Monday, August 3, 2009

4-H Camp: From Farm to Fork

The Haywood County 4-H program put on a day camp, themed "From Farm to Fork", last week for kids ages 6-12. Campers learned all about food production through field trips and hands-on projects. The camp was sponsored by the Haywood County Farm Bureau. Campers spent time at the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville, traveled to a fish farm, spent time with a couple of vegetable growers, visited a local tailgate market, learned about bees and soil and much more.

I had the distinct pleasure of spending a day with the campers when they visited Haywood's Historic Farmers Market, a commercial vegetable production field and the The Ten Acre Garden and produce stand. Despite a drizzly morning, the afternoon cleared up and campers were able to enjoy a day of learning, fun and food.

At the Haywood Historic Farmers Market, the kids sampled beans, baked goods and goat's milk. Vendors explained what they grow or make and discussed the importance of local foods.

I couldn't resist taking a picture of this beautiful and bountiful basket that a shopper had assembled from multiple vendors at the market. Stunning!

We traveled to a commercial vegetable field (that was a little muddy!) where farmer John taught the campers about tomato varieties, drip irrigation, the importance of a plant's roots, suckering tomato plants and the day to day of a full-time farmer.

After lunch we traveled to the Ten Acre Garden, where farmer Danny showed us his diversity of crops, from flowers to heirloom tomatoes to cantaloupe to beans to tomatillos to brussels sprouts!

The campers even got to pick some beans!

And sample some blackberries. I couldn't resist this picture of blackberry stains! This same camper took the time to shell the bean he picked, remove a seed and plant it in the soil. Very precious!

The campers really enjoyed learning about everything "From Farm to Fork"! Bravo to Nick Reynolds, Haywood County 4-H Agent, the Haywood County Farm Bureau and all the others who made the camp a smashing success!

To learn more about Haywood County 4-H visit their blog!

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