Farm Day features four locations
This Saturday marks the 14th year for the annual Jefferson County Farm Day. The event, a self-guided tour of featured farms in Jefferson County, is a free event highlighting agricultural resources in the county.
The event serves as an educational tool to help promote knowledge of farms, farmers and farmland. Farm Day is sponsored by the Jefferson County Farm Bureau, the Eastern Panhandle Conservation District and the WVU Jefferson County Extension Service.
This year’s featured farms include the WVU Kearneysville Tree Fruit and Research Center located at 67 Apple Harvest Lane in Kearneysville. The center was established in 1930 by West Virginia University with a mission to serve the commercial tree fruit industry through research and Extension education programs. Approximately 95 percent of the state’s fruit tree industry is in the Eastern Panhandle.
Comprised of 130 acres, the center features mixed tree fruit plantings, specialty crops, corn rotation, a modern laboratory and classroom plus a new high tunnel. Tour-goers will be able to observe high tunnel operations and gardening demonstrations along with driving through the orchards.
Tangy Produce, located at 239 Gardners Lane, Shenandoah Junction, features an aquaponic green house that produces leafy greens, several varieties of lettuces and herbs plus Tilapia. Owner Brian Tanguay uses no pesticides or chemicals. Rather, his loop system grows fish that produce waste that grows plants. Produce from Tangy is available at the Charlss Town Farmer’s Market as well as Black Dog Coffee. It can also be purchased the day of the tour.
James and Frances Blue, along with five of their seven children, Jimmy, Richard, John, Mike and Weasie, operate the James T. Blue & Sons Farm located at 3354 Flowing Springs Road in Shenandoah Junction. The dairy farm features a double 12 parallel milking parlor (milking at 4 p.m.) which sees over150 Holstein cows twice a day. Corn, wheat, barley, rye, alfalfa and grass hay are raised on the surrounding 900 acres of farmland. Silos, corn cribs, plus cow, heaier and calf barns complete the farmstead which is devoted totally to milk production.
Rounding out the 2015 Farm Day tour is the Ranson Old Town Community Gardens located at 400 West Third Avenue in Ranson. These gardens demonstrate many creative methods for urban agriculture. Volunteers maintain the gardens, harvest crops for their personal consumption and donate the remaining harvest to the Jefferson Community Ministries food pantry. Visitors on the tour can expect to see innovative uses of raised beds and straw bed gardens that produce significant garden crops in the heart of old town Ranson.
Hours of the tour are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors are asked to respect those public hours. For more information on the tour, contact Jane Tabb at 304-725-4325 for visit Jefferson County Farm Day on Facebook.