Farm Feature: HVM x Masonic Village

Farm Feature: HVM x Masonic Village

Aside from having a serious passion for great tasting and high quality beef, relationships are what make our cows moo. Partnering with universities, restaurants, and communities that share our commitment to ethically-raised meat is what we’re really about and who we love to surround ourselves with.

Enter: Masonic Village. Founded in 1910 in Elizabethtown, PA, Masonic Village was built as a self-sustaining retirement community for Free Masons. They grew and lived off their own food—cattle for beef and milk, orchards for fruit, and plenty of vegetables. Today, Masonic Village is still active and has expanded beyond only Free Masons. Their orchards still produce fruit for the community and they still have a fully working cattle farm that, with our help, still feeds the community. The farm currently has 600 acres of pasture and crops, including 250 acres of no-till row crops. 

Our relationship with Masonic started back in 2015 with a man named Frank Stoltzfus (AKA, Farmer Frank). It was clear from the get-go that Frank was a farmer who raised cattle to our standards, and was a central part of a community that could benefit from a partnership with HVM. 

Although the retirement village at Masonic used to grow all of its own food, and still has cattle, the dining services were not set up to use their own beef! So the residents couldn’t eat the animals grown right outside their homes. HVM started buying 2 animals/week from Frank and increased over time to 10 animals a week, which allowed HVM to work with their dining services so the members of the community could eat the beef right outside their door, just like the old days. 

Fast-forwarding to the pandemic in 2020, Frank retired and passed the baton to his long-time protege Scotty Miller, who still runs Masonic today. HVM still works with Frank, who continues to educate us about how best to support other local farms and farmers from the comfort of retirement. Frank recently became our first farmer board member, giving a stronger voice to the farmers in our network.

HVM still works with Scotty and Masonic today to continue tackling issues in farming. We chatted with Scotty to hear from him where he sees the biggest holes in the system, and how having a partner like HVM can work to improve them. 

Are there any examples or stories you have of how your farm has changed since working with Happy Valley?
“A contentious and often not talked about part of farming is the disconnect with the customers. Especially to Dan’s consumer base, if anybody might fuss or talk about agriculture in a negative light, it’s likely reflective of the disconnect between city life and ag life. HVM works to tell the farmer’s story and communicate not only how meat is raised but the farming process as a whole.” - Scotty Miller

HVM has been working with Masonic Village for nearly 6 years now and distributes 90% of their beef. Partnerships like this are a shining example of how success can be achieved when businesses come together for a common goal. Not only does this partnership provide delicious, high-quality beef to customers, but it also supports and sustains local farmers, their communities, and beyond.

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