The monkey boy and I, along with our buddies, had a great opportunity this week to join in on a fun and educational tour of the Longview Center for Agriculture, formerly Willow Creek Orchards. A member of the Philadelphia Social Media Moms (PSMM) group, Carrie, set up the tour of the farm and a chance to pick blackberries. It gave me an opportunity to learn about another local farm while also having the chance to meet some other PSSM bloggers in real life!
The 90 plus acres of certified organic farmland is host to a beautiful demonstration garden, pick your own fruits fields, 20 acres of apple, peach and pear tree orchards, and lots of land that hopefully will never see the development of townhouses or big box stores. Farmer Mark explained how they maintain healthy soil by controling microrganisms and bacteria, providing essential nutrients without the use of petroleum based pesticides. He also explained the strategic placement of flower beds near the veggie gardens that contain bee and insect loving zinnias, cosmos and sunflowers. The insects aid with essential pollination that helps the veggies produce a hearty bounty.
While we listened to the farmer explain the farms goals and missions, we were encouraged to pick and taste the veggies growing. My son enjoyed a sunny yellow tomato, which he later described as weird tasting but not bad! There were purple beans growing that had just lovely purple blossoms covering the plants. I think they will be on my list of beans to grow in next summer's garden at home. The demonstration garden is also a pick your own garden, that is designed for plants to grow with great structural supports. The tomatoes grew straight up supported by string tied to frames. They were neat and beautifully organized.
Greener Partners is the non-profit behind Longview Center. They are leasing it from the owners of the former Willow Creek Orchards, and are dedicated to "Connecting communities through food, farms, and education." The farm welcomes groups for tours, as they want to increase the community's knowledge of how food is produced. It would be a fun place for a playgroup or mom's group to visit for a tour, or to join in on one of their educational activities that are offered.
After our farm tour, we had the chance to roam the rows and rows of blackberry plants. While my son and his friend were more interested in collecting sticks and making "gates" our of vines, my friend and I went to work at picking as many berries as we could while the boys were entertained. My son enjoyed sampling the blackberries fresh picked and we decided to use some of them in a popsicle recipe.
The Longview Market is a beautiful farmer's market that sells much of their own grown produce, along with other locally farmed produce, meats, pies, organic dried beans, coffee, bread, and condiments. They sell frozen fruit whips that the boys enjoyed immensely. (My son took the photo below!)
The Longview Center for Agriculture Market
3215 Stump Hall Road
Collegeville, PA 19426
Market phone: 610-584-8202
The Longview Market is open 7 days per week with the following hours:
Monday – Friday, 9 am – 6:30 pm
This is one farm that will be added to my rotation of local farms that I shop at for produce all summer long. It was worth the 45 minute car ride! I am looking forward to checking out the organic strawberries next May.
Thanks so much to Carrie of Making Lemonade for setting up this fun day! It really was great meeting other like-minded moms who before I had only communicated with on Twitter or via email!