Modernizing history

Playwicki Farm Foundation receives $6,000 grant to complete kitchen renovations

By Samantha Bambino

The Times

The historic timeline of Playwicki Farm in Feasterville dates all the way back to 7000 BC. Over the years, the 110-acre space has been through it all — inhabitance by Native Americans, the settling of Europeans and a lengthy battle between Lower Southampton and the heirs of the farm’s previous owner. When something has that rich of a history, certain steps must be taken to preserve it while helping it transition into modern times. Thanks to Wheelabrator Technologies, Playwicki received a $6,000 grant this month to renovate the farm’s kitchen, which will be used to host new public events.

The lineup: Pictured are (from left) Rose McMenamin, vice president of Playwicki Farm Foundation; Don Rubin, treasurer; June Olson, foundation board member; Mike Lesher, project manager, Regal Properties; Patrice Luongo, foundation president; and Michael Dougherty, representative of Wheelabrator Falls. SAMANTHA BAMBINO / TIMES PHOTO

The mission of the Playwicki Farm Foundation is to protect and promote the farm as a natural, cultural and recreational resource in Lower Southampton Township and to recognize the farm’s national significance. Since the opening of the farm in 1999, the Foundation, formed in 1996, has focused its fundraising efforts on stabilizing the various features of the property, including the building, grounds, walking paths and woodland trails, cross bridges and the barn.

The group’s latest project is creating the “Farm House Kitchen,” which has taken time due to the magnitude of the work that needs to be done and the cost to do it right. According to Patrice Luongo, Playwicki Farm Foundation president, they’ve been talking about the project for almost five years, and it’s finally becoming a reality.

At a Lower Southampton Township Board of Supervisors meeting on June 14, Michael Dougherty of Wheelabrator Technologies presented a check for $6,000 to Luongo, vice president Rose McMenamin and other members of the Playwicki Foundation. The energy-from-waste company donated the grant to assist in the design and installation of the kitchen so the farm can host special private and public events.

“We’re here to support what we think is a worthwhile organization,” Dougherty said.

The modern kitchen is set to be completed this year and according to its project manager, Michael Lesher of Regal Properties, construction is already well underway. When completed, the Foundation will provide educational programs and activities in the kitchen that will be consistent with the history and traditions of the farm and the Playwicki Farm Foundation Mission.

Now they’re cooking: A mock picture of Playwicki Farm’s future kitchen is shown. Construction is underway. SAMANTHA BAMBINO / TIMES PHOTO

Wheelabrator Technologies, with its main Wheelabrator Falls facility located in Morrisville, has been a consistent community partner over the years dedicated to protecting the environment and enhancing education, which coincides with many goals of the Playwicki Farm Foundation. The facility maintains a 27-acre wildlife sanctuary certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council as both a Wildlife at Work and Corporate Lands for Learning site, offering hands-on educational opportunities for the local community.

To further its partnership with the Wildlife Habitat Council, Wheelabrator partnered with the Bucks County Technical School to build a state-of-the-art butterfly haven on site. The space provides an outdoor classroom for local schools, Boy Scouts, seniors and local garden clubs.

Wheelabrator Technologies has become the second largest U.S. energy-to-waste business with enough energy from its various locations in the U.S. and U.K. to power more than 805,000 homes. At the Wheelabrator Falls site alone, which began operations in 1994, enough energy is produced to supply the electrical needs of up to 41,000 Bucks County homes and businesses, as well as its own operations. For more information, visit wtienergy.com.

Though Playwicki’s modern kitchen is still in the process of becoming a reality, the farm will continue hosting events throughout the rest of the year, according to Luongo. The next major fundraiser, the 6th Annual “Taste for Playwicki” will take place on Sept. 10, the second flea market of the year will be held on Oct. 14, and the annual farmer’s market will continue every day through Sept. 27.

“It’s a great way to get fresh fruits from our local farmers,” she said.

For more information on upcoming Playwicki Farm events, visitplaywickifarm.org/events. ••