After a busy day at University of Delaware filled with a student roundtable and a visit to the UDairy Creamery, Deputy Secretary Harden awoke in Pennsylvania to tour the Conewago Watershed, a local flower farm and the YorKitchen incubator.
On a mild November Friday, Deputy Secretary Harden traveled through the scenic countryside of southeastern Pennsylvania. Her tour began with the Conewago Creek Watershed in Lancaster County, including visits to several trails, fencing, forested riparian buffers and stream crossings. Deputy Harden then stopped in at the Lebanon County Field Office to chat with staff from Natural Resources and Conservation Services and Rural Development. A winding trip through Lancaster County led to Cramer’s Posie Patch in Mount Joy, where she met with owners Ralph and Keith Cramer for a tour of their 47 acre wholesale fresh and dried flower farm. While the fresh cut flower season is over, the dried flowers from this year’s harvest depicted a time of vibrancy during the growing season. The dried and long-stem fresh flowers are sold to wholesale distributors for the creation of home décor arrangements and wreaths.
The final stop was YorKitchen, a kitchen incubator housed within The Central Market House Farmer’s Market in York. The fully licensed commercial kitchen has received funding from USDA’s Rural Business Enterprise Grant program to create the kitchen and add needed equipment.
The modern kitchen is available for rent to food producers and to provide nutritional education programs to the community. The kitchen has stimulated the growth of over 30 companies, including bakeries, catering businesses, café’s and a granola manufacturing business (Nuts About Granola). Nuts About Granola began producing their granola at YorKitchen and has since grown to a storefront next door. After sampling treats in the kitchen incubator and a Nuts About Granola tour by shop owner Sarah Lanphier, the group made one final stop in the historic York Central Market House to talk with State Representative Kevin Shreiber (PA-95th) about the kitchen incubator’s success in stimulating small business growth and its role in the revitalization of the downtown.