Good Life

The Centre County Farm Tour will be bigger than ever, and now at no cost to visitors

Season is full of flavor at Way Fruit Farm

Jason Coopey talks about the wonderful flavors of fruits this season at Way Fruit Farm, and how the weather is affecting their crops.
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Jason Coopey talks about the wonderful flavors of fruits this season at Way Fruit Farm, and how the weather is affecting their crops.

Just a few years ago, the Centre County Farmland Trust took over the annual Centre County Farm Tour from the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture. This summer, the organization plans for a bigger and better tour than ever and it’s all now completely free for participants. In years past, ticket prices were $15–$20 per car.

“Through the generosity of our sponsors, we are no longer selling passes. Everyone will be able to come out to one or more or all of the participating farms to meet the farmers and learn more about all that they do to grow and produce our local foods,” said Jennifer Shuey, president, Centre County Farmland Trust.

The farm tour, which takes place July 27, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., features 10 farms and other agricultural producers and Shuey expects hundreds of locals and visitors alike to flock to the Centre County staples over the six-hour period. Participating farms include Triangle Organics, Bee Tree Berry Farm, Mount Nittany Vineyard & Winery, Goot Essa, Way Fruit Farm, Spring Bank Acres, Over the Moon Farm, RE Farm Cafe at Windswept, the Student Farm at Penn State and Rhoneymeade Sculpture Garden & Arboretum.

From Port Matilda to Howard, State College to Centre Hall, the array of different producers featured this year ensures that every tour participant will have a good time. For those wanting to learn a bit and maybe brush up on their own gardening skills, the Student Farm at Penn State not only offers tours of its education-centric farm, but will also be offering a workshop about season extension in the home garden, 1-2 p.m. and 2-3 p.m. For those interested in what a real certified organic farm looks like, women-ran Over the Moon Farm is happy to answer all your questions about their approach to “growing” animals the “natural” way.

Shuey said she’s personally excited that, during this year’s tour, the new RE Farm Café at Windswept will be open. The long-awaited eatery specializes in creating a “a dining experience” for demanding Centre County foodies, while making use of local ingredients.

Regardless of which farms you visit during the Centre County Farm Tour, you can expect something unique at each one — seasonal berries at Bee Tree Berry Farm, local wines at Mount Nittany Vineyard & Winery, cheese and fudge at Goot Essa, produce and baked goods at Way Fruit Farm, homemade ice cream and cheese at Spring Bank Acres and more.

If you’re planning to attend this year’s Centre County Farm Tour, Shuey offers a few tips.

“Many farmers will have farm-fresh produce and products for sale. Bring a cooler along for your purchases if you plan to be touring all day,” she said.

It’s also wise to plan your route between these farms ahead of time, to avoid criss-crossing the county, and bring the entire family for a day filled with fun, education and a new look at our local farms.

And, before you leave, Shuey said, “Be sure to thank these kind (and) generous farmers for opening their farms to you and working hard all year long to nourish our bodies and our souls.”

Holly Riddle is a freelance food, travel and lifestyle writer. She can be reached at holly.ridd@gmail.com.
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