Fight for Tabora

J Bennington, Staff Writer

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In 2008, a small family began to lease a piece of land in Hilltown Township.  Through hard work, the Torrices were able to make a living off this business venture, which they named Tabora Farm and Orchard.  Utilizing the peaches, cherries, apples, and other fruits that grew on their property, the Torrices annually created events that encouraged families to spend the day at their farm.  Tabora became a staple of the Pennridge community, selling baked goods, deli sandwiches, and providing the community with countless events to join in on. However, 10 years after their opening, the complaints of a few residents have thrown the fate of Tabora Farms into the air.  This is an unjust treatment to a small- town business who has provided the community in countless ways.

The complaints from Tabora neighbors about increased traffic have resulted in Hilltown investigating and citing the farm for many ludicrous things.  An employee of Tabora, Julia Johnson, says that “The traffic is never bad. At most an increase in traffic is related to the nice weather and Peace Valley Park.”  Hilltown cited them for increasing their parking lot by 7,800 square feet without filing the proper paperwork for it, having cooking supplies installed in the deli without paperwork, adding a porch to their building, having an apartment, all of these being zoning offenses. However, the Torrices were always talking to the town government about their actions, and Hilltown knew about their additions and practices since they opened, but only cited them for it last year.  Not only did Hilltown know of these practices, but they also approved some of them, at least for the previous owners. J. Roger and Jane Eatherton were allowed by the township to build the apartment and install the cooking equipment as part of a 1999 expansion. The deli was even inspected biannually.

The Torrices have spent an unimaginable amount of money on their business, and in turn for the community as well.  They spent two million dollars to buy the farm and own the land. They added a wine shop, new trees to harvest, and created 25 yearly public events, all for the enjoyment of their customers.  Those events are now down to ten. Their wine license has been revoked. The Torrices have had to spend 50,000 dollars in legal fees to fight for their farm, now worrying that these fees will jeopardize their employees.  Tabora should not need to fight to stay afloat. They have increased tourism to our area, giving families the opportunity to make memories, and make the best-baked goods for miles. Luke Eissler, a neighbor of Tabora, says “I’ve been there a lot when I was younger and the food there is really good”. Luke is an obvious example of how Tabora has had a lasting impression on all customers.

The complaints of a few neighbors shouldn’t have this drastic effect on such an important landmark.   As a business that has proven itself to this community many times, the community needs to now prove itself to them.