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Deer Creek Herb Farm
Kathy Lesher
Jesse Lesher

20 years ago, my husband, Jesse and I were on a day trip with our two young daughters when we stumbled across an herb farm going out of business. I had always grown a few herbs in pots and wanted to learn more but I was a busy mother as well as a teacher and the Director of a local Preschool. The herb farm owner was leaving within the hour for a three week vacation before she, ironically, planned to return to a teaching career. Someone had failed to come for the remaining herb plants weeks before so they were now destined to die. She offered us a few plants. Jesse looked at me and said. “You always wanted an herb farm. Here’s your chance.” We asked the owner what she would charge for all the plants. She quoted a ridiculously low price so we bought them all. Three truck loads of plants later, an herb business had begun.

After spending my winter studying about herbs, the following Spring, we were ready to open but we needed a name. The Little Muddy Creek flows through our property and we wanted to incorporate it in some way. However, The Little Muddy Herb Farm wasn’t quite what we had in mind. We knew the deer came to drink in the creek and were often seen so Deer Creek Farm was named. Our shop was located in the old Chicken Coop that had been on our property in the back yard for decades. I taught Preschool mornings while Jesse continued at his own job and I opened afternoons and weekends. Our home and land were originally part of Jesse’s great-grandparents farm. Our home was built 75 years ago by Jesse’s grandparents in the Tudor Revival style, reminding them of their heritage, having come to this country from Germany in the early 1900’s.

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The first year we offered 65 varieties of potted herbs and I began drying and crafting with them. After two years, it was clear that we needed a greenhouse and a larger retail area. The greenhouse was constructed and an Amish man from Lancaster County, PA was hired to build the horse barn that would now become the Country Store. I resigned from my teaching job and became the “Herb Lady”. This is a title to which I daily aspire. I was now able to teach about herbs full time.

The 40 by 40 foot Display Herb Garden was planted and yielded many Native American Indian arrowheads during the digging process. The Chicken Coop now became the display area for Fresh Greens Wreaths at Christmas. When the property was threatened by highway construction in 2002, we decided to pick up and move our 286-ton stone family home up a hill to the rear of our property. A 14 by 24 foot shed was brought in to be used as our living facility while the home was moved. We lived in that building for 13 weeks from October to December with nighttime temperature at 5 degrees. This building is now used for the 20 workshops that I teach throughout each year. I am still a teacher and, with the valuable help of Jesse who is now home with me full time, we are pleased to offer over 325 varieties of herbs and 100 varieties of hosta.

God works in mysterious ways. We planted the seeds and watched them grow. 40 years ago when we married, who would have ever anticipated these turns in the pathways of our lives? We have been truly blessed.

-Kathy Lesher

Deer Creek Herb Farm ® 3721 Deer Creek Rd.Reading,PA 19608