Harford County Barn Quilt Trail promotes agribusiness and celebrates local heritage – Baltimore Sun

Joan Hayden first learned about barn quilts at a meeting with the local Flying Geese Quilt Guild in 2016. The guest speaker at the meeting that day was Suzi Parron, an author who writes and talks about barn quilts. barn.

A barn quilt is pretty much what it sounds like: a painting of a quilt on the side of a barn, often in colorful geometric patterns.

Hayden, a former teacher of the year at Harford who taught family and consumer science at Bel Air High School, said after that meeting she felt inspired. She is friends with several local farmers and knows they don’t have huge advertising budgets. So she teamed up with Kate Dallum, owner of Broom’s Bloom Dairy in Bel Air, and they started painting barn quilts on the dairy’s picnic tables.

After that, she went to Visit Harford, the county tourist office, to find out about starting the Harford County Barn Quilt Trail. Since its inception in 2019, there are now 25 quilts as part of the trail to visit.

“The center of our barn [quilt] trail is the agribusiness and natural parts of Harford County,” Hayden said.

Barns across the county are part of the trail, from the owl quilt at Steppingstone Farm Museum in Havre de Grace to the American flag quilt at Duncale Farm in Joppa.

Hayden paints some of the quilts and also works with Visit Harford to help barn owners create their own.

According to Hayden, visiting the many quilts on the trail has become a COVID-19 pandemic pastime for many.

“The beauty of this trail is that it’s outdoors,” she said. “It’s a great activity to do as a family in your car. You don’t have to worry about being around other people.

While you’re at one of the farms, Hayden suggests stopping by to see what else they have to offer.

“The farmer is there when you are there,” she said. “You meet the person who was up at 3 a.m. milking the cow. You don’t have to walk a long distance in any direction to get something fresh.

Matthew Scales, executive director of Visit Harford, said the trail is not only meant to bring visitors from outside the county, but also Harford residents to celebrate their heritage.

“We want the people of the county to be proud of it,” Scales said, “but also, I think, it’s a draw for visitors to come and shine a light on what makes Harford County special.”

Rockfield Manor, an event venue in Bel Air, added the latest addition to the trail in March — a barn quilt with three layered dodecagrams, or 12-pointed stars, resembling pinwheels.

“The barn quilts only showcase the history, heritage, new and old, of the open lands that are so important to Harford County and its people,” said Kellee Kalthof, Rockfield Executive Director. Manor.

Julie Yarrington, owner of Martha’s Farm Market in Street, said her barn quilts gave them an edge in terms of people’s extra sight.

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“We had a few busloads of people who came in to do a little shopping,” Yarrington said, “but it’s been very rewarding, personally, just meeting people and talking about farming or talking about the weather. .”

Val Scarborough, owner of Stone View Farm in Darlington, said her quilt hasn’t seen a ton of barn quilt traffic, but she still loves the compliments she gets for it. She even received one from Hayden herself during a visit.

“It just came from one of the best of the best,” Scarborough said.

Hayden said a 26th quilt was in the works; they work with a farmer on the design of it.

Hayden led bus tours to visit several of the stops on the trail.

“I can, in five hours, take a ride with lunch and go to 11 places,” she said, “but I snap my fingers.” She recommends people bring coolers in case they want to buy farm-fresh produce along the way.

“No matter how small,” Hayden said, “I just hope we have people to see the beauty of these farms and the products they have to offer — straight from the farmer, straight from the cow.”

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