Shared from the 5/25/2023 Centre County Gazette eEdition

Changing the game

Farmer-owned Kinfork brand connecting directly with retail buyers


Courtesy of Kinfork

FARMERS FROM the Keystone Family Farms Cooperative are prepare feed without the use of a tractor. Keystone Family Farms, located in Madisonburg, pulls from more than 50 farmers just like these to provide consumers with local produce, meat and dairy products.



A FREEZER filled with Kinfork beef.

MADISONBURG — If you travel along Brush Valley Road in Madisonburg, chances are you’ve driven past a large building with a large banner that reads, “Buy local beef & cheese.”

Inside that building, big things are happening. It’s the home to Kinfork, a brand recently launched by the farmer-owned co-operative Keystone Family Farms. Kinfork is changing the game — and is ramping up efforts to connect directly with retail consumers.

Amos Yoder oversees the facility and keeps things running smoothly.

“We started with produce five years ago, primarily selling to brokers,” Yoder explained.

Those brokers, Yoder said, were mostly grocery chains like Giant Eagle, Weis Markets, Whole Foods and Wegmans.

According to Yoder, Keystone Family Farms and the Kinfork brand appeal to consumers who are health-conscious and want to know where their beef and dairy products come from.

Nittany Valley Distributing is helping distribute the Kinfork products. Additionally, Hidden Rock Farm makes home deliveries. The products are also available at several farmers markets in the area.

“The mission behind it is to help the small farmers be successful and to share the good food that small farmers raise with the general public,” Yoder said.

As the brand has become more popular, the products have gone beyond the borders of Centre County.

Kinfork, Page A-4 from page A-1

And with the help of the information super highway, the beef and cheeses can be packed into coolers and shipped throughout the United States.

“We have shipped meat as far as Arizona,” Yoder said matter-of-factly. “We use ice packs. We pack in cardboard, wrap it with ice and it gets there OK. We can ship anywhere in the U.S.”

Keystone Family Farms draws from around 50 local farmers.

“It’s a farmer-owned entity. The farmers own the brand Kinfork,” Yoder said.

Dealing with 50 local farmers can be challenging, of course. However, Yoder said there are ways to manage the chaos.

“There are committees that oversee everything,” Yoder said. “Each section has a three-man committee that oversees it, so that helps a lot.”

There is an executive board, an advisory board, a produce committee, a beef committee, a fluid milk committee and a dairy processing committee.

The Kinfork brand has grown by leaps and bounds due to many factors, including advertising, social media and an actual salesperson.

“That’s primarily how we’ve been getting traction so far,” Yoder said, “and word of mouth. That works as well. We get some drive-by folks and people who are coming back for the second time.”

When it was founded, Keystone Family Farms was focused on processing and distributing local produce. The farmers involved were a breakaway group from the Lancaster Vegetable Farmers Co-operative.

When the produce aspect took off, Yoder saw another opportunity.

“In the past year and a half, we’ve gotten into beef. Our beef is primarily sold locally at this point,” Yoder said. “We have grass-fed, grain-finished and we also have grass-fed, grass-finished. … Most of our cattle have access to pasture.”

The beef can be purchased on-site. In fact, there is a freezer full of it — cut, wrapped and ready to go.

In addition to the beef, 17 dairy producers are producing milk for Keystone Family Farms.

“We’re handling that milk and it goes to United Dairy and is processed into different products and sold to grocery chains,” Yoder said. “We also have some of that milk made into our own brand of cheese.”

Next to the freezer full of beef, visitors will find a refrigerator filled with Kinfork brand cheese.

“We can now have retail customers come in and pick out stuff,” Yoder said.

There are a variety of cheeses to choose from — cheddar and Monterey Jack are some of the favorites, just to name a few.

“We’re coming out with some new flavored cheeses,” Yoder said. “Those are also sold through local supermarkets.”

The facility has a cheese aging room and another room for cutting the product. It is made in 40-pound blocks. Once it is ready, it’s cut into 5-pound, 2 1/2-pound, 8-ounce or 4-ounce blocks. The smaller sizes dominate retail sales.

For more information about Kinfork, visit or call (814) 349-5290.

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