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. 

Horn Farm Happenings – August 26, 2022

Say It With Flowers: Farewell to Betsy’s Flowers at the Farm 

“Everything must break open in order to live. The seed must break open in order for the tree to grow. The egg must break open in order for life to emerge. The Earth must be turned and the cloud must burst. You were never meant to stay in your shell.”  ― Thomas Lloyd Qualls, Painted Oxen

Betsy Dorbian first became a part of the Horn Farm in 2016 as participant in the Horn Farm Center’s internship program. As she grew her knowledge of regenerative and sustainable farming practices, so did her dream of owning a flower farm. Betsy’s dream became a reality in 2018 as an incubator farmer. Since then, Betsy has been providing beautiful, organically-grown flower bouqets through a weekly CSA and the HFC Farm Stand, along with her interpretations of “The Language of Flowers” to her customers.

As a participating farmer in the Horn Farm Center’s Annual Plant Sale, Betsy has provided local gardeners with an array of specialty flower varieties over the years. Beyond her service to her customers and HFC visitors, Betsy has been an integral part of the Horn Farm Center community. Her warm, generous nature has contributed to the success of the farm over the years.

This year, Betsy’s Flowers at the Farm is in its final season at the Horn Farm Center. To say that we will miss Betsy and her beautiful flowers at the farm is an understatement. However, we are wishing her the best in this new leg of her journey! Betsy will continue to provide flower bouquets at the HFC farm stand through the end of this season.

A Message from Betsy’s Flowers at the Farm: 

“I have made the difficult, but necessary decision to compost Betsy’s Flowers at the Farm. I saw my dream through from conception to maturity, and I loved every moment of the journey. As Thomas Lloyd Qualls says in the above quote, “You were never meant to stay in your shell.” It is time for me to shed my shell and move on to my next dream!

I thank you all for your support this season and over the past 5 years. You have all been so kind with your words, emails, texts and Facebook posts!

For those of you who come to the Horn Farm Center, I plan to still show up there – to visit or to volunteer.  The Farm is too much a part of my heart to just walk away.

I do have some ideas for the future in my “compost” pile. I plan to stay focused on my love of the earth and all of her wondrous gifts. I will stay in touch and keep you posted on my next “emergence”.

A special thanks to Laura Desautels. Laura has been an incredible asset to Betsy’s Flowers as well as an awesome friend. Laura brought her knowledge of native and perennial plants to our fields, and enhanced our bouquets in so many ways. Thanks and love to you, Laura!

I send you all much love and gratitude. Please feel free to stay in touch.” – Betsy

From Volunteering to 19th Century Cooking

Ellen Gibb’s journey with the Horn Farm Center began over 12 years ago in 2010 when she answered the call to help with Tomato Fest, one of the Horn Farm’s founding community events. Little did she know that her volunteer service with the Horn Farm Center would lead her to discover a new passion.

Ellen shared her story on August 8, 2022 at PechaKucha Night York.

Click the video link above to watch her presentation and learn how her passion for 19th Century Cooking was first ignited at the Horn Farm Center!

Volunteers Get Perks!

With less than a month 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

As of now, we could really use some help on day two of the festival, Sunday, September 25th! Let us know how and when you’d like to volunteer by signing up today using the link below.

Don’t forget to mark your calendar and help us spread spread the word!: hosted by the Horn Farm Center and UPMC, the 2022 York County Pawpaw Festival will take place on Saturday, September 24th and Sunday, September 25th from 10am-3pm at the Horn Farm Center.

Click here to sign up to volunteer!

Sponsor Highlight: UPMC

UPMC is inventing new models of patient-centered, cost-effective, accountable health care. As the largest nongovernmental employer in Pennsylvania, UPMC integrates more than 92,000 employees, 40 hospitals, 800 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, and a more than 4-million-member Insurance Services Division.

In central Pennsylvania, UPMC has seven hospitals, more than 12,000 employees, and 260 primary care and specialty practices, including UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute, UPMC Magee-Womens, and UPMC Express Care.

The York County Pawpaw Festival is presented by Horn Farm Center and UPMC. UPMC is proud to be the title sponsor of our annual fundraising event and to support the mission of the Horn Farm Center.

Learn more about how UPMC serves the community at UPMC.com/CentralPa.

Click here to learn more about UPMC



Nutrient Dense Gardening 

This Saturday – Let’s look at how gardeners can enhance living soils, encourage robust microbial soil food webs, and grow tastier crops!

Science has taught us that humans have indispensable microbiomes that primarily support our immune and digestive systems, and it turns out that plants are really not so different. We will explore strategies to ramp up plant health and vigor beginning with a presentation and then moving towards a more hands-on investigation of tangible ways to keep your crops happy!

Join us this Saturday, August 27th at 1:00PM for Nutrient Dense Gardening with Dale Hendricks. 

Click here to Register