Nestled in the heart of Central, PA, adjacent to the water ways of White Springs, what would be known as Keyfarm got its start in 1941 with my great grandparents, Francis and Grace Keister. The farm raised dairy cows for several years until health issues with the cows caused Francis and Grace to turn toward beef cattle. Of his seven children, Fred, Myron, and Stanley (“Papa”) worked the farmland and managed the cattle, bringing the farm into the second generation. In 1956, Myron and Stanley joined together to purchase the farming equipment from their dad, sharing the work load of farming. A few years later, Papa and Myron split their efforts, and Papa and Grandma (Marilyn) bought what is now the "Home" farm, while Myron ran the "Quarry" farm.
In the 60’s, Brian (my dad) began following in Papa’s footsteps, helping around the farm as an eight-year-old boy. This was the beginning of moving the farm into the third generation. Over the years, Dad learned first-hand the business of sorting cattle and planting, tending, and harvesting crops. From 1977-1981, Dad attended Penn State University, earning a degree in Agriculture, bringing his new-found education into the business. Also in 1981, he married my mother, Donita. Together, he and Papa bought the Quarry farm from Myron. Shortly thereafter, Dad and Mom started growing their family; one by one, all five of us—Rebecca, Danielle, Mary (myself), Jamie, and Nicole—became a part of the farm’s legacy. We all contributed at different times to the daily routine of farm life. I was one of Dad's most consistent workers, spending weekends and summer months helping tend cattle, mix minerals, drive tractors, haul grain to fill the silos, and bed the “hummies”. (Steers do not “moo”; they “hum”.) Dad and Mom raised five strong and confident women who would venture away from farm life to college and abroad. Some of us found our life partners, and we all settled into careers. The years have flown by, and Dad is looking to the future of the farm. With the desire to leave a legacy, he approached all of us girls along with our spouses and asked us to prayerfully consider the future. Specifically, he asked what the farm meant to each of us and if anyone had any interest in becoming a physical part of the legacy. My husband James and I have felt the call to bring Keyfarm into the fourth generation with the addition of Keyfarm Premium Beef, LLC.
Now, history will begin a new chapter as James and I, along with our two boys, forge the way for marketing our beef to our local community—and potentially beyond. The desire to provide quality beef directly is not a new idea. Ever since James was introduced to our beef, clearly a perk to marrying a beef farmer's daughter, he has wanted people to taste it for themselves. Once you eat Keyfarm Premium Beef, you won't go back. I can honestly say I have never bought beef from the grocery store. Why would I? Our beef is that good. I am confident in James' abilities to not only sell quality beef, but to also learn from the best (Dad) in how to produce such an excellent product. James is a "Jack of all trades" when it comes to his skills and abilities. James was raised by a carpenter and a teacher (Jim and Nadine Gorham) teaching him first-hand the value of hard work and education. With a degree in plastics and polymer engineering, James has applied his knowledge in several engineering positions. But four walls and factory work is no match for James' desire to work outdoors, coupled with an opportunity that would make a difference not only in the lives of his family but also the community. Now, we continue to write history. Come join us.