Monroe looks back at early farming

Reporter in Residence
Monroe Mouse

Now what is that? First a pizza garden and now another mystery to solve! I will just wait for the Evelyn to leave for the day and then investigate those mounds of earth outside the kitchen.

Well, this really isn’t a mystery, now I have had a closer look. This is the beginning of a “Three Sisters Garden,” something early settlers learned from Native Americans. Growing corn, squash and beans in combination had many advantages. t was often the Native Americans who provided the earliest settlers with food crops and taught them agricultural skills.

I recall how farming was so much of the life for early settlers in the area. For more than a century (1720-1840) Pennsylvania led the colonies and then states in food production. Although local land was not as fertile as that in counties in southeastern Pennsylvanian, farmers in our area grew crops for their families and neighbors.

Daniel Stroud knew that for a community to flourish, food crops had to be readily available, and he set aside a large portion of his property for agricultural purposes. In the early 1800s, locally grown wheat was ground into flour by grist mills along creeks in the area ,including one in what is now the area of Ann Street in Stroudsburg.

Apple orchards were an essential part of most farms. Sarah Spider could tell us that many of the recipes from the Stroud kitchen contained apples which were stored for the winter in the spring house (now part of the property adjacent to the Mansion). The hand -cranked apple peeler in the Stroud kitchen was always in use. Besides feeding the livestock, apple skins dried in the front of the hearth were a sweet treat for the family. Other apple products included apple butter and apple cider.

The entire family often worked side-by-side doing farm tasks. They tilled the soil, sowed seeds, harvested the crops, butchered, and made apple butter. It was an effort that sustained the family and provided essential food products for the surrounding communities.
Now that I know we have a “Three Sisters Garden” at the Mansion, I will definitely help with weeding. I can’t wait to share the results with our visitors.

Monroe and friends note areas of interest in the Mansion garden:
  • Sarah Spider says, “Come see the pizza garden flourishing next to the mansion.”
    Caleb Cricket says, “Don’t forget to look for the mill stones at the Stroud Mansion.”
    Monroe Mouse says, “Come visit during Stroud Fest on Saturday, September 1, to learn about the Three Sisters garden.”