Quick: who was the leader of the patriots?

Tom Brady.  George Washington, of course!  Today, we celebrate his 280th birthday.

Washington didn’t get a Google Doodle for his birthday (Heinrich Rudolf Hertz – the German physicist who proved the existence of electromagnetic waves – did), but we think he deserves a shout-out on our blog.  He was, after all, the first president of our country.  Although he did not fight in the Battles of Saratoga in 1777, Washington restored the momentum for the patriots after defeating the British in two battles and retaking New Jersey. Certainly, his victories inspired the American troops in upstate New York to win the Battles of Saratoga and thus change American and world history.

Tour de Farm calls to mind Washington often, as half of our route takes place in Washington County, NY.  It’s only fitting a county rich with agriculture and beautiful landscapes is named after George Washington.  Our first president was a successful and passionate planter at his estate in Virginia.  Initially, Washington grew tobacco and exported the in-demand crop like many fellow  colonists; however, he switched over to wheat in the mid 1760s.  Wheat allowed him to package and sell to colonists, rather than exporting his crop overseas.  He further diversified Mt. Vernon to include flour milling, fishing, horse breeding, spinning, weaving and (in the 1790s) whiskey production.  Over the course of his time at Mt Vernon, Washington experimented with over 60 different types of crops and selectively bred sheep.  After his presidency, he spent his time tending to building repairs, entertaining, and (of course) gardening at Mt Vernon.

For years, Mt Vernon was filled with rose gardens and boxwoods, a romantic projection of an 18th century gentleman farmer. Today, the garden attempts historic accuracy. Above, a Mt. Vernon volunteer tends to the kitchen garden.

Washington on gardening:

“Bad seed is a robbery of the worst kind: for your pocket-book not only suffers by it, but your preparations are lost and a season passes away unimproved.”
-George Washington


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