Efforts to preserve Barnard's Orchard continue
● By Steven Hoffman
Gwen Lacy, the executive director of The Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County (TLC), said that the organization is reaching out to the community to complete the effort to preserve Barnard's Orchard, a fourth-generation family farm in Chester County.
Funding for most of the projected costs to conserve the 74 acres of Barnard's Orchard has already been raised. Lacy said that the TLC has been working with the Barnard family to place an agricultural conservation easement on the property. The group still needs about $11,000 to move forward with the project, which has an estimated cost of about $901,000.
This conservation project is vital to the effort to keep intact a corridor of more than 1,200 acres of lands, Lacy said.
Barnard's Orchard was originally established in 1862, and represents 74 acres of important agricultural soils. More than 30 varieties of apples are grown on the property. The orchard is also well-known for its peaches, pumpkins, apple cider, snapdragons, and freesia, as well as many other fruits and vegetables that are grown on the property.
Both the orchard and the store are community treasures, with generations of local families growing up visiting the properties. Barnard's Orchard donates produce to area good cupboards and also hosts school groups to educate children about the orchard.
The orchard's location is important as it protects prime agricultural soils and keeps them in active agriculture through the agricultural easement. This will also protect a portion of a first order stream and wooded, steep slopes, as well as the groundwater recharge abilities of the woods. Preserving the orchard also maintains the existing riparian buffer to protect the watershed. Woodlands that are a part of an unbroken corridor extending north onto the Cheslen Preserve will also be protected instead of being threatened by potential development. The stream corridor and the woods in the area are home to numerous endangered and threatened plant species.
The importance of conserving Barnard Orchard can be illustrated by the recent loss of about 62 acres of fields and forests near the village of Marshallton so that more than 130 new residences can be built.
In the email seeking support to conserve the property, the TLC noted that farmland and open space benefits everyone by keeping the costs of community services under control. For $1 of tax revenue from farmland, only 2-12 cents of community services are required. By comparison, residential costs are $1.33 for every $1 of tax revenue.
Donations to protect Barnard Orchard can be made online at www.tlcforscc.org or checks payable to TLC can be sent to:
The Land Conservancy for
Southern Chester County
541 Chandler Mill Road
Avondale, PA 19311