Heidel Hollow welcomes visitors for Open Gate
The cold and windy weather but did not stop people from visiting Heidel Hollow Farm as part of Lehigh County’s Open Gate Farm Tour.
Tenth and 11th generations of Fink family members are now farming the land.
Owner Dave Fink said the farm’s specialty is hay and they farm 2,000 acres. The rainy weather affected the crop this year, but he always brings in some hay from Wyoming where the weather is dry. There is less humidity making it easier to make good hay.
Each hour, beginning at 1:30 p.m. Fink discussed the hay and how they compress it. Starting with a 150-pound bale, it is cut and run through a compressor and wrapped in plastic. Forty bales are stacked on a pallet which is then moved with a fork lift.
A computer keeps track of which field it came from, when it was harvested and will provide a lot number. Purchasers can check the information in the office for its analysis
Thirty-five pound bales are usually sold locally but other weights can be done. There were 1,416 pounds in the stack that was made as people watched.
Any questionable hay in a bale is pulled out and the bale is not put through the compressor.
There are three balers and the five dryers that run when the weather creates damp conditions.
His son, Mike, farms 200 acres of vegetables and fruit and sells through Water Wheel Farm Market on Route 309, as well as at the home farm.
They have 1,800 acres of owned and rented land in Heidelberg, Lynn, Washington and North Whitehall townships, and 1,500 acres in Potter County.
Information was available about the spotted lantern fly, an invasive insect that damages crops. It lays eggs preferably on something smooth and hard.
Scott Dietrich had not only honey and his observation hive but handdipped candles made from bees wax which burn without dripping. He said some honey will turn to sugar faster than others depending on the flowers the bees use. They can all be reliquified by heating slowly and being sure every bit has turned liquid.
Ethan Howard, regional organizational director with the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, was telling people about the group. He said it is the largest all-volunteer organization in the state and tries to make it easier for farmers. Half the members are farmers and half are interested in farming.
He said praying mantis go after lantern fly eggs, and birds, especially cardinals, are beginning to. Howard said dairy prices are so low both here and in Canada that some dairy farms are beginning to give up.
A food court sponsored by the Rural Preservation Association of Northwestern Lehigh County did a steady business with hot dogs, pork roll, homemade soup, hand-cut french fries, apple cider and hot drinks. A bake sale was close to being sold out.