Nestled among the Berkshire and Taconic Hills in the beautiful Hancock Valley is Ioka Valley Farm, established in 1936 when Robert and Dorothy Leab drove 13 head of cattle over Brodie Mountain from Lanesboro and settled them onto the property they named Ioka Valley from an Indian word meaning “beautiful”. Bob was noted for his belief in conservation and obtaining maximum crop yields. Through hard work and the latest in scientific advances, he made the farm, once labeled as a “poor farm” because of its wornout soil, a success.
Bob and Dot raised five children on the farm, and in 1966 their son, Donald, took over. He and his wife, Judy, brought up their three children on the farm. Daughters Heather and Kate are both married and live nearby. Son Robert and his wife, Melissa, represent the third generation of Leabs to work on the farm.
In 1996, the dairy herd was sold and the Leabs are putting all their energy into being a diversified farm. Diversification began in 1986 with the planting of the first Christmas Trees. Gradually further diversification included pumpkins in 1989, strawberries in 1992 as well as maple syrup production was introduced to the farm. In 1997 they converted the farm’s calf barn into the “Calf-A” serving pancake meals with their own maple syrup during the sugar season. The summer season “Uncle Don’s Barnyard began in 1997 offering an education farm animal petting and farm themed play experience for children and their families. The Leab family continues to raise Natural Beef and horse and cattle forages.
The farm is located only minutes from Pittsfield, MA, or Albany, NY… just around the corner from Jiminy Peak Resort. Although Ioka Valley Farm is a working farm , the Leab family is dedicated to providing enjoyment for all ages.