Arthur Detweiler Shelly married Caroline Sames Hellerick at the Plumsteadville Inn, then known as Hellerick’s Hotel. Her parents George Hellerick Sr. and Flora Keller Sames, owned and operated the Inn for 42 years from 1912 to 1954.
Arthur and Caroline or Carrie as she was known, moved to the farm with Arthur’s parents, Mary and Frank Shelly in 1933. While Arthur worked the farm, Carrie, to make additional money began baking pies, cakes and cookies and selling them to the community. Along with all the farm crops, they grew a wide assortment of vegetables. The ’truck patch” as it was known was about two acres. We don’t know when but the family began canning a Pennsylvania Dutch Sweet & Sour treat called, “Chow-Chow”. All the furniture would be moved out of the kitchen and living room and then large wooden tubs would be brought up from the basement where they were stored to hold the Chow-chow. I remember as a child being told to add three jars of sweet corn to each tub Chow-chow has sweet corn, five types of beans, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, celery and other types of vegetables. This vegetable mixture is then marinated in the most delicious combination of cider vinegar, sugar and spices. Served cold, the result is a one-of-a-kind taste treat sensation. At the peak the family along with the help from many friends and neighbors were canning 12,000 quart jars each year. The family still has the original recipe. (Maybe someone would be interested producing our family's secret recipe again?)
In 1939 a new road, Route 611 cut the most productive fields and the farm literally in half! These were very dark days in the eyes of the family and this dramatic change took a heavy financial toll to keep the farm solvent. Almost 70 years later, this change is looked at bit differently by the family. Route 611 now provides us with direct access to one of the major roads in Bucks County and great visibility for potential customers…But is has taken almost 70 years for this recovery!
In 1958 Tragedy struck and the large stone dairy barn burned. All that remains today is the silo.
In the 70’s the grand kids would come to the farm and "help" with chores. It was during these times we would be allowed to set up a card table filled with "extra eggs and vegetables" from the truck patch on the front porch. We placed a hand lettered sign along Route 611 and folks passing by would drive in and we had fun waiting on the customers. This simple sign, providing a quality product (overseen by grand parents) and word of mouth were our only advertising.
In the 1970’s and 80’s Arthur and Carrie passed away ending a golden era that will never be repeated.
In the 1980’s another change occurred, their son Karl Hellerick, and Doris his wife, began farming the land along with family members, neighbors and friends but they specialized by growing only strawberries, sweet corn and pumpkins. The local community went crazy for a farm where you could come and pick-your-own. The farm currently grows strawberries, pick your own zinnias and 60 varieties of pumpkins, squash and gourds and creates tons of family fun for the thousands of guest who attend the Fall Pumpkin Festival. A part of farming is an eternal optimism and being thankful for what you have. Karl & Doris put these two ideas together and created “Thankful 4 U” pumpkin gourd. Each fall they would give these Thankful 4 U pumpkin gourds to friends who had helped them during the year with instruction to pass it on to someone who they were thankful 4 and to give the same instructions to continue to pass the pumpkin gourd on to someone else. Each fall, pumpkin gourds are hand painted and available at the farm market for our customers to continue this act of being “Thankful 4 U.”
In June of 2007, just days after his 79th birthday, Karl Hellerick died after sustaining injuries from a tractor accident at the farmIn June . Understandably, Karl’s death came as a great shock to the family and community. The outpouring of love and appreciation for Karl in the Doylestown Intelligencer and Lancaster Farming newspapers and the overflow attendance at his funeral were indicators of his status as someone who had been truly embraced by the community. The name Hellerick in German mean “Helpful”. Karl was a shining example of being helpful during his life.
Doris passed away in August 2015 and the farm is now run by her children’s family and local help continue the tradition of providing quality produce and on farm fun and an educational experience. Many local families have made visiting our family farm their family tradition to pick strawberries or flowers and come to the Fall Pumpkin Festival.
The next generation of the Hellerick Family is active and working on the farm and just like previous generations, changes will need to be made to meet the needs of the local community and keep the farm a financially viable business. As the area continues to be developed, we plan to continue to welcome the many new neighbors and to provide an opportunity for the community to learn about farming, to have fun and just like Karl Hellerick always said to Create Memories…
5500 North Easton Road (Route 611)
Doylestown, PA 18902
On Route 611, 6 miles North of Route 202