By Carmen Gentile // Photographs by The Oberports
Kevin Jarosinski on his 20-acre farm in Butler County, Pa. He delivers eggs and other products to homes, restaurants, and stores, each week.
Kevin Jarosinski knew from kindergarten that working the land was his future.
Jarosinski, 28, is a first-generation farmer. His interest in agriculture began with visits to his grandparents, watching the dairy farm across from their home. At 15, he acquired 25 Rhode Island Red chickens through mail order, raising them in his family’s Springdale, Pa., basement, eventually moving to a small parcel of land in rural Buffalo Township, Pa.
He started by selling eggs mostly to his teachers and neighbors. The 10th-grader soon doubled his flock and set up distribution in the Pittsburgh region.
Today, Kevin runs a microfarm of 20 acres in southern Butler County, with a flock just shy of 400 laying hens.
The bedrock of the microbusiness is an egg-buying club with about 30 member families. He texts them on Thursdays to offer what’s fresh – not just eggs but bacon, kielbasa, and seasonal vegetables. He makes deliveries on Fridays, home to home.
The bulk of his work is maintaining these relationships, which go back more than a decade. Early on, he also worked with Penns Corners Alliance to establish himself and collaborate with smaller, local farms on broader distribution.
On Tuesdays, Jarosinski delivers his products to cafés and stores in Pittsburgh.
Kevin Jaroskinski with his Rhode Island Red hen. Photograph by Jen Saffron
“I am dying to work with people who have passion, people who know their customers, not some large conglomerate,” he said. “My deliveries of eggs and produce are the positive highlights of my day. I am dealing right with the owner, the chef, and we talk and do business, directly. A lot of farmers have success with direct sales, as I believe people want to feel connected to their farmer.”
He sells to Phillip Milton of both Home in Smallman Galley and Which Came First in Federal Galley. Jarosinski also delivers on Tuesdays to Sprezzatura in Millvale and two stores in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood.
“It’s so cool to meet so many people along the way on Tuesdays – I love it. I totally entrust the people I sell to. As a farmer, I can only raise it from the field to the kitchen, then I trust the chefs to make it into delicious meals.”
Crops and animals at his farm thrive without antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, or synthetic fertilizer. Jarosinski primarily focuses on eggs, chicken, pork, lamb, and beef, plus some vegetables. He obtains fruit from a nearby farm to expand his offerings.
While he grows and raises everything from microgreens to hogs to maple syrup, he said the chickens are his favorite.
“They have a special place in my heart. My mom first suggested that I get chickens and raise them – it’s a connection with my mom.”
Jen Saffron is a writer, photographer, and the owner and chef at Sprezzatura, a solar-powered community café and catering company based in the Millvale Food and Energy Hub in Millvale, Pa.
By Zubair Babakarkhail
By ZUBAIR BABAKARKHAIL | PHOTOGRAPHS BY MARTHA RIAL
By Carmen Gentile