Meet The Hellerick’s Farm Family: Our History and Our Team

Meet the Hellerick's Family: Arthur Detweiler Shelly and Caroline Sames Hellerick

Right in the heart of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Hellerick’s Family Farm stands as proof that hard work, flexibility, and community spirit never go out of style.  

The oldest record of the farm’s existence dates back to 1765 when Thomas Vickers bought 196 acres from John Heathcote and Samuel Ballus for 500 English pounds. Through the ensuing years, it has had many owners and many parts of the farm have been sold off, which brings us to today’s 30 acres.  

During these 259 years, the farm has had many names including Mid Hill Farm, Clover Hill Farm, The Shelly Farm, Shelly & Hellerick’s Farm, and currently Hellerick’s Family Farm.  

A lot has changed but much has also stayed the same. Join us on a journey as we unravel the story of the Hellerick Family, our mission, and the evolution from farm to a one-of-a-kind destination for family and friends to create life-long memories.  

Sprouting: Our Roots 

Hellerick’s Family Farm has seen four generations go by in its 300 years of operation. Our history begins in 1886 when our great-grandparents, The Shelly Family, purchased the farm then, 71 acres from Daniel Smith. The Shelly’s found the beautiful plot of land we all enjoy today and nurtured it into a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch Farm.  

Seeding: Arthur & Carrie’s Business Savvy 

Traditional Chow-Chow in a jar at Hellericks Family Farm

In 1928, Arthur Detweiler Shelly married Caroline Sames Hellerick at the Plumsteadville Inn, which was known as the Hellerick’s Inn. Caroline’s parents, George Hellerick Sr. and Flora Keller Sames Hellerick, owned the inn. A few years later, Arthur and Caroline, also called Carrie, moved to the farm. 

Their move to the farm in 1933 was a big moment for us. While Arthur worked on the farm, Carrie became famous for her baking. Soon, people from the local community were visiting the farm just to buy Carrie’s pies, cakes, and eggs. 

Along with Carrie’s delicious desserts and our regular crops, they started growing vegetables in a 2-acre patch called the “truck patch.” From these vegetables, they made a special Pennsylvania Dutch dish called Chow-Chow. This sweet and sour treat was made from a wide variety of vegetables, beans, and sweet and sour spices. Since it was canned, it also lasted for months on the shelf. They canned up to 12,000 jars of Chow-Chow in a year and we still have the original family secret recipe today. 

Vegetative: Veggie Heaven on Rt 611 

The farm saw significant challenges in the years to come, including a division of the property by the construction of Route 611 in 1939. The family sees Route 611 a little differently these days, but its construction and the loss of land it caused meant financial hardship for the family at the time. Tragedy struck again in 1958 when a fire claimed the stone dairy barn, adding to the family’s challenges. 

Despite these setbacks, they persevered. In the 1970s and 80s, Bruce & Paul, the current owners, started selling extra veggies and eggs on the front porch of the house in the summer. This would be the first glimpse of what Bruce, Paul, and their parents Karl Hellerick and Doris McKillips Hellerick would build later.  

Budding: Opening the Gates 

Karl & Doris and the boys lived in Lebanon, PA, about a 2 hour’s drive from the farm.  In the 80’s Karl & Doris would work weekends at the farm by planting an acre of strawberries and pumpkins and a small patch of cut flowers as their first crops.  

Our farm has never been a stranger to visitors, but Karl & Doris Hellerick opened the gates to the farm with some of Bucks County’s first U-Pick crop and flower experiences. To say it was a hit would be an understatement. Our local community was thrilled to visit our farm to pick their own produce! With offerings like strawberries, sweet corn, pumpkins, and flowers, there was something for everyone’s tastes.  

Over the years, we’ve added even more produce like sugar snap peas, raspberries, and blackberries. 

Flowering: The Transformation of Our Bucks County Farm 

In the 1990s, our farm went through many changes. In 1995, Karl and his brother divided the farm into two plots, one 30-acre and the other 11-acre, and Karl built a new driveway off Route 611. Then, in the following year, Karl and Doris planted the Corn Maze, opening the farm for family fun from spring to late fall. 

The years that followed were full of positive change. After the Plumstead Township Supervisors worked with the family to prevent the farm from becoming a housing development in 2011 we grew quickly. In 2012, we added a new building pad, electrical service, underground stormwater management, and a new Main Barn. These improvements set the stage for welcoming more guests and offering comfortable amenities. 

Karl passed away in 2006 and Doris passed away in 2015, but their legacy lives on through their sons Bruce and Paul. No matter how much the farm changes the family’s mission is the same – to create lifelong memories for their guests.  

Ripening: Family Fun at the Farm 

In the past few years, Hellerick’s Family Farm has added lots of fun stuff for people to do! We started with an Aerial Adventure ropes course and Goat Yoga in 2017-2018. Then, we planted new crops like raspberries and sunflowers. In 2019, we built the obstacle course that you can find included in our Adventure Farm in 2024 and carved out space for the Goat Experience. Finally, we topped it all off with a one-of-a-kind Silo Climbing Wall in 2022.  

But we’re still not done growing. In 2024, we’ll be adding a brand-new outdoor activity for kids and families to enjoy. We’re not ready to tell you more about it just yet, but you can come back to our blog in the future to learn all about it!  

 Become a Part of Our Future 

As our journey continues, Hellerick’s Farm invites visitors to be part of our present and future. With a rich history and a commitment to making special memories, our farm is excited to welcome visitors like you. Let’s celebrate the past, enjoy the present, and look forward to an exciting future together. Plan your visit today!