History of the Farm
In 1966, Charles and Faith Kelkenberg purchased what was formerly the Meisner Farm on Wolcott Rd. in Clarence Center, NY. They had both grown up on farms and wanted one of their own to raise what would eventually be their 6 children. On the farm, they had beef cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, and a riding horse to provide for their family.
In loving memory of
When the youngest child, Heidi, entered kindergarten in 1976, Charlie and Faith purchased their first Belgian Draft Horse named “Connie”. A year later, they added “Libby” so that they had a working team of horses to pull a wagon and equipment around the farm. As the children grew, so did the number of animals and draft horses. Hayrides for Charlie and Faith’s family and friends became hayrides for the public. Word-of-mouth advertising soon had school children visiting the farm for field trips, hayrides for hire, and pony rides for children. What started as a hobby had grown into a full-fledged business!
In 1992, Charlie and Faith’s daughter Charlene married Patrick Spoth, left her teaching job, and returned home to Clarence Center to work on the farm and start their family. She has a Masters Degree in Agricultural Education, so expanding the educational school tour business on the farm was a natural fit. The saying “all that goes around comes around” is certainly applicable on the farm, as Patrick and Charlene soon built their own home across the farmyard from Charlie and Faith’s so that they could raise their own children on the farm. Their four children (Elizabeth, Patrick, Matthew, and Anna) make up the third generation of Kelkenberg Farm of Clarence.
Again following in the footsteps of Faith and Charlie, Charlene began to assume more of the business management responsibilities when her youngest child, Anna, started kindergarten in 2006. In 2009, the farm formally moved on to the second generation. While all four of Patrick and Charlene’s children have now graduated high school and moved out of home, they continue to help on the farm, from baling hay in the summer to welcoming guests in the fall. Still just through word-of-mouth, the farm has continued to grow each year, and we’re able to employ members of our community that have become like family.
Although we have been at it for more than 30 years, we continue to update our farm to address the needs of all ages and interests of farm visitors. We love it when a repeat farm visitor tells us they learned something new! Lately, we have loved turning old farm equipment into ‘new’ farm toys for all of our farm families to enjoy, and are working on expanding our on-farm bakery and food options! We try our best to keep the experience fresh while providing the same old-fashioned, down-on-the-farm fun that our guests know and love!