Newspaper Page Text
C2—Lancaster Fanning, Saturday, August 9,1980
Farming out rooms works well for the Rancks
BY SUSAN KAUFFMAN
Having vacationers come to their farm for a visit has
been a good expenence says Don and Virginia Ranck, a
young couple who have continued Don’s family’s ten
year tradition of operating a dairy farm which
welcomes tourists to lodge with them. The younger Ran
cks have been accommodating guests for the past five
years. They both agree that it provides many op
portunities for both the host and the guest families.
The Rancks started farming on Don’s parents’ farm
one mile east of Strasburg five years ago. For the
decade previous to their taking over the operation,
Don’s parents had been in the farm vacation business.
The 1896 frame farmhouse was large enough to provide
four units for visitors. While the home has very modem
conveniences, there is a nice blend of warmth and
charm in the room decor complete with high headboard
beds, a claw-footed tub and hand-fashioned quilts and
While the vacationers visit with the Rancks they can
see a modern 94 acre dairy farm m operation. The fami
ly milks sixty-two registered Holsteins in a milking
parlor and raise their replacements bringing the total of
dairy animals on the farm to 125 head.
Visitors can see hay and com as well as tobacco and
barley being raised in the fields. They can play with the
cats and kittens and fish in the farm pond. But more
then likely they will surely remember Gmny’s delicious
Each morning, Ginny serves breakfast promptly at
8:30 a.m. to those who wish to join the family for the
morning meal. The Rancks have room to lodge a max
imum of eighteen people, but Ginny says not all the
rooms are full and if they are, not all the guests elect to
sit down to breakfast.
“A lot of guests have had a smorgasborg aor all-you
can-eat meal the night before and want to skip
breakfast,” Ginny explained.
Ginny’s kitchen was newly refurbished two years ago
and redecorated and equipped with everything from in
direct lighting along the ceiling to a microwave oven.
But she uses a very special old family recipe to delight
her guests’ appetites. She serves whole wheat crumb
pies, omelettes-includmg a favorite made with longhorn
cheese-, fresh milk, local produce and home-grown and
locally cured bologna and dried beef.
The recipe Ginny uses for the whole wheat crumb pies
comes from Grandma Lillian Habecker,' Ginny said she
has never seen a similar recipe anywhere and the com
bination of whole wheat and butter make this recipe
Even before Ginny started serving her “crumb sugar
pie,” guests were making return visits to the Verdant
View Farm. One family will be returning this Summer
for their fifteenth year! “We have seen their children
grow up,” Ginny said. They call this ‘their farm’ and
the daughters bring their boyfriends down from New
York where they live to show them ‘their farm’ 1 ”
The family sees most of its guests from Easter
through summer into fall. Ginny checked her books and
found there were a total of 95 individuals who stayed for
various lengths of tune m June this Summer. She served
breakfast to sixty-four of the ninety-five. Ginny said that
the months of July and August are much busier than
The visitors often find their way to Verdant View from
a farm vacation booklet published by the Pennsylvania
Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Rural Affairs.
The farm vacation directory lists farms all over the
state which have been inspected and approved for tak
ing, ui visitors. All who belong to the Pennsylvania Farm
Vacation Association pay a membership fee and are in-
Don and Virginia and youngest child Aaron are shown on the kitchen steps of
Verdant View Farm.
Dm and Vininia Ranck host farm vacationers
The Rancks and Mike and his mother work in the
kitchen and take a few minutes to talk to each
other. Mike's mother was visiting her son on the
weekend. He is at the Rancks’ for the summer.
spected annually. The farm vacations are billed by the
recent directory as “a growing alternative to the hectic
schedule of a touring vacation and much easier on
While the farm vacation may offer the visitor a
change of pace and different scenery as well as a
chance to see a different way of life where the family
works side by side day in and day out, the advantages
work both ways, say Don and Ginny.
“Since we are, by the nature of the farm Me,
restricted from traveling or meeting others away from
the farm, we come into contact with people from all pro
fessions as guests,” Don explained.
Another nice aspect about having guests on the farm
is that host and guest can enjoy each others’ company
and still get the work done. “They can watch and ask
questions while we milk m the parlor and when we have
to leave to get a cow they can watch something else un
til we get back to the parlor,” Ginny said.
The Rancks visit with their guests most after
breakfast. Some farm vacations hosts do not serve
breakfast and find they visit with the guests in the even
ing. Don and Virginia have three small children-Eldon,
6, Heather, 4, and Aaron, 9 months. Ginny finds her
schedule of serving breakfast suits her better than
mghtime visiting. Don, on the other hand, often takes
time to talk with the guests in the evening, especially if
he knows they will be departing the next day.
Ginny has part-time help from a neighbor to assist her
in the housekeeping chores. While the children are too
young to help with the domestic tasks, they keep the
visiting children entertained, Ginny added.
This Summer, the Rancks have a former guest for a
fulltime employee. Mike Davon came with his parents to
the farm three years ago for a brief vacation. His home
is in Danbury, Connecticut. Last Summer he returned
* J v ■-
Mike Devon, with his favorite cow, “Legs". Mike
is a former farm vacationer turned farm employee.
for a two-month stay and learned alot about the farm
work. He decided, after the Ranck’s had offered him a
job, to turn down a summer job in an electronic firm in
Connecticut and come back to the farm to work.
Mike said, “A robot could do the job I would have
been doing in the electronics firm. I would not have any
real decisions to make. I would be checking and check
ing over and over again the same things and working in
side all the time." Mike will be a senior this Fall when
he returns to his high school. He looks to a future m
computer science, bio-medical engineering or medicine,
he says. His parents both have professions. His father is
a mechanical engineer and his'mother is a real estate
For this summer, least, Mike chose to not only
visit, but also, to work‘on a Pennsylvania dairy farm.
He enjoys tractor work when it is not too slow-going and
welding. Part of his job is to milk or help milk both
milkings each day. Getting up at 5 a.m. is part of his
daily routine, as is helping to show the tourists around
and doing whatever else needs to be done on a busy
Whether it is a chance to make contact with people
from many walks of- life, the chance to visit while the
work continues or even the unusual chance to discover a
valuable employee, farm vacation hosting has been a
good experience for Don and Virginia Ranck.
<smny shares her Grandmother’s special crumb sugar
Crumb Sugar Pie
Mix all together: (Gmny uses a pastry blender)
1 cup whole wheat flour
Vh cup white flour
1 cup granulated sugar
% cup butter
2 teaspoons baking powder
teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
Mix all together with a pastry blender. Take out Vz
cup crumbs and set aside. Mix 1 cup sweet milk into re
maining crumb mixture. Spoon into 9-mch unbaked pie
crust. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs. Bake at 350°F for
30 minutes. Yields 2 9-mch pies. This is also called