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Sernak Farms history

Sernak Farms has been located along Quakake Road in Weatherly for 100 years.

It has expanded from a small 79-acre farm to the 1,000 acres the family farms today. The Sernaks own approximately 500 acres and rent an additional 500 acres from other farmers around the area.

Here are some highlights of the history of the four-generation operation.

• Early 1900s: Stephen Sernak emigrates from Trencin, Czechoslovakia, by himself as a young boy in the hopes of starting a new life. He first ends up in the Port of New Orleans before making his way to Missouri but eventually leaves there and travels to Pennsylvania, where he works in the mines.

• Stephen meets Ethel Washko, a Slovakian immigrant, and the two are married in West Hazleton in 1912. The couple purchases a 79-acre farm owned by the Leiningers for $13,000 in 1920 and begin to farm the following year.

• The couple welcomed eight children: Veronica, Eddie, Joseph, Mary, Paul, Cyril, Henry and Benedicta, and farm life continued. In addition to produce, they made bread and butter, smoked meats, and sold eggs and milk in the area.

• Stephen died in 1955 and the family farm continued to operate under Ethel.

• Son Henry married Ann Adams in December 1956 and the couple took over the operations upon Ethel’s passing in 1967. Together, along with their children, Stephen, William, James, John, Henry, Jeffrey, Susan and Stephanie, they continued to expand the farm.

• At one time, the farm raised as many as 100 cows and produced a half million pounds of milk a year. The family also expanded to include other produce, including cabbage, and eventually had 2.5 million cabbage plants in its crops.

• In 1998, the farm sold its first Christmas trees and began expanding into the tree business. In 1999, the first Sernak Farms hay ride was held and operations to include additional holiday events began. By 2008, the Sernaks were also growing 4,000 mums annually and selling approximately 500 Christmas trees.

• In 2003, Jeffrey went into a silo to unclog an auger and became trapped in the grain bin. He was rescued after six hours and was uninjured.

• Henry died in August 2011 at the age of 83. In his obit, it says he and his family turned the “modest family farm into a thriving agricultural supplier of fresh vegetables to a number of grocery story chains.”

• The farm was taken over by Henry’s children, led by son William, who passed away in April 2015 at the age of 55.

• Jeffrey, wife Karen and his family then took over the main operations with the help of his brothers and sisters, and together they continued what their grandparents started. Today, a fourth generation of Sernak farmers, including Jeffrey and Karen’s children Dillon and Katlyn, continue to expand operations and produce corn, cabbage, a variety of flowers, hay and more.

Source: Sernak Farms scrapbook about the history of the farm

A photo of Henry Sernak, a second-generation farmer of Sernak Farms in Weatherly, is seen in the family's scrapbook on the history of the farm. Henry passed away in 2011. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Ethel and Stephen Sernak, two immigrants, settled in the Weatherly area and started Sernak Farms in 1921.
A view of the farm taken years ago.