Beverly Robison Minor
Growing up on a beautiful dairy farm in Washington County has been one of the greatest blessings one could ever want! For me, that heritage really molded and made me who I am. It was such a safe time in the 40’s and 50’s. Life as a child was filled with joy and family. My Dad, Clyde, and Grandfather, Roy, were in partnership for those 280 acres. My Aunt Gladys also lived and raised her family on the farm. My mother’s parents lived close by and Grandpap Miller was a store manager for the Hillman Coal Company. So, I had the privilege of growing up and sharing life with four grandparents and an aunt and uncle (Merland) along with their five children. We saw all of them daily!
Besides my parents , Clyde and Marie Robison, the extended family had a great influence on my life. I remember going to town with my grandmother and aunt to sell eggs from our farm to the customers on our egg route. Eventually, those eggs became part of the product we sold off the milk truck to our many customers in the Charleroi area. I would often ride that milk truck and deliver pure, pasteurized Jersey milk to insulated milk boxes on many porches. My Grandmother Robison taught all of us how to “dress” chicken and turkey and more importantly, how to sell those birds! She was the order taker and the book keeper for the turkey business. What a great business woman she was! So attentive to details and always giving her customers the very best! In fact, our family never got to eat a perfect bird – they all went to our loyal customers!!
My Grandpap Robison was a gentle giant of a man who loved unconditionally! He taught me to love the land we owned and actually trusted me as a teenager to mow every field of hay on the farm that was about to be baled for our cows. My Grandpap Miller was a wise, gentle man, who would often quote,
“He who has something to sell, And quietly whispers down a well, Will never make as many dollars, As the man who stands up and hollers!”
Grandma Miller (bless her heart) came to our house every Monday to help my mother do the laundry. We knew it as “wash day”.
Of course, my parents influenced my sister Con, brother Bob and myself more than all the others. They both had a way of letting each of us know we were valued, so loved. Both worked hard! Both loved unconditionally! Dad built our farm to be more than a farm! He built and ran a milk processing & delivery business. All of this required extra help and Mom cooked and fed generations of boys from neighboring families who came to work on the farm! Many grown men still tell me about being a “barn boy” and eating my mother’s cooking. All of the background and so much more formed and helped make me understand what I wanted to do with my life.
Another real event was being named the Pennsylvania Miss Milkmaid, which allowed me to travel for a year around all of Pennsylvania, giving speeches, doing radio and television ads, selling milk!!! I’m still selling milk to this day – 55 years later!
Had a wonderful high school life and then went to Penn State University, where I studied Commercial Consumer Services with a major in Foods. To back up, during my teenage years of showing my 4-H Jersey cows at three county fairs, I met this really cute boy from Greene County named Sam Minor. I was 14 – he was 16. We ran around the fair together but were just friends until I went to PSU. He was a junior. We renewed our friendship and were married before my senior year! I graduated in 1962 from Penn State.
My first job was in a small Pennsylvania Dutch town of Millersburg, PA, with an electric power company, PPSL. I was the home economist selling electricity by teaching homemakers how to use all of the many new electric appliances coming on the market. Like the microwave! We never thought it would last!
I worked for two years and then became a mother in 1963 with the birth of Marcia. We both believed it was important for me to be a full time Mom during those early years of child rearing. Most women did at that time. Tee, Jody & Jill and Sam also were born to make our home a very lively place!
We lived in Ithaca, New York, for eight years and then moved to Brookville, PA, to work with a farm family that had developed a farm market. Sam was ready for a change and this was a perfect opportunity to pursue dreams we’d been playing with. (Milking cows, selling milk, etc.) While in Brookville, Sam worked with the herd and managed the building of a restaurant on the farm. I had the fun of building a bake shop within the market. It was a great experience but Sam got a call from a large artificial breeding company in California to interview for a management job. He did and we moved to California for one year only because we had just bought this perfect 80 acre farm in Eighty Four, PA, with a stone house built in 1800; big and strong enough for all of us! We loved California but couldn’t wait to get back to Pennsylvania to make our dreams come true.
And they did! In the corner of the SpringHouse processing room – engraved in the concrete – “Dreams really do come true”!
We started working on building this wonderful business in 1973 and opened the door at Christmas 1975. It was hard! Hard to get the financing but then a wonderful farm credit manager knew and believed in us and thought we could do it. We lived without an income for six months. That was really hard but we kept pushing forward. The first year was so busy. Sam milked the cows and did the processing with the help of family and friends! I ran the store with our small children for a year before we had any help. Slowly but surely it started to come together. We started having chicken bar b q because one of Dad’s friends thought it would be great. He gave us the bar b q sauce recipe (still a secret) and even came to help cook the chicken! Another one of Dad’s friends helped process and Dad taught us how to make eggnog. We kept adding whatever our customers asked for and ended up eventually cooking lunch as well as selling milk, cheese, ice cream & baked goods. Cheese was the greatest income producing product for the first two years! It grew as did our family and the number of wonderful people who helped make it all happen! Three of those people, June, Bill and Sandy, have been here approximately a combined 82 years! Many more have made it happen for 10, 15 and 20 years!
In 1987, we doubled the size of the store and added a real commercial kitchen. The SunPorch seats 50-60 people who come for a lunch or supper of good country cooking. The tables turned as we now often have 350-750 people come through the doors daily. Those 750 people come on special event days like hog roasts, chicken bar b q, etc.
I am so excited to get to share the lifestyle in which I grew up with my twenty grandchildren and all those wonderful folks who walk through our front door every day, every week or even every month! There is nothing better than good, honest hard work; family recipe cooking; the love of agriculture; a relationship with a loving Creator; and all that goes with life on the farm and in an American family business!