Agriculture & Open Space

Today, the Exton Region is no longer predominantly agricultural. It now grows corporate centers, jobs, schools and houses on land that as recently as the 1960s was primarily rural farmland.

With the changing population and prosperity of the Exton Region, farming as it was known in the county for the past hundred years has all but disappeared.

As the economic environment changed the physical landscape, the residents and the political leadership of Chester County realized that preservation of open space and the continuation of agriculture were an essential part of the way they wanted the county to look in the twenty-first century.  Chester County’s government leaders took a number of aggressive steps to make sure that the Chester County of the future will still be a place with high quality life where its residents have ready access to clean streams, parks, trails and farmlands.

Agricultural Preservation in Chester County

The Chester County Agricultural Development Council (ADC) was created to assist in the retention of farmland and the activities related to agriculture.  Among its many important roles, the ADC administers programs to help educate the residents of Chester County on the importance of agriculture and the continuation of farming in Chester County.

The Chester County Agricultural Land Preservation Board administers Pennsylvania’s Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program and the Chester County Challenge Grant Program.  These aggressive easement programs work together to preserve viable agricultural lands.

Open Space in Chester County

Since 1989, the Commissioners of Chester County have created and funded, through their Landscapes 21st Century Program, numerous programs designed to help preserve productive non-irrigated farmland, to provide adequate local and county park and recreation opportunities, to preserve significant natural areas and to encourage the revitalization of previously developed areas.

Farmers’ Markets

Starting in the middle of June and ending in late November, Exton Region residents can easily find a farm market with locally grown produce, flowers, apple cider, and cheeses.  Chester County helps its many farm stands, faram markets and orchards by producing a comprehensive annual booklet for consumers on how to find the numerous markets in the County, their hours of operation and the produce and products they sell this booklet is available online at http://dsf.chesco.org/agdev.

Penn State Cooperative Extension in Chester County provides residents with free and easy access to the resources and expertise of the Pennsylvania State University.  PSU Cooperative Extension offers educational programs, publications, events and the expertise of cooperative extension agents.

Highlights of Chester County

Wineries: Vineyards growing more than a dozen varieties of wine grapes are located throughout Chester County.  Several of the county’s wineries work together as a marketing alliance to help county residents and tourists from Philadelphia and Baltimore experience the fine wines produced in the Brandywine Valley.  Their effort is regionally known as the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail..  The largest and best known of the wineries is Chaddsford Winery.

Horse Country: For more than a hundred years Chester County has been horse country.  The numerous equestrian-related facilities spread throughout the Exton Region include riding stables, breeding farms, training facilities and horse sports/shows that take place throughout the summer.  Some of the popular horse country events in the area include The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, which is the oldest and largest multi-breed horse competition in the United States; The Brandywine Carriage Driving Show at the Willowdale Steeplechase in Kennett Square; The Radnor Hunt Races, featuring six races with horses galloping over hurdles and timber fences; The Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show, giving hunter and jumper riders the opportunity to show before large crowds in a country fair atmosphere; and the Dressage at Devon, the premier North American Equestrian Show, which combines world class dressage competition and the world’s largest open breed show with an exciting international Fall Festival.

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