Frances and Tim Crowhill Sauder are both from Lancaster County but spent many years living numerous places in United States and abroad. Tim knew that he wanted to be a farmer since before kindergarten and Frances’ love for the outdoors led her to work on organic produce farms through most of her twenties. Neither of them grew up on farms, but farming was in both of their families a generation back. Tim gained his farming experience in Reichenbach-Steegen, Germany where he lived and worked on a diversified farm and went to farm school, and in Manor township where he owned a herd of cows and rented a farm. While Frances is a musician as her main vocation, the fiddler in Fiddle Creek Dairy (www.francesmiller.net), she has also studied permaculture and has a passion for gardening. Tim and Frances went to high school together but ignored each other at that point It was only the summer of 2010, when Frances had returned to Lancaster to take care of her father who was terminally ill, that they met again at a Long’s Park summer concert. In January of 2012, they went made a pilgrimage on the Compestella de Santiago (as a delayed honeymoon) after Frances finished her last semester of grad school. It was during those long walks through the beautiful countryside of Germany and France, that Tim and Frances began articulating and defining their shared passion for sustainable, small-scale farming. Due to a recent battle with thyroid cancer, Tim was unsure about what kind of farming he could pursue in the future. Keeping in mind the potential limitations, they began to develop a vision for a microdairy; farming with a small herd of cows and making a value-added product. They realized that there may be a niche market for locally produced Greek yoghurt. They both loved yoghurt, and Tim used to make it for himself on a regular basis. A month later, Febuary 2012, they found what is now Fiddle Creek Dairy, up for auction and through a series of small miracles, purchased it. While the farm was in rough shape, they both felt a strong connection with the land with its rolling hills, spring-fed creeks and woods. They began the seemingly endless process of fixing and cleaning; first the house, then the production room, barn and farm in general. Now Fiddle Creek Dairy is up and running with a small herd of Jersey cows (100% grass fed), two 45 gallon vat pasteurizers in a very small production room to make Greek yoghurt and Swiss style yoghurt, and a walk-in cooler. The work has been constant especially with the addition of their son, Eli, born in November. But this venture has been joyful as they work through each step together. Frances and Tim are blessed to have a strong network of family and friends in the area as well as great neighbors who have helped them on numerous occasions.
Greek Style Yogurt - in glass
Swiss Style Yogurt - in glass