By Rich Niccum, Education Services Manager
It never ceases to amaze me how fast time goes by. It seems like only yesterday that we opened Gallant Farm to the public. It was October, 2012 – a sunny, windy day, when Preservation Parks cut the ribbon and officially opened Gallant Farm to visitors. Several hundred-people joined us to walk through the farmhouse, enjoy homemade ice cream and other treats, and reminisce with family and friends of fond childhood memories of their grandparents’ or parents’ farms.
Fast forward to 2017 and Gallant Farm has become a special place for many visitors. This is a testament to our hard-working education staff and volunteers who have a passion for interpreting Depression Era farm life. While the house and many of the buildings are new builds, making it feel “lived in” has been a goal for us. The little touches such as “family” photos, the stereoscope picture viewer on the side table, “father’s” pipe sitting on the stand next to the couch, the photo of FDR on the mantle, or cookies in the bread box make the house feel like home for so many.
The farm garden has blossomed into a vibrant and ever-changing oasis (and one of my favorite spots). Staff has worked to cultivate heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables since the establishment of the garden. This is so important in today’s age of modified, picture-perfect produce. Our goal is to not only grow heirloom varieties but to increase visitors’ awareness and knowledge of these tasty and unique fruits and vegetables. In turn, we hope that they will leave inspired to plant them in their garden spaces.
The addition of chickens in past years and sheep this year, has made it feel (and smell) much more like a farm. Other livestock will be added in the next couple of years to enhance visitor experiences. The animals allow us to connect with visitors in ways that we might not otherwise be able to do. For many, it may be the only time they see a real live chicken, sheep, pig or cow.
Time has been a friend to the farm and I am proud of the progress we have made since 2012. I look forward to the coming years and the many opportunities that will present themselves. As farm land and traditions are lost to development and time, Gallant Farm will become an increasingly important part of the Delaware County community. We are just as passionate – maybe even more so – about connecting visitors to the land, traditions, and history as we were on that windy, almost Dust Bowl-like, October day five years ago.
We hope that you will join us for the Gallant Farm 5-Year Anniversary Celebration, Saturday, October 7, 12- 4pm. There will be cake, homemade ice cream, cider pressing, farmhouse tours, and other activities offered. We will also be gathering items for a time capsule to be placed on the farm and opened in 20 years. All visitors are encouraged to bring an item with them to be placed in the capsule. Visit preservationparks.com for more information.