SANATOGA PA – It wasn’t just any hay that farmer Ryan Lehman cut last week across much of Lower Pottsgrove’s 18-acre Pleasantview Park.
No, he patiently explained Wednesday morning (July 22, 2015) with a smile, it’s somewhat of a gourmet hay.
The township bought the broad and flat park land, at the northwest corner of North Pleasant View and Bleim roads, during 2008 from the Pottsgrove School District. It once considered building a school there, but never did. The still vacant property is destined to become an active site filled with community ball fields and hiking trails, under a master plan created in 2011.
Lower Pottsgrove hasn’t yet found money to build the park, but it did find added expense in owning the field there. For several years its Highway Department covered the cost of mowing the tract to make it look less unruly and keep out unwanted vegetation.
Then, last July, the Board of Commissioners struck a deal with Lehman: he’d mow the field and keep the hay; the township would save on manpower and equipment. Solicitor Robert Brant drew up a contract agreeable to all, and the farmer harvested his first cuttings in 2014. The annual agreement was renewed earlier this year.
Which is why Lehman was out Tuesday evening (July 21) and Wednesday morning, driving his huge John Deere-brand self-propelled windrower – its primary drive tires are more than 4-feet tall – to cut the field down to size. The hay has already dried for a couple of days, and been baled, and this week is expected to be hauled off to its final destination in southern Chester County.
That’s where township hay meets up with gourmet interests. Lehman has sold his product to Avondale PA-area mushroom growers.
Once rotted and decomposed, he said, the hay becomes perfect bedding material, in which will one day grow some of the nation’s tastiest and occasionally rare edible fungi. Epicureans likely will end up paying several times over for a bale of Lower Pottsgrove’s finest grasses, just to sample what grew in their hot, damp, fragrant and mushy remains.
Eat up, local mushroom lovers! Lehman thinks he can get another cutting in before fall.
- Deal Recognizes There’s Gold In Lower Pottsgrove Field
- A Clean Park Field, At Least Until Another Cutting
Top photos by Joe Zlomek for The Post Publications LLC
Bottom photo from Google Images