With farm to table dining all the rage, interest in visiting working farms is growing. Rural Awareness of Quakertown, a non-profit corporation dedicated to preserving Franklin Township’s rich history and rural character, is organizing a bus tour designed to entertain and teach adults and children over age 12 (accompanied by an adult) about working farms on Saturday, September 17. The tour bus departs promptly at 9:30 a.m. from the Quakertown Firehouse, 67 Quakertown Road, and ends there three hours later. Parking is free.

According to a press statement, Franklin, established in 1845, has historically had an agricultural economic base. Even though there are smaller farms now than in the past, Franklin still takes pride in its green, farm-based character, with just over 2,300 acres in farmland preservation.

The tour will crisscross the township, highlighting the operations of several farms and stopping at four of them. Visits include Stone Corner Farm, a base of farming since it was established in the mid 1700s and currently the home of 25 alpacas and one herd of llamas. An 1879 barn there has been fully restored. The preserved 160-acre Tri-Dale Farm is home base for Thomas Meyer, one of Franklin’s youngest farmers, who works 1,400 acres in the area with a fleet of trucks and massive farming equipment.

Deo Volente Farms, a premier equine breeding facility on 110 preserved acres, will show off its extraordinary horses and facilities. The last stop is at the preserved 150-acre Peterson Farm, a crop and vegetable farm that features harvest-your-own Christmas trees and strawberries. They also grow corn and runs a small herd of Black Angus steers. A hayride will show off the farm and its picturesque 19th century house, barns, and root cellar.

Other farms along the route specialize in vegetables, beef, sheep, flowers and shrubs, and one that produces everything from flowers to herbs and vegetables, pork and beef, and is completely solar powered. The Rutgers 390-acre Snyder Research Farm based in Franklin develops new varieties of disease-resistant grasses, vegetables, and fruit trees to benefit farmers and homeowners. Farm houses along the route also will be of interest; Franklin has 282 structures built before 1900. Along with a sample of alpaca wool, guests on the tour will get other mementos of the day, a map, and information on where to buy fresh home-grown products in Franklin.

Farm Showcase Tour, Rural Awareness, Quakertown Firehouse, 67 Quakertown Road. Saturday, September 17, 9:30 a.m. Three-hour bus tour showcasing diverse farming in Franklin Township. Pre-order tickets with a $15 check to Rural Awareness, Box 314, Quakertown 08868. Include your phone number or e-mail address and the names of those who will be going on the tour. Capacity of the bus limits available tickets to 50. Lunch and produce may be purchased at the firehouse. E-mail contactus@ruralawareness.org for information and reservations. www.ruralawareness.org.

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