Brad Weaver, co-owner of Castle Creek herb farm: Q&A
Castle Creek Farm is a family-run herb farm in Spring Township, Perry County, owned and operated by Brad and Lisa Weaver and their three sons.
In addition to growing herbs — including fenugreek, chamomile, lavender, rosemary and more — Castle Creek also raises alpacas and processes their fiber into yarn.
Q: How long has Castle Creek Farm been running? How did you come into herb farming?
A: About 18 years. My wife, Lisa Weaver, was always interested in herbs, we mainly took off from her interest. She was in an herb guild back in Indiana. When we married, we brought the business out here and started at the farmers markets and it just evolved into the shop.
Who do you do business with?
We sell to the local community, and we also sell some of our herb mixes wholesale throughout the country. We’ve sold them as far as Germany. Our wholesale customers are store owners in the United States. Retail sales are here in the local community. And we do sell online also, at castlecreekfarm.com.
Describe day-to-day operations on the farm. What is the best part of the day?
Every season’s different. Normally, first thing in the morning is feeding the animals. We have alpacas. After that the boys do their schoolwork with my wife while I start working in the shop, repotting plants or whatever needs to be done. When you have a business at your residence, you always have to keep everything looking nice.
I like working with the animals most myself, but my wife would prefer to work with the herbs. Each family member has their own special niche that they like to do the best.
What is the cycle of product like? Is there a particular part of the year that is especially exciting or interesting?
Being that this is our livelihood, we have to keep things going throughout the year. Early in the spring, before things start growing, we have to do some garden shows. Some of them start as early as February. Then April starts the growing season, when we’re selling mostly retail herb plants. We’re constantly packaging dried herbs to sell to the retail and wholesale market. Throughout the summer it’s pretty much maintaining our stock and keeping the orders filled. In the fall, we start to do fall festivals and fairs. Getting into the holiday season we’ll start to do holiday festivals and fairs to try to promote our business. January typically is one of our slowest months but other than that we have to stay busy all year long.
Tell us about the classes you offer.
Lisa handles those. This past weekend we just had a weaving class, for people to learn how to weave with looms. We also offer classes on different uses of herbs, mostly culinary but some for body care products. They’re scattered throughout the year, whenever time allows.
One of our highlights is a big Lavender Thyme Festival here in June. It’s a two-day event, Friday and Saturday. We usually get maybe a thousand people through here, people from as far away as New Jersey and Pittsburgh. We have vendors set up on the grounds, and demonstrations and talks pretty much all day long, anything from showing how to shear alpacas to taking a walk in the woods and finding edible plants. We have a lot of other herbalists come in and do the talks because we’re so busy just trying to keep things organized. It’s definitely the biggest event for us throughout the year. We start planning it usually in February.