10/04/07 — Exhibits offer look at growers' produce

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Exhibits offer look at growers' produce

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on October 4, 2007 2:01 PM

The strong aroma of tobacco leaves fills the exhibit area. A huge watermelon catches a visitor's eye first thing. All around are colorful fruits and vegetables.

It's part of the agricultural display at this year's county fair.

One of the show directors, Jessica Hyatt, said that although entries were a little bit lower this year -- probably due to the dry weather -- there was still a variety of items.

"We had a lot of sweet potatoes, a few tomatoes and some okra," she said. "Then there were some apples, but mostly grapes. And we had pecans and walnuts."

One entry that caught her eye this year, she said, was a really large watermelon, which looks big enough to feed a few families.

Although he did not have the biggest watermelon there, 67-year-old Sebron Sasser did enter one of his watermelons this year and won third place.

The part-time farmer has entered his fruits, vegetables and other crops in the fair for 20 years. Although he started entering items in the fair for the thrill of the competition, he said he doesn't do it just for the awards.

"They have to have exhibits for the kids to see what the different items look like," Sasser said. "Then they can some grasp of where their food comes from. A lot of grown folks don't even know where their food comes from."

But Sasser admits that it is good to see an award on one of his entries. "I put a lot of effort into farming," he said.

This year his entries included cabbage, walnuts, tomatoes, pecans, shelled soybeans and soybeans on the stalk, wheat, ears of corn, shelled corn and watermelon. He took several first-place awards, two seconds and two thirds.

Sasser has a 25-acre farm in Sampson County. He farmed with his father and grandfather.

These days he has a contract to grow soybean. He uses the corn he grows on his farm to feed his animals.

And he grows fruits and vegetables in his garden for him and his wife. "It gives me a good feeling growing things in the ground," he said.

He also likes to see what others are growing, and that's why he visits the agricultural exhibit at the fair every year.

"It didn't look like there's as many crops here this year as in past years," he said. "Probably due to the dry weather."