Fall Crops and Harvest
As Fall approaches, it is easy to think about all the things that come with it. The leaves change color, a chill has crept into the air, and we wear sweaters and scarves on chilly nights. And, of course, the crops are ready to be harvested. Lancaster County has some of the best soil, making it perfect for the Amish to grow crops. Some commonly found crops include Hay, Tobacco, and Corn. These crops are planted and harvested at different times throughout the spring, so they are ready to be harvested at various times throughout the season. Harvesting is done using horse-drawn plows because how the Amish do not use modern-day technology.
One common crop that is harvested early is hay which is used to feed animals. Hay is dried crops, especially grasses used to feed animals. The crop requires specific weather; drought conditions will dry it out and lessen the nutritional value. Too much rain may make it rot in the fields. Unlike the English (non-Amish people) the Amish must use horse-drawn machinery to cut the hay without electricity before it is balled and wrapped to protect it from the weather before being stored in a dry space.
How is Tobacco Harvested?
Tobacco is Lancaster County’s largest cash crop bringing about 28 million dollars. It is a labor-intensive crop so today there is less tobacco grown than in the past, but it still manages to be a valuable crop. While English farmers use modern machinery the Amish still use the same methods as in the 1800s. Tobacco is planted in early March and is normally harvested in August and September. The Tobacco must be cut individually and dried in the sun before being taken to the Tobacco shed.
Corn is normally planted in May and is harvested from September to November. Traditionally the Amish harvest uses wagons to cut and bundle the corn before loading it onto another wagon and then grinding it into silage. It takes several men and boys to be able to harvest a field. What would take about 6 hours using modern machinery would take 3-5 days done by the Amish. There are also multiple types of corn. Field corn is used to feed animals while corn grown in smaller gardens is eaten by the Amish and often sold at roadside stands throughout the summer.
Come Visit Us!
To see some of these crops such as our corn maze, tobacco, as well as our vegetable garden, visit our farm.