Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Plants Reign Supreme at Herb and Garden Faire

While spring is normally a time of gradual awakening, the Valley suddenly burst into life on May 6, the first day of the 24th Annual Herb and Garden Faire. What started as a small sale of excess plants by the Heirloom Seed Project has turned into the second-largest event here at Landis Valley, with roughly 80 vendors and thousands of visitors. One exciting change to this year’s Faire was the food. Not only were fresh crepes and salads featured beside everyone’s favorite chicken corn soup, but fresh ideas for dips, breads, and sweets peppered the landscape. Above the din hovered the smells of pungent herbs and tomatoes mixed with essential oils in soaps and lotions. The animals of the land also played a starring role in sweaters, scarves, paintings and pottery and, of course, wagon rides.

Naturally, the biggest draw was the wealth of plants for sale. Herbs, vegetables, roses, and annual and perennial flowers awaited new homes with eager gardeners. The Heirloom Seed Project, alone, anticipated selling roughly 10,000 plants, most of them tomatoes. As of now, they’ve come close to that number, too, between sales at the Herb Faire and sales from the wagon parked at the museum’s entrance.

It was an orderly chaos of new life condensed and celebrated in two days. Next up for the Valley is the 55th Annual Summer Institute for Rural Life, from June 14-17, where registered students will take trips to explore sites in the regions surrounding Landis Valley and learn many of the skills that were once common during my time here over a century ago. There are still openings for many of the classes and if you, too, would like to learn from the masters, please contact Karen Cunningham at 717-569-0401, extension 216.