Kaitlyn, my parents and I visited the Rodale Institute just outside of Kutztown, PA last Thursday. I’ve been wanting to go for a couple of years and we finally decided to make the trip. From our house it took only about an hour and a half. It was more than I expected.
We opted to do the audio tour, which is simply a walking tour of the grounds while carrying an ipod and a little speaker you can loan from the Gift Shop. All you need to do leave something like your car keys, which will be returned when you return the ipod, at the end of the tour. The tour lasts about an hour depending on how long you take at each stop-there are 19. The tour takes you through the history, the current projects, and explains the buildings and greenhouses. Along the way you get to meet the livestock and farm cats. We met these guys:
According to it’s website “Rodale Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach.” To learn more about Rodale click here.
The first stop of the tour is the Gift Shop with books and resources galore for the farmer or home gardener. There are organic drinks and some food items as well for snacking or taking home. The Gift Shop is a restored school house from the early 1900’s, still with it’s original floors and chalk board. Beautiful. I could have spent an enormous amount of money and time in there.
To plan a visit click HERE for more information.
The tour takes you through gardens (which weren’t entirely in bloom yet, but seeing the soil and planting areas was enough for me!), around greenhouses, by the old homesteads, which are currently used for housing of interns, staff and guests.
After visiting some small homestead gardens, complete with pond, home, herb, raised-bed and roof top gardens and a couple of bee hives, you make your way to the large fields where sheep are penned and where the CSA foods are grown and large quantities of produce are grown in the row gardens.
Then you head around the back of the barns and work areas to the compost area (I immediately had compost envy) to the cow pasture, where I’m pretty sure on the day of our visit the male and female cattle were having a domestic argument. She was getting out of the gate, while he was gated in on the other side of the road, and neither appeared very happy with each other, or anyone for that matter. She finally got put back in the gate and later peered at us from between buildings and mooed loudly.
The tour ended with a visit to the Pig fields, where they are raising Heritage Hogs. We didn’t make it to see the piglets but from what gift shop staff told us, they are pretty cute.
There is also an apple orchard, plus classes galore, gardens in every nook and cranny, birds, a bee conservancy and picnic tables for picnicking. Visiting Rodale is a quiet, peaceful way to spend an afternoon.