Johnny Applause’s legend has come to a standstill over time.
John Chapman was a nursing home in northeastern Pennsylvania. Folklore claims to distribute apple seeds wherever a person goes, but in fact Chapman deliberately planted his orchards. He made up a myth about his feelings for others – his kindness, generosity, and love for fruits and vegetables.
As we celebrate August as the harvest month, I am amazed at Chapman’s parallels to the modern faces of Pennsylvania fruit and vegetable growers.
I think of our orchards, our community, and my neighbors in the big northeast, Adams County. I think of volunteers at the project SHARE in Carlis, working with local farms and agricultural markets for a waste-free charity food system. And I think the founder of the sensible eye farming community – and many others we met during Urban Week – will strengthen food security in urban communities for his new demand for agriculture.
Love, kindness, and generosity have inspired Pennsylvania fruit and vegetable growers for generations, and these principles continue to advance the industry.
At the beginning of August, I had the opportunity to celebrate Maple Acre Farm in Montgomery County and National Farmers Market Week, where I met with the Pennsylvania Gardeners ‘Association and the Pennsylvania Farmers’ Association. Product integration in local food systems was a great reminder.
From food security to food security, Pennsylvania fruit and vegetable farmers participate at every stage of the supply chain.
Gary McKayu, owner of a maple acre farm and a fourth-generation farmer, said demand for new, domestic production has increased during the COVID-19 period. When he was unsure, it became clear that farmers and ranches were constantly supplying fresh, local produce to their large communities.
McKeown volunteered with the AG Department of Food Safety to participate in agricultural readiness assessments and took steps to ensure that the product met high food safety standards. The assessments provide opportunities for farmers to meet FDA product safety regulations to address problems, address weaknesses, and strengthen food safety practices.
To improve the quality of their produce, more than 500 orchards and vegetable farms have used a free on-farm evaluation. It is more than making sure that food reaches the plate. Fruit and vegetable farmers are doing their part to ensure the food is safe and nutritious. It is a commitment to consumers and the competitiveness of Pennsylvania products.
The harvest month is also an opportunity for fruit and vegetable gardeners to highlight their ingenuity and diversity. If you choose your own, from community to subsidized agriculture (CSS), to agricultural farms and farmers’ markets, every job and market is as diverse and inclusive as Pennsylvania’s agriculture.
In June, I had the opportunity to visit Paul’s Farm Market with my colleague No No Ortega. Paul’s farm market is a good example not only for multiplying farmers but also for educating the next generation of consumers.
Through U-Pick and their farms, families can learn about fruits and vegetables, practice farming, and participate in farming to explore career opportunities in agriculture.
Like John Chapman, Paul’s farm market is deliberately sowing seeds to encourage new generations of consumers and agriculturalists.
Pennsylvania fruit and vegetable producers also play a vital role in providing fresh and nutritious food to all Pennsylvania residents. Programs such as the WIC Farmers ‘Market Feeding Program and the Farmers’ Market Diet Program connect WIC recipients and low-income seniors with new, nutritious, locally grown fruits and vegetables from licensed Pennsylvania farmers.
Earlier this year, during a high-profile listening session with First Lady Francis Wolf, the elders emphasized the benefits of SFMNP. Not only did the program connect with new products, but their participation in these programs provided an opportunity to support local farmers who benefited the larger community.
Love, Kindness, and Generosity – These have long been the hallmarks of Pennsylvania fruit and vegetables.
As we celebrate Production Month, let us honor the care of their communities and the producers who have benefited our community as a whole.