Happenings

Horn Farm Happenings – October 1, 2021

The Final Push: 4,000 Trees to Go!

Things have finally cooled down at the Horn Farm Center – the 2021 Pawpaw Festival was a huge success (details below) and the fall season has brought us relief from the sweltering heat (and relentless rains) of summer. The shift in temperatures signals a change in activities on the farm, not only in the fields as we focus on the fall harvest and preparing for winter, but also in our perennial spaces.

We began this year with a lofty goal – to plant 10,000 trees and establish a 6 acre riparian buffer by the end of the year. After planting over 6,000 trees, we had the unique opportunity during Hurricane Ida to see firsthand how our distinctive design and high-density plantings will work to trap sediment, absorb storm water, and ultimately mitigate the effects of volatile climate conditions in the future. Farm Manager, Andrew Horn, captured this video.

This project is funded by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, PennVest, The GIANT Company and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s Healing the Planet grant program. This project is also supported by the Keystone 10 Million Tree Partnership and over 100 volunteers who came out to the farm to plant trees this spring.

With assurance in our project plan and the support of our community, we are eager to get back to work and finish what we started. Will you join us? We are kicking off a month of tree planting, starting this coming Monday, October 4, 2021 from 12pm-3pm. There will be plenty of opportunities to get involved – we will be planting throughout October. Help us reach our goal – 10,000 trees or bust!

Click here to register to volunteer.


Yellow Cherry Tomato Peach Salsa: Recipe by Mary Hall

Are you still harvesting late season tomatoes from your garden? Our friend Mary Hall purchased a number of tomato plants from the Horn Farm Center Plant Sale this spring.  Recently, she sent us an update and a delicious salsa recipe using her yellow cherry tomatoes!

“Every year, I purchase plants during the Horn Farm Plant Sale, and this past year, one of the plants I ordered were yellow cherry tomatoes.  The plant has been fruiting like crazy and I’ve been picking about every three days, enough to make a delicious fresh tomato peach salsa. The tomatoes have the sweetness of a typical cherry tomato and aren’t very acidic, which helps with those who may get heartburn or canker sores from tomatoes.

Today, when I made a batch of fresh salsa, I realized almost everything I used had been or could have been purchased via the Horn Farm Center Plant Sale! Feel free to share the recipe, although I don’t measure–I just throw it into the food processor and pulse until semi-chunky. This is pretty mild and excellent with chips or on a taco.” – Mary Hall

Mary’s Yellow Cherry Tomato Peach Salsa Recipe

– Yellow cherry tomatoes, plus some other tomatoes if you have them (I had a decent sized Cherokee Purple tomato)
– Half to a whole, poblano pepper, seeds and core removed (depending on how spicy you want it)
– Half a purple onion, peeled (more if you want)
– Handful of cilantro, washed (omit if you don’t like cilantro)
– Juice of half a lime
– Pinch of salt and pepper
– 2-3 ripe peaches, with pits removed
Throw it all into a food processor and pulse until it’s the consistency you want.

We thank Mary Hall for sharing this wonderful recipe. Do you have a recipe you would like to share with the Horn Farm Center community? Get in touch! Email info@hornfarmcenter.org or click the link here.


A Positively Fantastic Pawpaw Festival

WOW! What an incredible weekend at the 2021 York County Pawpaw Festival – presented by Horn Farm Center and 7group. We were overwhelmed (literally) by the turnout and enthusiasm for pawpaws.

Approximately 1800 visitors came from all across Pennsylvania and some traveled from North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and even as far as Georgia and Florida!

We couldn’t have pulled off this incredible community event without all of our dedicated volunteers, Dick & Judy Bono, our wonderful vendors and community partners, and all of the local businesses who support our mission at the Horn Farm Center. Thank you to our volunteers and sponsors:

7group, Richards Energy Group, Inc., UPMC, The Wenger Group, Barton & Associates, Inc., Fertrell, John Wright Restaurant, Lemon Street Market, Wise Printing Company, and Specialty Tree Service

Also, a special thanks to Shank’s Mare Outfitters, Evolution Power Yoga Lancaster, Stauffers of Kissel Hill Home & Garden Store, Knaper’s Stop & Go, and Watershed Alliance of York PA for supporting this event.

The HFC Team having a laugh after the 2021 Pawpaw Festival. Left to right: Jenn Mitchell, Wilson Alvarez, Alexis Campbell, Andrew Horn, and Lizzy Ryan. Not pictured: Anna Echo-Hawk


ITEMS & REPAIR NEEDED

We are currently in search of a number of items and services that will help us achieve our mission to connect soil, food, and people in ways that improve the health and resilience of our community. 

  • Seeking a plumber, interested in making an in-kind (or at cost) donation of plumbing services
  • Utility vehicle and trailer (such as used golf card or gator)
  • Electric weed-trimmer
  • Electric leaf blower

Can you help out? To offer your time, talents, equipment, or tools, please contact Farm Manger, Andrew Horn at farmmanager@hornfarmcenter.org.


UPDATED: Horn Farm Center Health and Safety Policy

The Horn Farm Center is offering on-site educational programming with some modifications due to COVID-19. Multiple hand sanitizer stations are available. We will adjust as needed as time passes and things change.

In order to ensure the health and safety of our visitors, volunteers and staff, participant expectations are as follows:

  • Outdoors – Participants are required to bring a mask and wear it when physical distancing cannot be maintained. We have a limited supply on hand if you forget yours.
  • Indoors – Participants are required to wear masks indoors.
  • Do not attend if sick or recovering.

Horn Farm Happenings – September 10, 2021

How It All Began: Slow Food to Festival Fanatics

17 years ago, Richard and Judy Bono hosted their first pawpaw event at Blue Moon, a restaurant in downtown York. At the time, the couple were excited to share their appreciation for this forgotten native fruit with their friends and advocates of the Slow Food movement.

Little did they know at the time, that this humble gathering would later become a state-wide attraction, drawing nearly 1800 visitors from around the east coast each year. People have traveled from upstate New York, Pittsburgh, and even Atlanta, Georgia to attend the York County Pawpaw Festival.

The event is held annually at the Horn Farm Center, where Dick Bono manages a small pawpaw orchard. Dick, York City Architect Emeritus and cofounder of York County Farm and Natural Lands Trust, was heavily involved at the Horn Farm Center since its founding. At the time, he was determined to demonstrate that cultivating a variety of pawpaws was possible. After some experimentation at home, Dick broke ground on his orchard at the Horn Farm in 2012, starting with 24 trees.

Click here to read more.


York County Watershed Week: September 16-25th

The 2021 Pawpaw Festival is part of York County Watershed Week in partnership with the Watershed Alliance of York. The purpose of the Watershed Week is to increase public awareness about the importance of local watersheds to community health, sustainable economies, and environmental quality of the Chesapeake Bay. Participants can get to know their watershed and the organizations who are working hard to enhance, restore, and protect them. With events happening all around York County, Watershed Week is fun for the whole family!

The Watershed Alliance of York will be at the Pawpaw Festival on September 18th & 19th at the Horn Farm Center! In addition to sharing info about our local watershed, volunteers will be leading a tree planting activity at 1:00pm, each day of the festival. Visitors are invited to take the Clean Water Pledge and to get their hands dirty planting trees at the farm!

 

Planning for a Regenerative Future

Last week, the Horn Farm Center team (Board of Directors and staff) met for a day-long retreat and planning session at Shank’s Mare Outfitters. We are hard at work, developing our “evolutionary plan” (aka strategic plan) and visioning for the next stages in the organization’s growth.

During our visit to the banks of the Susquehanna, we took a few moments to explore and enjoy the river ecology -and we skipped rocks! We thank Shank’s Mare Outfitters for providing a space for creative collaboration and supporting our work at the Horn Farm Center!


 

7group Supports Regenerative Ag Education

7group began more than 20 years ago to help to change how American builders, designers, architects and owners saw how to understand the built environment as sustainable. When 7group worked on creating the U.S. Green Building Council LEED certification program, their dynamic team knew that it was the first step towards true sustainability, but not the last.

Together with clients and colleagues, 7group has been imagining a different way to understand how humans, their built environment and the natural world around us all live and breathe with each other. Through learning, community, design and story, 7group is stepping into a new era of deeply regenerative work.

7group’s deep commitment to regenerative practices is naturally aligned with the work of the Horn Farm Center and they are proud to support regenerative agriculture and education as the title sponsor of the 2021 York County Pawpaw Festival. 


Free Seminar: The Importance of Beavers

Did you know that beavers are primarily crepuscular? They are only occasionally seen during the day. They usually wake at dusk and are also active at dawn. Beavers are fascinating creatures but they are also essential to our local ecosystems. Discover the importance of this keystone species during an in-person seminar at the York County Conservation District, located at 2401 Pleasant Valley Rd., York.

This seminar will be taught by HFC Woodland Steward, Wilson Alvarez as part of York County Watershed WeekFree Admission. Registration Required. 


ITEMS & REPAIR NEEDED

We are currently in search of a number of items and services that will help us achieve our mission to connect soil, food, and people in ways that improve the health and resilience of our community. 

  • Engine repair work on our small gas push mower
  • An electric push mower
  • Utility vehicle and trailer (such as used golf card or gator)
  • Electric weed-trimmer
  • Electric leaf blower

Can you help out? To donate your time, talents, equipment, or tools, please contact Farm Manger, Andrew Horn at farmmanager@hornfarmcenter.org.

Click here to volunteer


UPDATED: Horn Farm Center Health and Safety Policy

The Horn Farm Center is offering on-site educational programming with some modifications due to COVID-19. Multiple hand sanitizer stations are available. We will adjust as needed as time passes and things change.

In order to ensure the health and safety of our visitors, volunteers and staff, participant expectations are as follows:

  • Outdoors – Participants are required to bring a mask and wear it when physical distancing cannot be maintained. We have a limited supply on hand if you forget yours.
  • Indoors – Participants are required to wear masks indoors.
  • Do not attend if sick or recovering.

York County Pawpaw Festival: How It All Began

Dick & Judy Bono standing in front of the pawpaw orchard at the Horn Farm Center

17 years ago, Richard and Judy Bono hosted their first pawpaw event at Blue Moon, a restaurant in downtown York. At the time, the couple were excited to share their enthusiasm for this forgotten native fruit with their friends and advocates of the Slow Food movement. Their passion for pawpaws started a year prior, after visiting Deep Run Pawpaw Orchard, just outside of Westminster, Maryland. Seeing Jim and Donna Davis’ pawpaw orchard firsthand, the Bonos were inspired by the potential to cultivate pawpaws, an otherwise impossible orchard fruit.

The first event was a huge success; about 80 people were in attendance. The restaurant’s chef, David Le Heron, orchestrated a culinary symphony, incorporating delectable pawpaw fruit into each course.  Following the first pawpaw dinner, the Bonos began to sell the fruits every September, starting at the Central Market and then at the Gardener of the Owl Valley, a native garden and gift shop run by Judy at her home. For many years, the York County Pawpaw Festival was a humble event, just a few folding tables at the bottom of the Bono Family driveway. But over the years, the event grew as more and more people began to appreciate Slow Food, foraging, and organic foods.

Today, the York County Pawpaw Festival is in its 17th year and serves approximately 1800 visitors. The event is held annually at the Horn Farm Center, where Dick Bono manages a small pawpaw orchard. Dick, York City Architect Emeritus and cofounder of York County Farm and Natural Lands Trust, was heavily involved at the Horn Farm Center since its founding. At the time, he was determined to demonstrate that cultivating a variety of pawpaws was possible. After some experimentation at home, Dick broke ground on his orchard at the Horn Farm in 2012, starting with 24 trees.

“I made a whole lot of mistakes in those early years,” says Dick. “Nine years later, the orchard has expanded to 48 trees and 20 varieties. I couldn’t do it without Tim Hamulack, who is a talented helper and fruit tree enthusiast.”

Dick Bono (left) and Tim Hamulack (right) in the pawpaw orchard at the Horn Farm Center

Dick continues to grow a wide variety of pawpaw cultivars in the pawpaw orchard. His goal is to produce consistently abundant yields, year after year. He follows the work of Neal Peterson, who experiments with developing new pawpaw varieties. Dick notes that while the Peterson varieties are often named after rivers, their names do not necessarily indicate where those cultivars were found.  

The pawpaw is a naturally organic fruit – it resists almost all pests, and it experiences less browsing by wild animals than most other orchard fruits. What is most unique about the pawpaw is that it is truly seasonal. The pawpaw has little to no shelf life, which means it will never be commercially produced. The fruits mature in late August through mid-September. During this short window of time, the Susquehanna River region, as well as much of the eastern United States, is a pandora’s box of this highly nutritious, anti-oxidant-rich fruit. Late summer in York County is a chance to enjoy our bio-region’s natural abundance, just as the Susquehannock’s did years ago, by filling their bellies with pawpaw before facing the harsh winter.

2019 Pawpaw Festival at the Horn Farm Center

In recent years, pawpaws have developed somewhat of a cult following, with pawpaw fanatics traveling across several state lines to get a taste of this unique fruit. In the past few years, people have traveled from upstate New York, Pittsburgh, and even Atlanta, Georgia to attend the York County Pawpaw Festival. In 2019, Bono Family estimated that they sold over 2000 pounds of pawpaw at the festival.

This year, the York County Pawpaw Festival will be held on September 18 & 19th at the Horn Farm Center. The event will feature local food vendors, artisans, and community organizations. Of course, the true stars of the show are the pawpaw fruit, both wild and cultivated varieties, and pawpaw trees, which will be available for purchase. Visitors can also enjoy tours of the farm and pawpaw orchard. We hope that you will join us to celebrate all the things that we love about pawpaws.