HARTVILLE The Pegasus Farm Country Store and Gardens celebrated the summer solstice by holding an afternoon event that was all things summer. Visitors could choose from making soda beer floats, playing yard games such as croquet or corn hole, visiting some of the farm animals, going on a scavenger hunt or working with some craft activities.
The Country Store and Gardens opened in October 2016. The purpose of the store is to provide job training and employment opportunities for adults who have developmental disabilities. Individuals in the Wings Adult Day Services Program are responsible for every aspect of the store's operations, including maintaining inventory, customer service, and labeling products. Proceeds from store sales are used to support the mission of Pegasus Farm, providing services to individuals with special needs.
"We were looking for ways to let people in the community know about the store and the gardens and the work that goes into both, and we decided to hold a special event each month with a different theme," said Shelley Sprang, who handles marketing and fundraising at Pegasus Farms.
The June theme was the summer solstice. On July 20 it is holding a blueberry festival and on August 10, visitors can enjoy a sunflower festival. The blueberries and the sunflowers are grown by the individuals who participate in working in the gardens at Pegasus as is all of the fresh produce sold in the store.
The Country Store and Gardens offers fresh vegetables and herbs from the five-acre Wellness Garden. The produce is grown all-naturally and participants in the Wings program are central in the planting, harvesting, packaging and ultimately selling this produce in the store.
The store carries a variety of local products, including raw honey, fresh baked goods, farm fresh eggs, bulk foods, snacks, pasta, rice, soup mixes, nanny goat naturals and much more. It is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
"Both the store and the gardens are work sites for persons with disabilities. They run the store and work in the gardens. The produce from the gardens are sold here in the store. The program allows them to learn works skills and life skills," said Sprang. "The store provides a great service to the community with healthy food options that are available close to where they live."
Sprang said the area where the store is located doesn’t have grocery stores close by and having the store on the corner of Edison and Route 44 is a great service to local residents.
"The gardens are on five and half acres, plus we have two high tunnels (unheated greenhouses) to grow produce and flowers," said. Horticulture Manager Rudy Moyer, who helps plant, maintain and harvest the five acres. "I usually have six to 10 people a day helping out. We work in the gardens four days a week, three hours a day. Right now, we have 743 blueberry bushes with blue ray blue crop and patriot blueberries. Plus, we have 10 heirloom apple trees and eight heirloom pear trees."
There is also a 200-foot row of asparagus and a 100-foot row of rhubarb. Moyer said Pegasus had 300 tomato plants and 200 pepper plants but because of the rain, he’s not sure what will produce. It is planning to plant a lavender field when the ground dries out.
Sprang said a couple of hundred people stop by for the event. She said people can follow the event schedule on the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PegasusCountryStore/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel.
For more information about the store and gardens, visit https://www.pegasusfarm.org/countrystore.