FirstWatch Farms was formally founded in 2008, but for Jonathan Einwechter the love of farming began in his childhood. While he was growing up, his family lived for three years on his grandfather’s dairy farm. During their time there, Jonathan and his siblings worked with their grandfather, milking cows twice a day, feeding calves, baling hay, and a host of other jobs. After the Einwechter family moved to Lancaster County, when Jonathan was 12, Jonathan started working for several local farmers doing hay and milking cows, while also taking trips to his grandparents farm occasionally to help them and learn farming.
During 2006, Jonathan, who had been debating for awhile if he wanted to farm full-time or not, came to the decision he definitely wanted to. So, he set himself to working for his grandfather, as an apprentice, for six months and reading Joel Salatin’s book "You Can Farm". The time on his grandfather’s farm was very profitable, teaching him basic animal care and management, and the book by Salatin introduced him to the sustainable, grass-based method of farming. So the next summer he raised five beef cattle in with his grandfather’s heifers, which he had processed and sold by the quarter, half, and whole. In the pasture next to his house, he also experimented with pastured poultry by raising laying hens.
That year as well he worked full-time in the produce department of a local grocery store. While he was there, handling produce and interacting with farmers that came into sell, he began to take an interest in growing vegetables. He prayed about it, researched it, and decided to try it the next year.
So in the spring of 2008, he quite his grocery store job and headed out to the field to be a full-time farmer for the summer. This was the beginning of FirstWatch Farms. The farm consisted of 1 acre of rented ground for a large variety of produce, a pen for ten hogs, a small pasture for 75 broiler chickens, and a 6.5 acre pasture for seven beef cattle. The year was a major learning experience, time of building valuable contacts, becoming established selling at the Downtown Lititz Farmers' Market, and showing Jonathan he really did like growing vegetables.
The next year, 2009, Jonathan decided he wanted to focus his enterprise more on produce. The chickens and hogs were discontinued, the beef cattle were kept at five head, and the produce was upped to 3.5 acres. The growing season went much better, with higher quality vegetables and sales coming in more abundantly. The farm sold almost half of its produce through the Downtown Lititz Farmers’ Market and about the other half through the Wayne CSA, which was started in 2009.
Another very exciting thing happened for Jonathan the same year. He became engaged to Monique Hoffman, from Kansas, on May 16, and they were married on August 8th of the same year. They are currently happily married with their first child, Elise, born June 5th, 2010.