Day's View Of Life On The Farm

Posted: November 10, 1988

"Farming is not just a 9-to-5 job. It's a way of life."

That's how Linda Hicks views her life on the farm, and on Saturday, she is opening the gates for families from around the region to come see what she means.

Five farms within a short drive of each other in Chester County will be opened to the public, said Hicks, who with her husband, Philip, owns a 240- acre dairy farm in East Goshen.

"I'm excited and I feel it's extremely important for people to have a better understanding of agriculture," said Hicks, chairman of the Farm-City Tour.

"People have a more romantic view of farming. This is a chance to see what farming is really like," she said.

For the last 25 years, farmers in Chester County have been opening their farms to people who are curious as to what life on the farm is like.

"We try to pick farms that are clean and well run. We also try to pick farmers who are dedicated to farming and can communicate the joy of farming to the visitors," Hicks said. "We get a lot of young, school-age kids and they really enjoy seeing the farms and petting the animals."

Hicks explained that the committee tries to chose a variety of farms, including dairy farms and orchards.

The tour, which is free, takes place between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. It is sponsored by the Chester-Delaware County Farmers Association, which is affiliated with the Pennsylvania Farmers Association and the Chester County Extension Service. Visitors must provide their own transportation between farms.

"This a rare opportunity to see what life is like on the farm. Usually, the farmers are very agreeable to being included on the tour. They see the tour as an opportunity to explain their way of life to people," said David Swartz, a dairy and agronomy agent with the Chester County Extension Service in West Chester.

The farms on the tour are:

* Springton Manor Farm. This 300-acre, county-owned demonstration farm is in Glenmoore. The farm, off Springton Road, has a variety of livestock with an animal petting zoo for children. Also, there is an antique farm exhibit by the Chester County Historical Society, free hayrides and a picnic area.

* Highland Orchards. Owned and operated by the Hodge family, the orchard has been in operation for 30 years. A variety of produce is grown on their 350 acres in West Bradford Township. The orchard, which is on Marshallton- Thorndale Road, was on the tour in 1986.

* The Little Washington Farm. Owned by Lamar and Mary Howe and family, the farm is on Culbertson Run Road in East Brandywine Township. The Howe family raises 6,000 turkeys annually for the holiday season.

* The Overlook Road Farm. Bill Kay feeds hundreds of beef cattle, using home grown crops of corn and alfalfa hay produced on his 950-acre farm on Swinehart Road in East Brandywine.

* Klear-Vu Farm. This 50-acre dairy operation is owned and operated by Robert Ray and his son, Adam. It is on Highspire Road in Glenmoore. Their herd of 45 Holsteins is housed in a barn that dates to 1857. There will be calves to pet and a short video about the production of milk.

People can get their free maps at the Extension Service and at the Chester County Tourist Bureau or by calling 696-3500. Visitors should know that no smoking is allowed on any of the farms on the tour.

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