Tyro farm gives answers to all your agriculture questions
LEXINGTON (AP) — Have you ever wondered how farmers prune their blueberry bushes or how beekeepers collect and process honey? Many people who have these questions can find out more about the agricultural process through a series of informational programs at SandyCreek Farm in Tyro.
Brenda Garner and her husband, John, own SandyCreek Farm, and she said these classes have evolved over time. Brenda Garner said it began when people wanted to know how they grew their mushrooms and just went forward from there.
“It all started with the mushroom logs,” Garner said. “People were fascinated on how to do that, and we didn’t have a whole lot going on in February, so we decided to do a class. It has grown bigger every year.”
Garner said she works closely with Davidson County Cooperative Extension to decide what classes would be interesting. She said sometimes the ideas come from the public, sometimes they come from the Cooperative Extension personnel, and sometimes they just think up ideas on their own. For example, this weekend SandyCreek held a day devoted to beekeeping because John Garner is interested in the subject, plus there is a thriving beekeeping community in Davidson County. Brenda Garner said they thought a program dedicated to bees and beekeeping would be of interest to others.
“We’re just following the demand,” Garner said. “We had people asking questions and bringing their kids out, so we thought it would be an interesting subject. It is important to know about our bees because they are in charge of pollination.”
Amy-Lynn Albertson, an agricultural extension agent with Davidson County Cooperative Extension, said it is nice to have a working venue to hold some of these educational opportunities.
“They are always very open to hosting tours,” Albertson said. “Their location makes it easier for us, and it makes much of an impact when it’s outside a classroom. We would typically do a pruning demo each year, but we have not had the mature bushes to work on before. They were interested in doing some things, and we needed a location, so it just worked out that way.”
Glenda Morrison, who co-owns Cross Winds family campground in Linwood, has taken classes at SandyCreek and said not only was the program informational, it was fun as well.
“It was a great experience,” Morrison said. “I signed up for the mushroom log class, and I had so much fun I did a second class the following year. You do everything hands-on, and everyone was very knowledgeable and helped whenever you asked a question. It was a wonderful experience in a laid-back atmosphere. With all the stress people have in their lives, it is nice to just do something fun.”
SandyCreek Farm offers programs throughout the year. The owners have a blueberry festival coming up in June, which includes a cooking demonstration by the Cooperative Extension representatives. In October, they have a fall festival with a marshmallow roast and mushroom day. In November and December, they help churches and schools sell Christmas trees and wreaths and have a Christmas open house. The well-attended mushroom log workshop happens in February. The farm also has “Picnic Saturdays” throughout the summer where people who attend the classes can pre-order picnic baskets and enjoy lunch after the program. All programs and activities are listed on the farm’s website at sandycreekfarm150.com.
Garner said she and her husband are happy to offer these educational opportunities not only to share their knowledge but to also increase awareness of their farm. She said there has been an heightened interest in agricultural processes and food production over the past few years.
“We like having more people discover our farm,” Garner said. “It is important to support agriculture and agricultural education. It is sad that so many children don’t know where food comes from. They just see it in a box, and there is a movement to change that. We want to make it a good time as well as informational, so they will come back again and again.”