Farm, Home and Wildlife Expo is Saturday

Published 3:57 pm Monday, July 28, 2014

The smell of freshly cut cedar wood, the taste of homemade fruit ice cream and views of colorful flowers and plants will be free for the taking at the 2014 Farm, Home and Wildlife Expo on Saturday.

The annual event will be held from noon–5 p.m. at the Chilton Research and Extension Center, located at 120 County Road 756 in Clanton.

“It’s a family-oriented program,” CREC Director Jim Pitts said. “It’s more or less an open house. We’re just trying to make people aware of where we are and show what we do. Hopefully, they’re going to learn some things here because it’s pretty much an educational day.”

The event, which has taken place for about a dozen years, is open to all ages and will be held rain or shine.

This year’s sponsors include Cawaco Resource Conservation and Development Council, Chilton County Farmers Federation, Chilton County Chamber of Commerce (Farm-City Committee) and Chilton Soil and Water Conservation District.

Pitts called Chilton County Master Gardeners “labor contributors” for their planting and maintenance of a garden at the center and help preparing for the expo.

The group will also sell plants at the event.

“They’ve just given hours of labor, from keeping the garden clean to making some of the products we’ll be serving,” Pitts said. “You can’t add it up in money. It’s invaluable service.”

Attendees will have opportunities to view research plots; sample center-raised fruits and vegetables, honey and fruit ice cream; visit educational venues featuring cooking demonstrations of pork, eggs, apples and farm-raised shrimp; learn about backyard poultry, purple martins, non-poisonous snakes and a portable sawmill used to cut lumber; and see new and old tractors and mowers; and see a first-of-the-season youth goat show.

Research plots available for viewing will include grape, kiwifruit, blackberry, Satsuma, peach, Chinese lotus, watermelons, tomatoes, plum, pluot, crepe myrtle, sweet sorghum and oriental persimmon.

“Some folks may take a general farm tour,” Pitts said.

Center-raised fruits and vegetables available for sampling include peaches (30-40 varieties), apples (8-9 varieties), figs (9-10 varieties), pears (six varieties) and watermelon (10 varieties).

Pitts said the Chilton County Beekeepers Association would provide samples of honey from all over the United States.

Attendees can listen to a presentation about snakes and learn how to discern between poisonous and non-poisonous snakes

“Snakes always bring a lot of excitement, whether they’re poisonous or not,” Pitts said. “It’ll be something good to see. We need to be able to identify non-poisonous snakes.”

For the first time, a local FFA chapter will honor a Chilton County farmer with a PowerPoint presentation and continual showing of a video.

The Alabama Forestry Commission and National Weather Service will be present as well.

Pitts said about 1,500 people—local residents and out-of-towners alike—usually attend the expo.

“I hope it’s about the same,” Pitts said of attendance. “I think they need to come and try [the expo] out. They might find some things they didn’t expect.”

For more information about the event, call (205) 646-3610.