04/19/09 — Festival held at Cherry Farm

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Festival held at Cherry Farm

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on April 19, 2009 2:00 AM

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Mary Maness said she attended the Spring Festival at Cherry Farm on Saturday to see what local growers offer. "I like the organic aspect of it. It's how I want to feed my children," Mrs. Maness said of the event sponsored by the Center for Environmental Farming Systems.

Hundreds of people came out Saturday morning to get a taste of local agriculture at the Spring Farm Festival held at Cherry Research Farm.

It was a time to celebrate self-sustainable farming and agricultural research.

From farm equipment to animals and ice cream to face painting, there was an activity for everyone in the family.

Macie Mooring, 16, spent several hours at the festival.

Her stepfather works at the research farm, and she said her family came out to enjoy the festival and the sunny day. But her favorite part, she admits, wasn't the animals, although she said she came to see the goats like the ones her family raises.

Her favorite part, she said, was the ice cream.

And although she hadn't had any at that point, she was on her way to get some.

"People say that it's good," she said.

Her friend, Kristina Davis, 17, said she was ready to get some ice cream, too, but her favorite part wasn't the food.

It was the bus tour, where festival attendees were able to visit the farm's organic, beef, dairy and swine units.

"I loved that trolley ride," she said.

Ruth Kemp, longtime volunteer with the research farm, and Nancy Creamer, director of the CEFS, wanted the festival to be a day where adults and children alike could learn about farming, animals and even how to start their own garden.

"We want people to know how to grow their own food," Ms. Creamer said. "And we want to teach them to buy locally."

At the festival, there were even transplants of certain produce available in portable cartons for people to take home and plant, Ms. Kemp said.

"That way they can carry home their own little bit of a garden," she said.

Ethan Gaskins, 10, is ready.

"I'm going to make a garden at home," he said.

And when Ms. Kemp asked him what he would grow in the garden, a smile came across his face as he shouted, "Watermelons!"

Ethan said he enjoyed more than just learning about crops. He also enjoyed learning about the animals.

"I liked the piggies," he said. "And the cows, too."

Members of the Eastern Carolina Vintage Farm Equipment Club were hoping their vintage tractors that were lined up at the festival would spark some interest, too, and they did.

"We brought them out because, after working on them during the week, we wanted somebody to look at them on the weekend," club vice-president George Smith Jr. said.

Treasurer Gloria Lassiter said that she and secretary Kay Hollowell "love for children to see how things used to be," she said.

About a dozen N.C. State students were among those volunteering to show visitors around. The students come up with all of the educational activities aimed toward children, she said, and then they follow through with getting those activities ready for the festival.

The event, sponsored by the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, was the first held in the spring. Previous festivals were held in the fall.

"But we changed it to the spring because we wanted people to be able to take some fresh local produce home with them," Ms. Creamer said.