York County farms open doors for tours


A select group of Airville-area farms will open their barn doors to the public for the York County Farm Tour this month.

And the theme of the tour, with stops at four local farms, will be education. All too often people tend to forget where food comes from, other than from a grocery store.

"We're pushing for the educational aspect," said Delores Krick, one the organizers. "We want to educate the public on farm life."

The free tour, hosted by the York County Farm Bureau and the York County Agriculture Business Council, is held every couple of years and focuses on farms in different parts of the county.

This year's tour will include farms, all within a few miles of each other, in Lower Chanceford Township. The tour will be held Sunday, Oct. 11.

On tour: Numerous educational and other activities are planned for each farm.

At Muddy Creek Meadows Riding Stable, which is run by Krick, attendees will be able to check out more than 60 horses, take part in a scavenger hunt, ride ponies and attempt to navigate a straw maze.

Krick said there will also be horse riding and rodeo demonstrations.

Though the tour is free, there will be nominal charges for some activities, such as the pony rides and food.

At the nearby Alta Vista Dairy Farm, attendees can check out milking demonstrations, learn how to feed a calf and enjoy a homemade milkshake, among a host of other activities.

Harry Bickel is a lifelong farmer and has been at the 134 Taylor Road location for 27 years.

Conservation efforts: He said attendees also will be able to view some of the conservation efforts at the farm.

One such eco-friendly practice Bickel undertook about 15 years ago was no-till farming, in which a field isn't turned up during the planting process. He was skeptical about the technique at first.

"I was surprised myself," he said. "I had to be convinced."

The no-till method keeps moisture in the soil, cuts down on erosion and saves time, money and fuel for farmers, Bickel said.

Bickel raises crops mainly to feed his 75 dairy cows.

"We have done a lot of work on the farm for conservation purposes," he said.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.