Harner Farm, which has been a staple of State College since 1945, plans on selling 72 of its 102 acres along Whitehall Road.
A Re/Max sign was put up last Saturday at the farm, located at 2191 W. Whitehall Road.
Owner Dan Harner cited sustainability and cost as reasons for the putting the land on the market. The Ferguson Township farm will continue to grow the same produce, just in a smaller capacity, Harner said, and its popular market is going to stay relatively unchanged. Harner plans on moving production to a 30-acre plot, which abuts the land for sale.
“It’s just getting more and more difficult to do the kind of farming that we do here,” Harner said. “It’s essentially a downsizing operation — we’re going to tighten everything up.”
Plans for scaling down have been on the table for a while, Harner added. The farm, which once grew 35,000 bushels of apples as a peak crop, now maxes out at about 12,000. During the transition, Harner estimates that production will range between 6,000 to 8,000.
In terms of efficiency, however, the reduced area will carry some benefits. Harner Farm has begun planting on a smaller rootstock and at a higher density in order to maximize space.
The downsizing includes a number of moving parts. Tractors, sprayers and other equipment will be moved and a cider press operation will be dismantled. Harner said the farm, which used well water previously, will have to procure a water source.
But largely, Harner said, it will be business as usual. Though moving to a smaller parcel of land, pumpkins, sweet corn, canteloupes, apples, peaches, grapes and more will still be available for picking and sales. Harner sees the business, which still does some wholesale, moving more toward retail and “pick-your-own.”
In the 1970s, the farm conducted all of its business through wholesale distribution.
“The public will see a difference because you won’t see the orchards along the highway here,” Harner said. “But as far as what the market would look like ... things are kind of going to remain the same, and it’s going to be a timely process.”
The land for sale is not on preserved farmland, Harner said, so potential buyers may be able to develop there.
Roger Van Scyoc: 814-231-4698, @rogervanscy