Penn Township's Sunny K Farm marks 100 years
Merle Smith Kuznik wanted to see her family farm reach the century mark.
Her daughter, Marybeth Kuznik, fulfilled that wish for her.
Kuznik's family farm on Pleasant Valley Road in Penn Township, Sunny K Farm, was awarded the Century Farm status this month by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. Farms that have survived for 100 years can apply for the designation.
Kuznik said the application process was easy but the challenge is making sure the farm can reach that point.
“That's the hard part,” Kuznik said.
The farm was bought by the family in December 1912. Kuznik's mother died in 2011, a year before the farm was eligible for the designation. When she received the award in Harrisburg earlier this month, Kuznik made sure to remember her mother.
“I said I know my mom is here with me in spirit,” Kuznik said.
The farm has never been large enough for the family to make money working it, Kuznik said. Her grandfather was a coal miner who also farmed the land. Her mother was a teacher, and her father, William Kuznik, was the superintendent of Penn-Trafford School District. Kuznik works full time for VotesPA, a voting rights organization.
“It was always a farm where somebody had another career,” Kuznik said.
Currently, the farm only has horses but Kuznik hopes to add cattle and other agriculture.
“There's a lot of interest in knowing where your food comes from,” Kuznik said.
Kuznik has few family members left but has received help from friends and neighbors in maintaining the property. David Tamasy met Kuznik when she ran for a seat in the state house of representatives several years ago. He, along with friend Adam Kubizna and Kuznik's neighbor Dana Pcolar, help when needed.
Tamasy was excited to see Kuznik receive the century farm designation.
“It's fantastic,” he said. “That family has been through so many challenges.”
In recent years, Kuznik has dealt with problems from surrounding development including stormwater runoff. Despite nearby development, she said she has no plans to leave the farm and her mother had hoped it would keep its rural character.
“We always wanted this farm to remain a farm — to remain open space,” she said.
Tom McGee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2867 or firstname.lastname@example.org.