Farm tour touts Allegheny Township’s farm heritage
Explore the rural side of Allegheny Township this weekend during The Farms of Allegheny Township —Past and Present Tour.
Sponsored by the Allegheny Township Historical Society of Westmoreland County, this self-guided driving tour offers visitors an up-close and personal experience at nine Allegheny Township locations from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Defined as any agriculturally-based operation that brings visitors to a farm or ranch, “agritourism” is thriving in Allegheny Township said event organizer Audrey Krzeminski.
Participants will select a starting location beginning and personalize their driving tour for the day said Krzeminski. Instruction sheets with GPS locations will be available for guests at each tour stop.
The tours involve walking and the event is rain or shine. Free parking is available at all tour stops. Tickets must be presented at each stop for admittance.
Tickets may be purchased in advance for $10 per person at either Pounds Turkey Farm or the Allegheny Township Community Building, during business hours.
New this year are carriage rides at Wolfe Dream Carriage, the 50-acre farm owned by Bill and Doris Wolfe.
“We have about 20 carriages here and I will have a few — a stagecoach, covered wagon, hearse coach and our “Cinderella” carriage — for visitors to check out and I will give wagon rides around our farm” Bill Wolfe said.
Krzeminski noted the event took a hiatus last year because the historical society hosted a free sold-out bus tour of the township. Due to public demand, the self-guided tour is back and bigger this year, with three more locations added.
“People are really soaking up the farm experience. Farming and agriculture—it’s big now. There has been a resurgence and people want to know where their food is coming from.” Krzeminski said. “Our last township farm tour had a phenomenal turnout — lots of families and some people stayed three hours at our farm.”
All monies raised benefit the Allegheny Township Historical Society.
Hundreds of animals, including two friendly dromedary camels named Tut and Ciaro, roam Tunnel Hill Farm in Leechburg. The 100-plus-acre farm is owned by Chet Welch and Bob Cherry and boasts exotics such as Zebu cattle, alpacas, peacocks, llamas, turkeys, longhorns, goats and Asian water buffalo. Named after a tunnel that runs under the pasture, the farm dates back to the 1860’s.
“The kids always like it. People don’t expect to see camels here in Leechburg. This is new for a lot of the kids. They don’t get to see exotics,” Welch said. ” I have raised animals all of my life — always liked exotic hoof stock. When we acquired this farm, I started acquiring animals and it’s really going over well and it’s my hobby.”
Walking tours at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Pound’s Turkey Farm will offer an up close encounter of thousands of turkeys raised without antibiotics or hormones by second-generation owners Tim and Rick Pounds.
Pound’s market sells more than 60 mostly turkey-related products — all made at the farm. The homemade turkey pot pies are a top-seller.
Rain or shine, Krzeminski hopes both visitors and locals unfamiliar with the rural side of Allegheny Township will come explore.
“I love to share the township’s history and I feel like Allegheny Township is a hidden gem,” Krzeminski said.
Krzeminski, along with her husband “Farmer Dave,” own and operate 1824 Walker Farmhouse, an original post-and-beam ancestral home that belonged to Audrey’s great-great-great-great grandfather, Jonathon Walker.
The couple worked diligently for four years to relocate (from Buffalo Township) and rebuild the home that sits nestled among the hills of their 20-acre farm. It is one of the nine stops on the tour. Dave, a nationally recognized blacksmith, will offer blacksmithing demonstrations.
Joyce Hanz is a freelance writer.