When our neighbor saw our lush, fenced-in pasture, he made us an offer.

“I’ll give you my pregnant Alpine milking goat if you’ll let my male goats graze in your pasture until fall.”

Farmer Reuben said yes, and that’s when we learned we didn’t like goats.

Don’t get me wrong, the billy goats were funny, and the kids were cute and amusing.

The female Alpine goat, Daisy, was pregnant, so as soon as she had her kids, we would get milk and sell her two kids. It seemed like a good deal.

That’s how I learned to milk. On a goat. With two teats. By hand.

Get Rid of The Goats

After all that effort for a quart a day, we decided we didn’t like the taste of goat milk anyway.

Farmer Reuben decided to buy a pregnant, grass-fed cow.

If we were going to milk an animal, let it be one that stayed in the fences, didn’t jump on top of the tractors, and gave 2-3 gallons a day of milk that we liked to drink instead.

So when Dr. Chapp, our friend from DeSales University, and his wife, Dr. Chapp, bought a farm in Harvey’s Lake, PA, Farmer Reuben said he could help get them started.

He had goats and plants he could give them.

That’s how the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Farm got started.

The Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Farm

At least that’s how I can tell it now because Carrie Chapp’s farm blog doesn’t date back to that first spring when they brought home their first goat from Willow Haven Farm.

By March of 2014, they had sold our/their nanny goat to an Alpine goat dairy and bought themselves a male Boer goat. Were they tired of milking, I wonder?

Later, they confessed that even the Alpine dairy farm didn’t like our old nanny goat’s milk.

So that’s why we have cows now. Well, sort of.

Free Plants for “Free” Food

That’s also why Carrie Chapp and her brother Hank came back to Willow Haven Farm this week.

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As a non-profit farm, they benefit from any and all donations. Since they live north of the Lehigh Valley and are a bit cooler in their hill country farm, Farmer Reuben finishes planting our peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant at the perfect time for them to plant whatever we have left over.

Often, volunteers come to help the Chapps plant, harvest, build, and do chores around the farm, but the rest of the time, the Chapps and Hank live a simplified life of farm work, prayer, and charitable endeavors.

After preserving the modest amount of food they need to sustain themselves and the farm, the rest of the vegetables they grow are donated to local food banks.

Farms & Visions for Change

After years of studying Dorothy Day and her mentor, Peter Maurin, Dr. Carrie Chapp now knows from her own lived experience the joys and necessity of local, sustainable food.

When Carrie visited the farm this week, we shared the struggles of living this calling to provide real, nutrient-dense food for our community.

“It really is a calling and a mission,” she confirmed.

No one knows when or why the overlords in our society might decide to turn off the BIG food supply chain. But we all know they could.

Even Cornucopia.org, the organic watchdog organization that rates the sustainability and organic standards of organic food producers, is turning its focus to small, independent food retailers to support them as integral parts of the local food systems that are growing in individual communities.

I can see the pieces coming together now.

In The Cultivator’s article titled “Feeding People, Not Corporations,” the author makes this point which resonates with everything Reuben, Wray, and I are doing with our Farm Store and Market Boxes:

“Increased resilience and better service aren’t all that these retailers offer. They are champions of independent brands. They anchor small communities and are fierce advocates for the organic marketplace. And the information they share is just as vital as the product selection they curate” (Cornucopia Institute, 2024, p. 6).


Could that be a fly on the wall, listening when Farmer Reuben talks about opening Willow Haven Farm General Store in Upper Macungie Township?

Who better than an organic farmer who knows what it takes to heal the soil to produce food that can heal, to spearhead a new community store to do just that?

Did you know that the building in which we are bringing this store to life is a barn? What could be better than that?

The Chapps know that they have a different mission than Willow Haven Farm. They are a non-profit farm with the twofold mission to educate and feed the hungry. We are a family business that must be financially sustainable to keep growing for the future of our community, our family, and the land that we care for.

But we are excited that our friendship with these two Scholar-Farmers is bearing fruit.

Special Speaker Invited to Farm to Table Dinner

After her visit this week, Carrie answered my call and, as a confirmation from on high, agreed to be our keynote speaker at our Member Appreciation Dinner on June 29.

To articulate the vision that we are living and working out with blood, sweat, and tears, Dr. Carmina Chapp will present “The Time Is Now for Local Sustainable Food Systems.”

Dr. Carmina Chapp

Our Friend and Fellow Farmer’s Background May Surprise You

Carmina Chapp: Theologian and Founder of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Farm

Carmina Chapp is a dedicated theologian and educator with over two decades of experience in Catholic education and seminary formation. She currently leads a Catholic academy that supports homeschooling families, nurturing and educating future generations.

Alongside her husband Larry, Carmina founded the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Farm, an 11-acre homestead that is part of the Catholic Worker Movement. With no prior farming experience, Carmina embraced this new chapter, transforming the farm into a thriving sanctuary of service and community. The farm began with the goal of growing food for the poor but has since expanded to include various crops and livestock, such as Border Leicester sheep, chickens, and Nigerian dwarf goats.

Inspired by the Catholic Worker’s origins around a kitchen table, Carmina hosts gatherings of local scholars at the farm to discuss current topics of interest, aiming to clarify ideas and put them into action. Her passion for community education led her to host a wool processing demonstration for a local 4-H club, inspiring her to plan an Intergenerational Fiber Guild for the summer. Some of the sheep fleeces she uses were provided by Willow Haven Farm.

Her work on the farm and insights from her theological background enrich the content of their blog, Gaudium et Spes 22, creating a dynamic interplay between practical farming and spiritual reflection. Despite the operational costs, Carmina remains dedicated to the farm’s mission. The Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Farm embodies her values of compassion, service, and simplicity, providing a space for community, hospitality, and learning.

You’ll be encouraged in your own realization that it is clearly necessary that local communities take charge of their food systems and break away from dependency on corporate food distribution.

Join us at this incredible meal and inspiring event to raise funds to open Willow Haven Farm General Store.

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All About the Food

Meanwhile, the food is growing so beautifully that our Market Box members are enjoying the earliest cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and slicing tomatoes that we’ve ever offered.

Walking out to the field I spied baby summer squash that will be big enough to pick in time for our Market Box deliveries next week. This is the earliest ever.

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After pulling the last of the sourdough loaves out of the oven and before driving away to do construction at the WHF General Store I persuaded him to go out to the field to explain to us exactly how he does this kind of organic magic in the field.

I really mean it when I say:

  • “Being connected to your farmer really helps you be connected to your food and you understand the dynamics of what it takes to grow and grow in appreciation of what it means to get food that’s local.”
  • “It’s really important to have a local food system because we’ve already seen what happens when we’re dependent on all the big companies that control everything else.”
  • “We really believe that you should have access to high-quality, nutrient-dense food all year round and we’re making it our job to make sure that happens through our Market Box program and the new Willow Haven Farm General Store.”
  • “I’m really enthusiastic about coaching you to use local food to get the most nutrition possible, use your budget wisely, and start getting some of the most important foods into your diet that will help heal your gut, fight inflammation, and prevent disease.”


As Always…

We support your desire to have a good, healthy way of life and food on your table that supports that goal.

We’ll keep farming for you!

Reuben and Tessa DeMaster
Willow Haven Farm


P.S. The Farm store is open on Saturday to help you stock up on eggs, milk, cheese, vegetables, natural cleaners, home remedies and more.

Open this weekend!

Market Hours: Saturday: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM