A little bit fall, a little bit country, and a whole lot of fun down on the farm. The 5th annual Family Farm Day was held two days before the autumnal equinox. This meant celebrating the harvest with pumpkins, hay bales, hot apple sundaes, farm animals, and unseasonable warm weather. The event is a wonderful opportunity for families to understand about agriculture and its significance in our environment.
While we didn’t avail of this, a suggestion would be to start with a hayride tour of the grounds. Children will find an entire area dedicated to them known as the kids zone. The cost of $10 per car did not include the additional $5 wristband to enter the kids area. Children can choose from face painting, peddle carts, moon bounce obstacle course, and pumpkin painting. By mid-day, all the pumpkins were sold out, which saddened my daughter. However, I enticed her with a ride on an authentic John Deere tractor. Buckled in, a trained adult driver safely lets your child handle the wheel, with assistance of course. My seven year old, whose father used to drive tractors, was experiencing this for the first time. After going around the field, she wanted to go again. I saw the youngest patron, a three year old, grinning after driving the big, green tractor. For the littlest kiddos, there are two kiddie pools lightly filled with dry corn and a couple of toys.
Unimpressive was the Mobile Ag classroom. There was nobody inside to guide us through the activity. You were left with instructions on how to make a living necklace which consisted of carrying a packet of seeds around your neck. How is that supposed to be glamorous?
We skipped the pony rides due to the extra cost and the long line. We did see a quartet of show horses parade through the outdoor arena and listened to the announcer detail the history of the breed. There are plenty of livestock to admire and pet including bunnies of all sizes, chickens, and pygmy goats. A pair of horses located inside the white barn can be seen munching on hay. They are there to promote dental health for equines. I saw one showing his pearly whites, which proved great marketing if only I owned a horse! Across from the horses are sheep and shearing demonstrations. Lisa from Feederbrook Farm shares her love of sheep by showing visitors her craft on the spinning wheel. A touch table includes raw, washed, and carded wool. Carding is when the wool is combed out prior to spinning. Lisa gave my daughter two brushes and let her card dyed wool. My daughter was elated when she found out she got to take her aqua and purple mixture of wool home. The Farm gives educational tours, which is currently home to 40 sheep.
Outside the white barn was a gentleman demonstrating how butter is made. Look, but don’t touch the 1800’s era wooden churn or the 1902 glass butter jar once sold at Sears & Roebuck stores. Each of my family took a turn shaking heavy cream for what seemed like an eternity. The heat made the three minutes more like six, but we finally made our butter. All we were missing was some bread! While no one else was listening, we danced along to the country/rock band Common Ground.
Bathrooms consist of portable toilets, which were clean. However, you won’t find a changing table anywhere on the grounds. Along the main path are vendors selling jewelry, children’s hair accessories, pottery, and food. We stopped to pet an iguana, which is second to dogs as therapy animals used in hospitals. Touch the baby goats that cleverly advertise the cheese they are selling. I steered clear of local honey only because they had a bee box and the bees were going in and out of it. No thanks, no stings for me. BBQ, French fries, Greek sweets, kettle corn, bacon bark chocolate, and hot apple sundaes were on the menu. A few farmers had eye catching fruit and veggies, while another stall sold lamb.
If you missed this year’s Family Farm Day, the event is slated to return around the same time in 2015. Tickets can be purchased online or at the event. $10 per car and $5 per kids zone wrist band. Note that online charges a service fee per item.
Photos by Kathleen Molloy.