The greater Lehigh Valley region is home to many exceptional family farms. We have hardworking farmers that run dairy and grain operations, livestock operations, orchards, vegetable farms, plant nurseries, mushroom farms, horse farms, and wineries. A great way to get a glimpse of some of these farms, meet your local farmer and learn how your food is produced is to participate in your county’s annual Open Gate Farm Tour.
The Lehigh and Northampton County offices of Penn State Extension have organized Open Gate Farm Tours annually for over 40 years. The tours originally began to show city residents what life was like in the country in hopes it would foster a greater appreciation for the farmer. This year, the Northampton County Open Gate Farm Tour is scheduled for Saturday, October 12th and Sunday, October 13th from 1:00 to 5:00 pm on both days. The Lehigh County Open Gate Farm Tour is scheduled for Sunday, October 20th. There is no charge to visit any of the farms, so it’s a great way to spend a fall day.
There are 19 Northampton County farms and 20 Lehigh County farms participating this year. Many of the farms are offering educational tours, hayrides, food samples, cider press demonstrations and the list goes on. The farms are scattered throughout both counties so no matter where you live, it should be a relatively quick drive to at least get to one.
You can find detailed descriptions of what each farm is offering along with a map and directions at the following websites:
LEHIGH COUNTY: http://extension.psu.edu/lehigh/events/2013-lehigh-county-open-gate-farm-tour
NORTHAMPTON COUNTY: http://extension.psu.edu/northampton/events/2013-northampton-county-open-gate-farm-tour
Berks County also has a farm tour scheduled for Saturday, October 19th that’s sponsored by the Berks Agricultural Resource Network (B.A.R.N.). The Berks County tour will feature farms and agricultural businesses in the East Penn Valley of Berks County. This year’s event will include dairy cattle, goats, mushrooms, preserved farms and more. Tour booklets can be purchased the day of the tour at Weaver’s Hardware, 732 Fleetwood Lyons Rd Fleetwood, PA 19522, telephone (610) 944-7681, beginning at 8:30 a.m. The booklet contains a map of all the host farm locations, along with local restaurants, other sponsors, and B.A.R.N. information. The Farm Tour hours are 9 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. The cost is $10 per family vehicle. It is a self-driving tour. Educational displays by agricultural organizations will be part of the day’s tour, and the Berks Farm Women Society will be selling refreshments at one of the locations. For more information, visit http://www.berksag.net/october-farm-tour.html