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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, October 14, 2013

Down On The Farm

Though commercial farming is certainly making inroads nationwide, there are still 900 family-owned farms in Northampton County. So far, 123 have been preserved, meaning they will always be maintained as farms instead of succumbing to a developer's bulldozer. Every October, Penn State Extension offers a weekend farm tour. This year, 19 farms participated, delighting and entertaining the rest of the community, giving nonfarmers a newfound respect for what really is not a job, but a way of life.

Buza's Greenhouse. located on Newburg Road in Lower Nazareth, has a festive pumpkin display.

What would a farm tour be without a bluegrass band? The Dick Saylor Band performed at Klein Farms, a working dairy farm that has operated in Forks Township since 1935.

Rachel Klein Schmidt is dressed for business at her dairy farm.

Don't tell anyone, but Santa's reindeer have a home at the Z Arch Barn Farm, located near Klein Farms in Forks Township.

Z Arch Barn Farm owner Deborah Zarate displays some of the tiny reindeer for sale at Z Arch Barn Farm, but they sell the larger variety, too, along with Christmas trees.

"You looking at me?" asks Dasher. Or is it Dancer?

Former NorCo Executive Glenn Reibman, with his wife Sue Ann and guard dog, loves to tour the farms every year. He almost bought a reindeer.

Clear Spring Farm, owned by the Kromer family in Forks Township, is community supported agriculture in which shareholders are paid dividends in the form of a 30 different kinds of vegetables, grown from May through November.

Steve Finke, President of the Lehigh Valley Beekeepers' Association, shows off his sweet wares at True Blue Farm in Lower Mount Bethel Township. He keeps about 50 hives, whose honeybees pollinate the pumpkins and other produce we eat.

Visitors are unable to resist sampling fresh honey, right out od the hive, as evidenced by all the finger marks.

Anna and Ben Baker, both 10, enjoy sampling the homemade ice cream from Spring Valley Farm, a preserved dairy farm in Lower Mount Bethel that has operated since 1824.

Judy Kneebone, owner of Spring Valley Farm, tells me one of her horses is confused. Scout thinks he's a cow. "He follows them everywhere," she tells me. "He's a real sweetie."

Northampton County farming history is shared by Catherine Miller, neighbor Francis Podboreski and daughter Dawn Fraunfelter. "I'm a farm girl born and raised on a farm," Catherine states, noting proudly that she's been working at Spring Valley Farm since '47. "It's a little more work than what I was accustomed to," she states. "This farm was supposed to be under water twice," remembering her fight against now shelved plans to flood the area. "It didn't cost us a cent," she boasts of the battle she helped win.

Just outside of Bangor, Purple Haze Alpacas is just the place for sweaters, shawls, scarves and other Alpaca products, including the alpacas themselves. Chloe Skrapits, age 13, couldn't stop laughing at these furry, gentle creatures.

This fellow spent the day watching the tourists who were watching him.

No farm tour would be complete without a hayride at Juniperdale Farms, near Nazareth. The Fulmer family operate this crop farm, where you can pick your own strawberries in the Spring.

In the Fall, you can pick and paint your own pumpkins there, too. Jaden Xavier Reyes, age 6, and sister Scarlet, age 2, dazzled everyone with their artistry.

You can see all 31 pictures on Facebook.


Bernie O'Hare said...

I deleted a completely off topic comment. This thread is about our farmers. I put a lot of work into it, and they put a lot of work into their tour. If you can't respect me, you should respect them.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

farm preservation - bribing farmers not to sell with my tax money. if they are so dedicated they don't need a bribe

Anonymous said...

Open Space funding was approved by the voters along with a tax to fund it. Good thing for the county. Get over it, pal.

Anonymous said...

the voters were duped once again as most are mere sheep, pal

Anonymous said...

Wonderful photos! Wanted to go.
Important story in today's paper about more government regulations for small farms. Maybe PA residents need to contact state legislators.

Anonymous said...

Great job on photos
love this positive story and to see families working together

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:49 not so clever reference to a barnyard animal. Allow me to make another. You are pig headed to believe that voters were ignorant when they approved a referendum on open space. The farmland preservation program in Norco is a model for the state. Instead of being proud for what it has accomplished, you have to bring it down. Oink oink.

Anonymous said...

Preserved land should be returned to its natural state prior to be clear cut and tilled, woods. Open land preservation is a misnamed scam.

Bernie O'Hare said...

It's no scam, but it's easy to pervert. Open space preservation in NC consists of three areas: farmland preservation; environmentally sensitive land; and parks. I think you say that you support the second, if you support it at all. But environmentally sensitive land needs our help the least bc in many cases, it is regulated already. Farmland is another story. I do not support preserving minifarms for gentleman farmers. I do support preserving the family farms that made this nation great and actually consider it a matter of national security.All that locally grown food can feed us in the event of a catastrophe.

Anonymous said...

Voters who don't agree with the teabaggers are always duped. Just ask the old disability collecting baggers, they will tell you all you need to know.

c said...

Good article Bernie!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Thanks, I enjoyed it, but my car did not.

Anonymous said...

Nice post. Thank you.