303 Upper Woods Road, Honesdale - GPS gets you here!
Farm Manager and Pizza Guru, Evan Morgan with a Broccoli Cheddar pie about to be loaded into the 750 degree oven.
IMPORTANT: Unfortunately, until further notice, all public pizza nights have been canceled for 2021. We greatly appreciate your support through the years and wish all our patrons the best. Weddings and private events are still available, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org We would be happy to discuss your needs in more detail.
We are however offering some other new options for visiting the farm:
Rentals of our barn/pavilion/pizza oven for weddings, events, or private parties. These can potentially include pizza dough prep. and a cooking lessons.
Cabin, and/or Barn (loft bedroom currently being completed for Farmstay Rentals. Questions, or interested in a reserving our facility for a private event? Message us at email@example.com
Come out to the farm and find out why so many guests say they will be back. We have some of the best biking, hiking, and trout fishing right here, and downtown Honesdale just 10 minutes away.
Our Pies All pizzas are topped with our homemade sauces, our own organically grown vegetables, and local cheese from grass fed cows at nearby Calkins Creamery. Sourdough culture breaks down the wheat gluten, so many people that struggle with gluten intolerance may be able to enjoy our pies. Our dough is a 50/50 blend of organic whole grain wheat, and organic white flour from Small Valley Milling in Pennsylvania.
Our Cabin - Nestled on the hillside a short hike up a quiet path.
We also be rent out our facility for weddings and special events and provide our wood-fired artisan pizza in an affordable, open air, and bucolic setting. Learn more here or email us about scheduling a visit to the farm.
Our First Wedding in August of 2018 was a Huge Success... Photo: Keristin@haleyrichterphoto.com
Embracing the Past...
The photos above show our 50 acre family farm as it appeared in the early 1900's - before the "green revolution" which changed small farming from family farms to large, industrialized mega-operations in just two generations.
As recently as 1900, close to 40% of Americans owned and operated a small farm. We nurtured the land and each other. There was a sense of purpose and community. During World War II, over 40% of our food came from backyard “victory gardens”, but more recently we have been taught to think small farming was for someone else - we were too important to get our hands dirty.
As Americans learn more about the quality of their food - the taste, nutritional value, and safety; they are in ever-increasing numbers turning to small , local, organic farms for quality foods to nourish their families. Farming connects children and food and these connections provides kids with the foundation for healthy food choices and lifestyles.
You may notice from our logo some connections to the past. The hex symbol relates to owner, Al Benner's Pennsylvania German farming heritage (Ludwig Benner - arrived into Philadelphia in 1749 on the ship "Fame" from the Rhine River Valley), and the crescent moon for the old school house across the river where previous property owner, Olive Water taught for many years. The oven/fire image represents our earthen/wood-fired bread & pizza oven, and the arrow makes the connection to the native people who treaded so lightly and reverently on the land before us for thousands of years.
...to Secure our Future
Owen Benner tempts the flock of Icelandic Sheep
We feel it of utmost importance for man not to continue to deplete natural resources, and to become a lot less wasteful and more locally based. For these reasons we have come up with a very simple, yet challenging mission:
To make our bio-diverse, small scale organic farm as self-sustaining as possible, eventually requiring little to no off -farm inputs.
To do this we are starting to make use of our own resources as much as possible. Our woodlot to fire our oven, gravity to move water to our gardens, our spring house for keeping produce cool and for winter storage, green roofs to reflect heat and grow food (60 lbs of carrots in one 3' x 3' bed), and most importantly, two large organic vegetable plots.
We also have two small orchards, sugar maples for sap/syrup, and several laying hens. All this and more provides healthy, organic food for our family, neighbors, friends and for our guests and patrons.
Education & Hands on Experience hold the key
Intern Tyler Hess talks broccoli with local summer camp visitors - Photo by OSF intern Katherine Agnew
Because our farm has a wide variety of terrain, soils, water features, and other naturally occurring elements, we have decided to embrace these variations and work with this natural landscape with our small farming practices. We are not interested in mono-cropping or focusing on just one thing - our land does not lend itself to that. We also believe it to be risky, and a little boring to be honest.
Our property is also quite picturesque. From hillsides strewn with moss covered boulders, to hilltop orchards and grazing areas, to lowland pastures, vegetable plots, and a trout stream, Old School Farm offers a little bit of everything.
When thinking about how to best leverage our resources to support a small farm and share our diversity, we decided to open the farm up for pizza nights and events where folks can together see, experience and taste what makes small scale, locally produced and organically grown food so special.
On our farm we emphasize principles of self-sufficiency and sustainability in a hands on way. We believe once children (and adults) experience time on the farm. enjoying the amazing taste of our organically grown food, they often become inspired to produce and prepare their own. For children, these hands on farm experiences can help shape their lifelong connection to plants, animals, food, nutrition, and perhaps ultimately, enhanced physical health and a deeper connection to the natural world.
We even have a wood-fired earthen oven
People the world over have been cooking in earthen domes for thousands of years. By creating a well-insulated earthen oven, heat can be trapped for many hours in the fire bricks, sand filled base, and surrounding clay. As the earth oven slowly cools, different foods can be baked. Our "Friday Pizza Nights" focus on a favorite - wood-fired pizza, and this helps make the connection for people about growing, harvesting & cooking their own food.
The earthen oven was a slow, laborious process to construct - here's one clip on YouTube showing one of the steps.
Farm Owner, Al Benner's dad, Dave has been an inspiration to Al. Dave Benner is seen here with former Farm Manager, Dave Campeau setting up our bee hives.
So What's Next for Old School Farm?
Beginning in June of 2021 the farm will be under new ownership and looks forward to continuing the incredible work the Benner's have done at Oldschool Farm. While pizza nights may not be available for a while we are still welcoming campers and farm lovers to book a stay over the summer. We have recently established several campsites at the farm - four of them along the banks of the bucolic Dyberry creek. Bring your trout rod. Five fire pits, three extra clean outdoor potties and three hot showers are now all on site.