The name Vested Heirs comes from combining the names of the first generation of Stemples to farm our land. Fred and Vesta Stemple bought Four Winds Farm over 80 years ago and raised their family, crops and dairy cattle on it. We combined “Vesta” and “Fred” to make “Vested”. Darla and Debbie are true Stemple “Heirs” and the current generation to be “vested” in this land. This is how the name “Vested Heirs Farm” came about and we are proud to celebrate this rich agricultural history.
DEBBIE FIKE is one of the 3rd generation of Stemple’s to farm this land and is our Chief Financial officer. She also worked in a commercial greenhouse for several years. She has lived on the family farm land her entire life. Her early years were spent in the strawberry fields and milking the dairy cows while also helping to make hay on the farm with the rest of the family. She was actively involved from a young age in 4-H as a member of the Seneca Tribe and showed dairy cattle. She served on an award winning dairy judging team that went all the way to the national level. As she married and had 2 daughters of her own, she involved them in agriculture as they also were 4-H members and showed dairy cattle at many fairs and festivals, one of which, Kimberly Moyers, is still involved in 4 H as an assistant leader in Morgantown and serves on the Dairy Princess Committee for the West Virginia Dairy Show. Kim is the 4th generation of Stemple’s and has twins Addison and Colin (generation 5) . We love our 3 year old helpers who help water and pick our produce. They will be involved in 4-H when they are old enough. Kaylen Albright is also a 4th generation Stemple and has Richard our 5 year old farmer who aspires to be our Chief Equipment Operator so he can drive the tractor. When he is old enough he wants to be in 4-H too.
BJ FIKE is our Chief Equipment Operator and grew up in Bruceton WV making hay on many farms in the area. He and Debbie live and raised their daughters on family land in Aurora. He was actively involved with his daughters as they showed dairy cattle at many fairs and festivals. Several years ago he built a hobby greenhouse to start his garden plants, never realizing that same greenhouse would start all of Vested Heirs plants its first year. He enjoys having the grandkids help on the farm and tries to instill in them where their food comes from. BJ spends much of his time maintaining our equipment and is heavily responsible for our soil nutrient management program. As our only partner working a different shift, he delivers many of our sales after harvest and handles much of the cover crop maintenance. He is a coal miner by trade and has spent over 35 years providing energy for this country. He looks forward to farming full time someday and bleeds John Deere Green!
DARLA STEMPLE is a member of the 3rd generation of Stemples to farm this same land in Aurora. She is our Chief Planning officer as she has numerous computer skills. She laid out our planting plan long before we could ever put a seed in the ground. She also performs many of our seed trials to ensure germination rates. Darla grew up in 4-H as a member of the Delaware Tribe and actively showed dairy cattle. She too was on the award winning dairy judging team. She grew up milking cows on the family’s dairy operation, picking strawberries and also had a veal operation with her brother, David L. Stemple. She absolutely loves the Allis Chalmers “G” tractor that her Dad restored shortly before he passed and uses it as often as she can to cultivate some of our crops. She claimed it by declaring she had “licked it”, a little family joke about declaring possession. Darla currently is a West Virginia Emergency Manager and 911 Director in Tucker County but has wanted to return to farming for many years.
CINDY MURPHY is the final partner in the Vested Heirs Farm adventure and serves as our Marketing and Advertising Operator/Photographer while also handling safety issues on the farm. She started her life on a farm in Harrison County WV, where her family grew large gardens and canned vegetables and spent summers with her extended family in Ohio who had cattle and hay fields. She is a firefighter, by trade, and has spent over 21 years at the Clarksburg Fire Dept. She currently serves as a Captain and Director of Safety/Training. She handles much of our social media as well as marketing duties developing brochures, flyers and soon a Vested Heirs monthly newsletter. She had aspirations of being a professional porch sitter after she retired but is very much looking forward to being a full time farmer in a few years instead. She loves having Richard, Addison and Colin come to the farm to help out and learn where their food comes from.