Schrute Farms in Scranton, PA — Farm Visit
Farm Visits: Highlighting a local farm and what makes it well worth a visit yourself.
“My grandfather left me a 60-acre working beet farm,” says beet farmer and paper salesman Dwight Schrute, as soon as I open the door of my car. So we’re jumping right into this, I guess!
I had an odd phone call asking if I would write a Farm Visit post on Schrute Farms. Apparently owner Dwight Schrute and his cousin Mose try leveraging grassroots exposure (as Dwight explains it) to get the farm in front of a wider audience and expand their agritourism business to the whole east coast. Though unorthodox, it sounds like a great idea to me! I love farms.
Right off the bat, Dwight gives me some easy directions to help visitors find the farm. “Schrute Farms is very easy to find. It’s right in the middle of the root vegetables district. If the soil starts to get acidic you’ve gone too far,” says Dwight.
When I ask him how you would know if the soil was acidic, he said to lick it of course. Well, now we know!
He suddenly changes the topic to Schrute Farms’ other big crop: Fun experiences.
Not only do Dwight and Mose grow acres of delicious beets, they also run a modest bed and breakfast! The Schrutes invite guests to step into a different time, to get their hands dirty, and to leave behind the comforts of modern life.
“People learn in lots of different ways,” says Dwight in the voice of someone explaining something simple to a child who should have understood by now, “but experience is the best teacher.” He says this as I spread manure around a beet field at his direction. He feels that staying at Schrute Farms B&B will not only give you an inside look at the beet farming industry, but also teach you life lessons you couldn’t learn anywhere else.
Most of the life lessons I’ve been learning from Dwight today have to do with bears, wolves, karate, and some past-their-freshness-date notions about women. I guess it’s true I couldn’t learn them anywhere else.
Next, I get to harvest my first beet. This seems to be a big deal to Dwight. (Lots of things are a big deal to Dwight.) I pull a beet out of the ground. He asks me if I feel any different. I smile and nod, since this seems to be important.
Dwight even gives me some sales tips in case I’m ever running a farm stand.
“First rule in roadside beet sales, put the most attractive beets on top. The ones that make you pull the car over and go, ‘Wow, I need this beet right now.’ Those are the money beets,” he says, motioning with his fists as if pounding on an invisible podium to underscore his point.
I tuck that away for the future in case I’m selling beets or need to insult someone.
Beets are the king of the vegetable kingdom, according to Dwight. They cure nearly any ailment, and they’re the one food item in the world that you can survive on without any other sustenance. He doesn’t have patience for any other unnecessary vegetables which, he dramatically intones, are all other vegetables.
“Those who can’t farm, farm celery,” he states, savagely.
I try to point out some factual inaccuracies.
“False!” shouts Dwight. (There’s been a lot of shouting today, the lion’s share done by Dwight.)
Dwight shares some more activities he and Mose have planned for B&B guests. There’s table-making, beet wine-making, and one activity where the guests just carry bags of dirt from field to field.
I ask about Schrute Farms’ amenities.
“As of this morning, we’re completely wireless here at Schrute Farms. But as soon as I find out where Mose hid all the wires, we’ll get that power back on.”
I can’t think of any more questions.
As I wrap up my interview with Dwight, I can’t help asking if we can just sit and talk for a little while. It’s all been pretty confusing, and his nigh-constantly running across the fields to chase Mose has made it harder for me to make sense of my notes (or Schrute Farms itself).
Is it a B&B? Is it a beet farm? Is it a rosé-like blend of both which, like madness, is greater than the sum of its parts? Why would future guests want to come here?
“You can’t handle my full attention,” is all Dwight has to say in response to my questions.
Farm Visit Checklist
For beet’s sake (oh no now I’m doing it too), don’t visit Schrute Farms (also it doesn’t exist)
Visit Kornerstone Farms if you’re after eggs and chicken
Happy April Fool’s Day!