Cooperative Extension program shows how agriculture affects daily life

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 22, 2011

Each summer, the N.C. Cooperative Extension offers a variety of classes, workshops and tours through the 4-H Summer Fun Program. Youth in third through sixth grades learned how agriculture impacts their daily life through the Farm to Table day camp. Farm to Table was held June 27 through July 1. Each day brought a different experience.
On Monday, participants created a pizza garden with tomato, basil and oregano plants in a container garden to take home. We discussed how each part of the pizza comes from a different agricultural product. In the afternoon, Family and Consumer Science Agent Toi Degree helped them make their own pizza using the fresh herbs from our garden. Youth made homegrown play dough and played play dough pictionary to wrap up the day.
Tuesday was designated as our “Grower’s Day,” where youth visited local farms to see vegetables in production. We visited Patterson Farm and Correll Farms to learn about local produce and animals. County Extension Director Darrell Blackwelder shared his knowledge with the group while we toured the fields.
The “Market Day” began with a visit to the Salisbury Farmers Market where youth visited with the vendors and made some purchases of their own. They also worked in teams to complete a farmers market scavenger hunt. We then traveled to a Pinetop Farm, a local blueberry and Christmas tree farm, to pick blueberries. After picking the blueberries, we returned to the extension office to make blueberry muffins with Toi Degree. That afternoon, the group was able to tour Harris Teeter. While there, youth learned more about the produce, meat and bakery departments.
Thursday was spent at N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Piedmont Research Station. While there, youth were able to watch the dairy cows being milked and tour the fields of corn, other small grains and horticulture crops. Brad Johnson, livestock and dairy agent, and Scott Tilley, field crop agent, led the tour.
Following the tour, youth were able to taste test various dairy products ranging from goat cheese to chocolate milk. Upon returning to the office, we were able to make ice cream in a bag.
The final day, youth competed in an Agriculture Olympics and made their own Farm to Table lunch, completed with grilled hamburgers, grilled corn on the cob, grilled vegetables, fruit and yogurt parfaits and zucchini strudel for dessert. During the afternoon, we made our own butter and whipped cream, had a taste test of lamb and different cuts of beef and tried our hand at dairy quiz bowl, buzzing in to answer dairy-related questions.
For more information concerning Rowan County 4-H Opportunities or the North Carolina 4-H program, contact Sara Drake, 4-H extension agent, at 704-216-8970 or sara_drake@ For more information about N.C. Cooperative Extension, call the Rowan Extension Office at 704-216-8970 or visit