Horn Farm Happenings – October 7, 2022

Discover the Secrets of Soil

What do healthy crops, resilient ecosystems, and a stable climate have in common? SOIL!

Nurturing healthy soil is non-negotiable if we want to act in partnership with nature, and this month’s Saturday classes will help you learn how to do just that! Whether you’re winterizing your garden, planting cover crops, tending to compost, exploring lawn conversion, or are just interested in exploring the living world beneath our landscapes, understanding the nuances of soil will help you grow as a land steward. You won’t want to miss these new opportunities at the Horn Farm Center!

So, join us on the 15th, 22nd, and 29th to delve (literally) below the soil surface. Get to know its language, its living occupants, and the ways that we can act as better, more resourceful caretakers.

Check out the class links below to learn more:
Soil Biology Deep Dives (10/15 and 10/29, 2-4pm)
Biochar and Soil Carbon (10/22, 1-5pm)

Click here to Register for Soil Classes

2200 Pawpaw Festival Visitors!

While severe thunderstorms shut us down early on Sunday, we still enjoyed a beautiful, memorable weekend bringing together local vendors, environmental educators, stellar volunteers, and the pawpaw-curious from near and far!

With over 2200 visitors, this year was our biggest, most well-attended Pawpaw Festival, and we’re grateful for the show of support–not only for this unique native fruit, but for the mission of the Horn Farm Center to foster learning through ecological land stewardship, experiential education, and community partnership.

Proceeds from the festival will help us to expand our educational programs in land stewardship and regenerative living while we continue to recover and rebuild following the 2021 farmhouse fire. Thank you to all the vendors, volunteers, sponsors, and attendees who made the 2022 Pawpaw Festival a huge success!

Thank You Sponsors

We’re grateful for the sponsoring businesses that helped make our 2022 festival such a success: UPMC, 7group, Richards Energy Group, Inc., Natural Awakenings Lancaster/Berks and Natural Awakenings of South Central PA, Rutter’s, The Wenger Group, John Wright Restaurant, and York County Solid Waste & Refuse Authority.


Grab a Few Brews & Celebrate at Liquid Hero

This weekend is going to be sunny and cool! Looking for something to do?

Our friends at 🍺 Liquid Hero Brewery 🍺 in downtown York are celebrating their 11 Year Anniversary, and they’ve invited us to join the party! Drop by THIS SATURDAY, October 8th after 12pm to grab a beer and say hello!

We’ll be sharing lots of things with you: Horn Farm info, merch, upcoming events, wild tea from our meadows, and other surprises. Pay us a visit, and support this awesome homegrown business while you’re at it!





The Art of Seeing & Observation

Observation is an essential awareness skill that serves as the building block for all other wilderness skills. Participants will learn to expand their observation skills by using all 5 senses to truly observe the wild. The program includes awareness techniques, tracking, and more. If you’re going to take only one of these classes, this is the one we recommend!

Join us on Sunday, October 9th for The Art of Seeing & Observation with Woodland Steward, Wilson Alvarez. This class is part of the Wild Lands: Primitive Skills Series

Photo: Students Learning to Walk & Observe Like Animals

Click here to Register for Art of Seeing & Observation

Horn Farm Happenings – September 21, 2022

mike with pawpaws

Don’t Miss Pawpaw-Palooza at Pawpaw Fest!

This weekend – celebrate local food and regenerative agriculture at the 18th annual York County Pawpaw Festival, presented by the Horn Farm Center and UPMC!

The York County Pawpaw Festival, held on September 24 & 25, 2022 from 10:00am-3:00pm at the Horn Farm Center, is an outdoor, family-friendly festival and fundraiser highlighting York County’s beloved pawpaw.

The main attractions of the event are the pawpaw fruit – both wild and cultivated varieties – and pawpaw trees, which will be available for purchase. Other pawpaw related items will be available including pawpaw cookbooks, books, t-shirts, and food items. In addition, the festival will feature local food vendors, artisans, and community organizations. Fresh produce from the Horn Farm, native plants, jams, jellies, honey, and more will be for sale.

Visitors can enjoy tours of the Horn Farm Center and pawpaw orchard each day of the festival at 11:00am, 12:30pm, and 1:30pm. The 12:30pm tour will be kid-focused!

The York County Pawpaw Festival is part of York County Watershed Week in partnership with the Watershed Alliance of York.

A $5.00 donation to the Horn Farm Center is requested at the door. All proceeds support local regenerative agriculture and educational programs at the Horn Farm Center.

This event will be held rain or shine. All pawpaws, produce, and products will be available while supplies last.

The 2022 Pawpaw Festival is supported by local businesses who believe in our mission. We thank the following sponsors for supporting regenerative agriculture and education at the Horn Farm Center:

  • UMPC (Title Sponsor)
  • 7group
  • Richards Energy Group
  • Natural Awakenings – Lancaster/Berks and South Central
  • John Wright Restaurant
  • The Wenger Group
  • Rutter’s
  • York County Solid Waste Authority

The Pawpaw Fest Raffle is also supported by: 

  • Shank’s Mare
  • Wegmans
  • Stauffer’s of Kissel Hill
  • Calyx Native Nursery
  • Brown’s Orchards
  • Kens Gardens

Click here to learn more about the 2022 Pawpaw Festival.

Check Our Our Pawpaw Festival Vendors

We invited over 30 local food vendors, artisans, plant nurseries, and community organizations to help make this event a destination for family-fun!

The 2022 Pawpaw Festival vendors include: 

  • Gardener of the Owl Valley
  • Horn Farm Center
  • 4 Herbs & 7 Spices Ago
  • Locally Seasoned
  • Heartwood Nursery
  • Off the Beaten Path Nursery
  • Watershed Alliance of York
  • Alpacas of York/Soap Treasures
  • Wildwood Lavender Farm
  • Candi J. Duda Stained Glass & Garden Art
  • Joy-Full Creations from Joyful ViBraytions (Saturday Only)
  • Josh Brandstadter with Adventures of Fuzzy and Buzzy
  • Virtue Local Art Market
  • Kilgore Family Farm
  • Bee Bee’s All Natural
  • Gino’s Nursery
  • The Sweet Botanist
  • Historic Wrightsville
  • Audubon York Chapter
  • Native Roots Farm Foundation (Sunday Only)
  • Character Coffee
  • Stoney’s Burgers & Fries
  • Ort Family Farm
  • Swallowtail Forest Farm (Saturday Only)
  • Heart & Hands Homemade
  • Penn State Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners
  • Audubon York Chapter (Sunday Only)
  • West Shore Wildlife Center
  • York Hiking Club (Saturday Only)
  • Calyx Native Nursery (Sunday Only)
  • York Water Company
  • Lancaster Conservancy
  • Nomadic Inspiration
  • Lancaster Composting Co-Op
  • York County Solid Waste Authority (Saturday Only)
  • Future Forest Plants
  • Eastern High School Spanish Club
  • Leg Up Farmers Market

Cash & credit cards will be accepted dependent upon individual vendors. No available ATM on site.

From 11:00am–2:30pm on Saturday, September 24th, stop by the Joyful ViBRAYtions tent for a community weaving project using repurposed materials and nature-gifted items sourced from the Horn Farm. Festival participants can stop by at any time to see woven art in action and contribute to an original, spontaneous project reflecting the Horn Farm’s community-rooted values. The resulting artwork will be displayed on Sunday and will be celebrated in the Horn Farm Center’s new building once it is reconstructed.

Horn Farm CSA Update

This year, our CSA members enjoyed an incredibly abundant growing season thanks to our CSA team Andrew Horn, Anna Echo-Hawk, and Logan Kline as well as our farm partners: Kilgore Family Farm, York Fresh Food Farms, and Green Barn Farm.

The 2022 Horn Farm CSA will come to a close on Wednesday, October 12th. We thank our dedicated CSA members for supporting regenerative and sustainable farming at the Horn Farm Center. CSA membership goes beyond just the production fields and helps to support our mission, work, and programs at the Horn Farm!

 allegheny pawpaw

Pawpaws: A Truly Local Delicacy

Finicky and fleeting. The pawpaw fruit has a remarkably short shelf life, making it an unfavorable choice for big-box supermarkets that depend on intensive shipping and storage. In fact, pawpaw fruit ripens very rapidly, and will spoil only a few days after harvest.

Pawpaws are best gathered around the time they ripen, because unlike apples and pears, firm pawpaw fruits don’t ripen well off the tree. All of this makes pawpaw a genuinely “local” commodity that naturally resists the mass market, though pulp extraction and cultivar research are increasingly making it possible for wider audiences to access pawpaw fruit in places where it doesn’t grow.

Learn more about the Amazing Pawpaw in the HFC blog article written by David Dietz linked below.

You can also find pawpaw fun facts that we posted throughout this month on our Facebook and Instagram as part of our countdown to the 2022 Pawpaw Festival. Join us on September 24th and 25th, 10am-3pm at the Horn Farm Center!

Read more about the Amazing Pawpaw

This Week is Watershed Week!

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 folks and organizations who are working hard to enhance, restore, and protect them. Watershed Week is fun for the whole family!

For a full list of events happening THIS WEEK around York County, visit the Watershed Alliance of York website. \

Sponsor Highlight: Richards Energy Group

Pawpaws are rare, delicate, and delicious. So is good customer service. Since 1995, Richards Energy Group has worked closely with regional businesses helping them save energy and control costs by providing utility and energy consulting, education, and expertise.

Pawpaw trees thrive in their own complex ecosystem. The fruits aren’t mass marketable and can’t be pumped out on an industrial scale. Similarly, every company has its own specific energy needs requiring an individualized solution. The Richards Energy team comes alongside and partners with companies to provide tailored solutions for each business’s needs.

Pawpaw trees take years to bear fruit. After generations, they form long-standing groves that sustain themselves and, in doing so, benefit the creatures around them. Richards Energy is in it for the long haul too, striving to be a trusted extension of their clients’ teams as a long-term energy partner, providing analysis and implementing solutions that will add resilience and bear more fruit as time goes by.

In addition to serving clients, Richards Energy Group gives back for the betterment of our community and our world. This year, Richards Energy is supporting regenerative agriculture and educational programs at the Horn Farm Center by sponsoring the 18th Annual York County Pawpaw Festival. Richards Energy Group is proud to be a friend of the farm!

Learn more about Richards Energy Group


Photo by Brigid Corbett

Hugelkultur Workshop

What is Hugelkultur? Find out on October 1st at the Horn Farm Center!

Learn about the Hugelkultur gardening technique, which consists of large pieces of organic matter, typically wood, buried for the purpose of long term, slow release of nutrients, maintaining higher moisture content, and increasing the fungal population of the soil.

This gardening technique is both complex in the inner workings and simple in design and has been touted by some as the perfect garden method. Done correctly, they can become self fertilizing, require little to no watering, and are abundant in both plant growth, soil health, and biodiversity.

But like most gardening techniques, they are site-specific and should be designed with intention and well thought-out planning. Find out how, where, and when a hugelkultur garden is appropriate.

Led by Jon Darby of Riverbend Farm

Join us on Saturday, October 1st at 9AM-12PM for our first Hugelkultur Workshop with Jon Darby. 

Register for the Hugelkultur Workshop

Horn Farm Happenings – September 9, 2022

The Abundance of Reciprocity

This year, Project Manager, Anna Echo Hawk planted a three sisters demonstration garden, which gifted us an abundance of sweet corn this month! We couldn’t be more grateful–not just for the bounty, but for the experience of watching this plot grow and harmonize over the past few months.

Three sisters demonstrates reciprocity and interdependence with and within the natural world–values that we try to impart through our workshops and practices at the Horn Farm Center. By virtue of their natural growth patterns and survival strategies, the crops of the Three Sisters emerge in ways that nourish the whole. Each crop, in striving for individual flourishing, becomes a companion and caretaker supporting the growth of others.

Displays of such nourishing relationships can be found wherever you look in the Three Sisters garden:

  • Corn stalks serve as inviting poles for the wandering, adaptable beans, which thrive on vertical support.
  • In return, the beans stabilize the corn stalks and, deep beneath the soil, convert nitrogen to a usable form that fertilizes the other, hungrier crops.
  • Squash along the perimeter offer broad, low-lying leaves that, by shading the soil, retain moisture on dry summer days and reduce weed pressure.
  • Biodiversity fortifies all the crops against pests, with an array of habitat attracting more insect life and, thus, encouraging greater balance in predator-prey dynamics

The Horn Farm Center’s three sisters plot also celebrates the benefits of a fourth sister–the sunflower–who brings additional shade and attracts pollinators to the benefit of wind-pollinated crops like corn. In these and other ways, we can see nuanced and abounding harmonies at play, and confirmation of the vision we hope to share: that cultivating food has the potential to restore and rejuvenate the health of natural cycles.

We are indebted to centuries of Native American caretaking and expertise for animating and preserving this knowledge of the Three Sisters. The Susquehannock people predating European colonization in our region practiced this style of annual planting and embodied its teachings of balanced relationship with the land. By bringing the Three Sisters to our farm, we’re leaning into our mission of reconnecting to the past and humbly helping to restore faith in the tacit teachings of the plants we depend on.


From Waste to Resource: Composting

This past weekend we hosted another Backyard Composting workshop with Farm Manager, Andrew Horn! We thank our friends at York County Solid Waste & Refuse Authority for helping to make our composting workshop series a success!

Don’t miss your chance to learn the do’s and don’ts of home composting in a program designed for accessibility and affordability.

Our final Backyard Composting workshop of 2022 will take place on Thursday, September 22nd from 5-7pm at the Horn Farm Center.

Click here to learn more and register for Backyard Composting. 

George Washington’s Favorite Fruit

Native Americans first cultivated pawpaws as a food source, as it was the largest edible fruit indigenous to the land that is now the United States. In fact, the Shawnee even had a pawpaw month in their calendar. While pawpaws and other edible plants now grow wild throughout our lands, it is probable that many are descended from intentionally planted and managed Native orchards and forests.

The pawpaw has been valued by many throughout our history. George Washington claimed it as his favorite fruit, and pawpaws were grown at Mount Vernon and Jefferson’s Monticello. Jefferson is said to have believed the pawpaw had potential for cultivation, and sent seeds to Europe as an example of a uniquely American plant. The widespread fruit even proved useful  in feeding  the famous expedition of Lewis and Clark. They subsisted on pawpaws for three days at one point in their epic journey.

Learn more about the Amazing Pawpaw in the HFC blog article written by David Dietz.

Throughout this month, you can also find pawpaw fun facts on our Facebook and Instagram as part of our countdown to the 2022 Pawpaw Festival. Join us on September 24th and 25th, 10am-3pm at the Horn Farm Center!

Read more about the Amazing Pawpaw

Last Call for Pawpaw Fest Volunteers!

We are thankful to have a robust crew of volunteers helping us with this year’s – bigger and better than ever – Pawpaw Festival! And, we still need help on Sunday, September 25th.

With only a few weeks to go until the 2022 York County Pawpaw Festival, we’re excited to share how we’ll be thanking this year’s volunteers! Our complimentary Pawpaw Fest goodies for volunteers include:

  • Lunch at the event
  • A bag o’ pawpaws
  • A pawpaw cookbook
  • Pawpaw stickers

Willing to help us out? Let us know how and when you’d like to volunteer by signing up today using the link below.

Click here to sign up to volunteer!

Sponsor Highlight: Natural Awakenings

Each month Natural Awakenings magazines across the country take a practical look at the latest natural approaches to nutrition, fitness, creative expression, personal growth and sustainable living. The magazine offers interviews with national experts and inspiring how-to articles. Each month brings fresh perspective around a timely theme sure to pique your interest.

At the front of each community issue Natural Awakenings offers global news and views as a complement to news and events of local interest. The magazine highlights healing arts practitioners in the local area and connect you with a wealth of national and local resources mapping out alternate routes to a healthier, happier, longer life. A life that feels good all the way around.

As a champion of healthy living, Natural Awakenings is expanding their impact by sponsoring the 2022 York County Pawpaw Festival. We thank Natural Awakenings for supporting our work and mission at the Horn Farm Center.

Learn more about Natural Awakenings Lancaster-Berks
Learn more about Natural Awakenings Central PA

Foraging Foundations Weekend

This weekend, discover the skills, knowledge, and practices that are critical to our sense of place. Through mindful foraging, we can provide ourselves with healthy, free food and medicine, become more self-reliant, and connect on a deeper level to the landscape in which we live.

Farmer, Forager, and Educator, Jon Darby, will provide foundational knowledge for those interested in beginning (or deepening) their path towards building a relationship with the land, incorporating wild plants into their everyday life, and gaining the knowledge to confidently share with others. Expect a diverse array of lecture, conversation, general plant walks, hands-on exercises, and the opportunity for plenty of tasting of both raw and prepared wild foods.

Topics covered will include:

  • Safe practices
  • Ethical considerations
  • Basic botany including: terminology, plant parts, and plant families
  • Plant observation and identification
  • Understanding and using plant keys
  • Culinary uses – Harvesting, preparation, cooking and tasting
  • Utilitarian uses – making natural plant cordage

Join us this weekend, September 10th & 11th, for Foraging Foundations with Jon Darby.