As Hanford Mills Museum kicks off its 50th anniversary season in 2023, staff and administration have reflected on the historical traditions of the ice harvest, and decided rather than setting a date months in advance, to watch the ice and weather to schedule a day or set of days so as to have a better idea of when ice harvesting will be possible.
In the days before mechanical refrigeration, ice harvesting was an essential winter activity. The ice harvested in the winter was used to keep food and agricultural products cold in the warmer months. Just as farmers did a century ago, ice and weather conditions are being monitored to determine the best time for the best harvest.
Hanford Mills Museum Executive Director Kajsa Harley said Tuesday, Jan. 31, “After a warm January, we are glad to see some better ice-growing weather in the forecast, and we’re hoping for a mid- to late-February harvest. In order to increase our chances of successfully harvesting ice each year, we have changed our model to one that is more in keeping with historic ice harvesting, when people watched the ice and weather to determine the best time to harvest. We are monitoring the mill pond this week to see how much growth this colder weather allows, and we will schedule Ice Harvest as soon as we have enough ice to more confidently set a date. In the meantime, we will continue to update our website and social media about ice conditions and our plans.”
Also new for 2023; admission will be by donation rather than a standard rate.
For more information visit www.hanfordmills.org/programs/ice-harvest
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