Kiski Township couple invites everyone to share fruits of their labor
The biggest, juiciest red raspberry of the season can barely contain itself, ripened to perfection but still hanging on the cane at a small farm along Kiski Township’s Old State Road.
The perfection is by design as Martin Krezolek, 42, researched and planted what he believes are the best kinds for his private collection of 12 varieties of blueberries. There are about 2,700 bushes and six red raspberry varieties growing from about 20,000 canes.
This berry farm is off the grid, at least at the moment. It has no name, no website and no set prices, which likely will not change. Just an understated, hand-painted sign that says “berries” visible from Old State Road.
Beyond that, it’s everything a you-pick-it berry farm should be: Neat rows of berries propped up by fresh-cut wood trellises, laid out on neatly cut grass that a child could romp around in bare feet if so desired. It’s so friendly, it’s wheelchair accessible — not a common attribute of berry farms.
The coiffed blanket of grass doesn’t come naturally. Krezolek spends two days mowing and trimming every 10 days “to keep it immaculate,” he said.
When visiting, it’s soon apparent that the farm is not just about fruit. It’s an example of manicured rural beauty with its gently sloping hills awash in short grass strung with perfectly spaced rows of berries and flanked by a cadre of birds singing and, no doubt, feasting.
“I believe in order,” Krezolek said, surveying his property, which is perfectly laid out with berry fields, a pool, jungle gym, large shade tree and a renovated, freshly painted blue-and-green house — all neat as can be.
The farm serves as an example of “God’s wonder,” Krezolek said, who describes his Christian family of six as driven by faith.
‘We’re selling an experience’
His wife, Lori Krezolek, 40, puts it this way: “We’re not just selling berries. We’re selling an experience.”
They want to share the bounty and beauty of their berry farm — one of the few places in the region to welcome the public to pick berries. And like other new establishments that don’t have a set price, such as the Knead Community Café in New Kensington, patrons pay what they think the berries are worth or what they can afford.
“There is no price; you pick as much as you like and pay as much as you like,” Krezolek said.
The farm was designed around the Krezoleks and their children, who moved from Pittsburgh, opting to leave city life for the country just outside of Apollo in Kiski Township in 2010.
“As a father, I wanted to find a way to provide a clear sense of direction and values for our children in our new home,” he said.
Krezolek, a contractor by trade, gutted and rehabbed the farm house while his family worked to clear the acreage.
“Berries are children-friendly,” he said. “They will keep their interest and keep them involved.”
When they aren’t preoccupied with berries, there are blueberry, blackberry and raspberry plants for sale.
The farm is open Monday through Saturday, dawn through dusk. To reach the owners, write to them via email [email protected].
Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-226-4691, [email protected] or via Twitter .