Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes, center, gets ready to plow the garden with Washington Elementary students April 8.Full size photo

Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes, center, gets ready to plow the garden with Washington Elementary students April 8.

Contact: Julie Willmot
(609) 278-7137

TRENTON, N.J. -Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes and the hardworking staff of the Howell Living History Farm helped Isles Inc. with its annual Spring Tillage today at the Isles community garden in Trenton.

Using two plow horses from Howell Farm, children from the Washington Elementary School in Trenton guided a plow along a plot of land on Chestnut Avenue in Trenton that will become an expansive community garden.

"I applaud Isles for giving schoolchildren the opportunity to participate and learn about the spirit of community gardening," Hughes said as he watched the children till the land. "These children are seeing first-hand the history of Mercer County, the value of hard work, and the care and patience needed to grow a garden."

The students also learned how to grind corn, set up a composting bin, and other farming skills and techniques.

The Isles' community garden will be divided into individual sections where gardeners will tend to their own produce. Seed planting will occur throughout the spring and summer and produce will include everything from cabbage to collard greens to peppers and tomatoes, according to Isles.

Howell Living History Farm, located in Titusville, is a facility of the Mercer County Park Commission. Nestled in the heart of the Pleasant Valley Rural Historic District, this 130-acre park was a working farm for over 240 years when its last private owner, Inez Howe Howell, gave it to Mercer County in 1974. The Mercer County Park Commission has been restoring the farm to look and operate the way it did a century ago -- a time when most of Mercer County was still rural, and when farmers worked by hand and horse power to make the land productive. In keeping with Mrs. Howell's wishes, the Park Commission offers year-around programs that allow visitors of all ages to join in the work and fun of life on a farm. The farm features over 45 acres of period crops and gardens, four buildings listed on the NJ State and National Registers of Historic Places, and over two miles of lanes accessible on foot and by horse drawn wagon. Historic breeds of horses, cows, sheep, chickens and other farm animals are kept as they were a century ago, creating daily opportunities for visitors to help with chores such as milking, mixing feeds, and collecting eggs. Eighty acres of pastures, meadows, and woodlands complete the farm's historic landscape, which is enhanced by the preservation of the adjacent Baldpate Mountain and stream corridors preserved by the Delaware & Raritan Greenway.