This Saturday, visitors are invited to help Howell Living History Farm with its last harvest of the year – field corn that will be processed into cornmeal and donated to local food banks and pantries.
About 30,000 ears have yet to be picked, according to the farmers who planted the crop back in May. The ears will be dried, shelled, and milled into cornmeal before being given to programs that distribute food to local families. So far, nearly 15 tons of grain products, fresh produce and eggs have been donated to food banks and pantries this year through the farm’s “Share the Harvest” program.
Harvesting will take place in the field from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. and include “Corn Picking 101” lessons from the farmers who use work horses, circa 1900 equipment and lots of hand power to cultivate the historical farm’s 45 tillable acres. Farmers hope to finish at least half of the field on Saturday – more than 5 times the amount harvested on an average day of picking with help from visitors.
To support the effort, the farm staff is providing hot and cold cider, popcorn and other nourishment to the field crew. Corn Huskers Lotion will also be on hand.
“Picking corn can dry your hands out pretty quickly,” according to Christine Madzy of the farm staff. “It’s amazing that you can still buy the product in some pharmacies in New Jersey. Not that many people are growing field corn these days, and those who are sure aren’t picking it by hand…”
Besides picking corn, visitors can see farm animals, tour a restored circa-1900 farmstead, and enjoy lunch made in the farmhouse kitchen. The Friends of Howell Farm’s annual Wreath & Sleighbell Sale is also taking place on Saturday, and features straps of sleighbells made by the farm’s harnessmaker.
Gates open at 10 a.m. and close at 4 p.m.. Pre-registration is not required, but guests are asked to register at the Visitor Center outdoor reception center upon arrival. All Mercer County Park Commission rules and regulations are in effect, including the use of facemasks and social distancing. The farm’s bathrooms, open barns and outdoor facilities are ADA accessible. Guests with questions or individual needs are welcome to call in advance.
**Please note that all 2022 Saturday programs will be modified to encourage social distancing and reflect current State guidelines for public events. Visitors are required to carry masks at all times, and wear them when social distancing isn't possible. Thank you for your understanding, and we hope to see you soon!