Hartzler Family Dairy celebrates 52 years of farming naturally

The farm, which was founded by Harold Hartzler and his wife, Patricia, in 1952 in Wayne County, is now a role model for farms locally, as well as internationally.

Their efforts and successes with farming naturally have been widely accepted through special funded projects through The Ohio State University Sustainable Agriculture Program, as well as through international groups. Specifically, Harold was flown to Italy to meet with agricultural dignitaries from the Italian government, as well as six other nations. Harold was so well received that a group from Italy was sent to actually visit the farm.

Harold always said “life begins in the soil.” So he felt strongly that removing all sprays would enhance the life of the soil.

Although, the change at first handed several hardships to the family, the family held together by selling old equipment to make money, as well as stretching food costs by cooking economical recipes. By not losing hope, they finally began to see a return of their efforts with an increase in crop yields, healthy livestock again and sweet-tasting milk.

The farm began using sprays in the early 1950s; however, after struggling with unhealthy livestock, losing earthworms in the ground and soil that was hard and made plowing difficult, Harold knew that he had to do something to change the way he was farming. Even though he had no governmental help, no supportive research or professional advice, Harold made the decision to experiment, and discontinue the usage of everything that wasn’t natural, including all chemical fertilizer and all pesticides and herbicides.

Following dreams was also important to Harold. So on a January day in 1990, he told his family of his idea of starting a dairy so that they could sell their own milk. The idea was approved and preparations were made to begin this new journey. They spent more than five years building their new business.

Believing in responsible farming, the family also believes in bottling their milk in glass bottles, as opposed to the typical plastic. In addition to keeping the milk cooler, choosing glass bottles also prevents the absorption of unwanted chemicals from getting into the milk. Also, all glass bottles can be recycled, sanitized and used again, which also helps to save our environment.


©2016 Baker Creative

A family herloom hot milk cake recipe

We’ve been using this recipe in our family for years.  It’s great this time of year with all the fresh fruits.  I’ve even used natural sugar substitutes with the cake, which makes it even healthier!
Janice, Hartzler’s Dairy

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 30 min. + cooling YIELD:12-16 servings


  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/4 cups unbleached flour (or all-purpose)
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/4 cups Hartzler’s whole milk
  • 10 tablespoons Hartzler’s butter, cubed


  • In a large bowl, beat eggs on high speed for 5 minutes or until thick and lemon-colored. Gradually add sugar, beating until mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder; gradually add to batter; beat at low speed until smooth.
  • In a small saucepan, heat milk and butter just until butter is melted. Gradually add to batter; beat just until combined.
  • Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Yield: 12-16 servings.