James Weaver has farming in his blood “My family’s farming roots go back to the 1500s in Switzerland. That’s why we immigrated to America – for an opportunity to farm.” The family business was handed down from father to son for generations. In 1978, James Weaver’s father handed him the reins of Meadow View Farm. The late seventies and early eighties were not an easy time to launch a farm business: “I did what my dad did all his life because that was what he taught me to do. But it didn’t work anymore. It was get big or get out and I didn’t have any money to get bigger. I needed to make some changes.”
High quality produce was the answer, James explains. In 1987, “By the promptings of my parents we put up the first greenhouse [to grow produce]. We started selling at a tailgate market in Reading. At that point, I discovered that I liked interaction with the customers [and] having something that the customers came back the next week and told me how good it was. It’s been a matter of growth every since.” Today, Meadow View Farm has five greenhouses and a booming business.
The farm is most known for its 200 varieties of hot peppers and over 150 heirloom tomatoes. James Weaver is so well recognized for his expertise in growing heirlooms that people bring him seeds and demand that he preserve their heritage along with the plants. “People come to me on a yearly basis with their seeds and insist that I grow them. They say: You have to grow this tomato! It was named after my mother but I am the last of the gardeners, my children don’t want it. Please keep on growing them!”
With three generations currently working on the farm, the Weaver family is committed to keeping the business strong for years to come. According to James, the way to do that is simple: listen, pay attention, and plan accordingly: “If there is anything to which we can attribute the success [of this farm] it is that we keep our finger to the wind to find out what is going on, spot what is coming, and then work towards that goal.” More than just a business, growing good food is a passion in the Weaver family. If given a chance, James Weaver wouldn’t choose any other job. “Farming is all that I have known – ever. I would much rather go out and pack tomatoes at 5:30 in the morning than anything else. It’s also about the fact that people love fresh produce. I am making people feel good all day long with what I grow.”