I spent the morning and early afternoon at an Amish farm in Honeybrook, PA, which should be 25 minutes from me, but ended up being a 40 minute circular goose chase. I found the place with no help from Google or Mapquest, after first stopping to ask a gas station attendant, and finally an Amish youth pedaling a scooter down the road came to the rescue, turned out he knew the farmer. In western Chester County, the region feels more like Lancaster from the good sized smattering of Mennonite and Amish farms.
This was another workshop for farm interns/apprentices and the general public, that I coordinate for Maysie’s farm. What you may know about the Amish is that they don’t use electricity or drive cars. What you probably don’t know is how organized and savvy they are about farming. Why all the kids? To help farm the land. And these are polite, well mannered teenagers who dish out ice cream to strangers without attitude or any twinge of resentment for being made to work on a Saturday. I am duly impressed.
Benuel Stoltzfus and his wife Anna, along with their nine children, raise dairy cows, chickens, pigs, and offer organic raw milk, grass fed beef, cottage cheese, yogurt and various other hard cheeses as organic value added products from their farm. After a horse drawn wagon farm tour around the fields to visit the Jersey girls, we were treated to delectable homemade vanilla and chocolate ice cream.
I came away loaded with fresh – oh the yellow! – organic butter, glass bottled milk with cream settled at the top, organic yogurt with a stripe of cream near its lid, free range eggs and handmade soaps. Rose geranium and rosemary lavender. I got to see the hens scratching and new 6 day old piglets. Maybe that’s why I forgot to buy any bacon.
I’ll have more information available about the farm and its practices on Maysie’s blog tomorrow.