Remembering Paul Keene of Walnut Acres
Paul Keene, visionary organic farmer and food producer, died last week. The fact that he lived to age 94 is a testament to his claims of the benefits of living and eating in harmony with nature.
His obituary tells that he was a missionary in India, where he met Mahatma Ghandi, and bought the farm he named Walnut Acres in 1946.
Some may remember the Walnut Acres mail order catalog -- an extensive line of foods grown and produced on the farm. They made the best ever peanut butter! Apples grown at Walnut Acres were the first food in the U.S. to be certified organic. In addition, Keene and his family marketed products from organic growers from all over -- including dried fruit from the Hunza region of Pakistan.
Walnut Acres was sold a few years ago. There is another company marketing under their name.
Oh wow! Thanks for posting about this. When I lived in central PA in the mid to late 80s, I was a frequent shopper at the Walnut Acres store and had met Mr. Keene several times, as my late stepfather sang in the local chorale with him. The store was always packed on weekends; people drove for miles to buy their wonderful products.
A crying shame that they sold out to whoever's running the show now. Now it seems all you can find are the canned tomato products and various fruit juices. Their rice mixes were a favorite of mine, along with many other of their products.
A true innovator.
Thank you for posting about the death of Paul Keene and the link to his obituary.
I thought the world of the original Walnut Acres and ordered from them for many years. We moved, and things were busy and stressful for a while. When I tried to call the WA number, it had been disconnected. It took a good bit of effort to find out the company had been sold and I still actively mourn its loss.
We are now members of a wonderful CSA and its nice to feel that Mr. Keene was a forerunner, not to mention a pioneer in the organic movement. But he always tried to keep things personal. I well remember his newsletter at the beginning of each new catalog.