University of Maryland Extension

Extension Hosts 25th Annual Lower Shore Farm Tour

University of Maryland Extension hosts the 25th annual Lower Shore Wicomico County Farm Tour on Beechnut Farms in Mardela Springs.
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(The following article was written by Lauren Holloway from WBOC TV)

MARDELA SPRINGS, Md.- University of Maryland Extension-Lower Shore held their 25th annual Lower Shore Wicomico County Farm Tour on Beechnut Farms in Mardela Springs.

For the past 25 years, Beechnut Farms has opened up their land to partner with University of Maryland Extension-Lower Shore. This event is part of the 4H Club.

During the three days this event is held, the farm hosts more than 3,000 children coming from all across the shore including students in pre-k through kindergarten and first grade. These students come from Talbot, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester County.

During these three days, the goal of the event is for the children to learn where their food is coming from.

Karen Reddersen is the Area Extension Director with the University of Maryland Extension and has worked with farm owners throughout the process.

"We teach the children about agriculture education, where their food comes from, we show them the workings of a farm, how a farm operates," Reddersen said. "They learn how cows are milked, they get to hold baby peeps and baby goats and they learn about bees and pollination."

Reddersen says this event is extremely important because some of the children that come to visit the farm may not understand where the food comes from.

"They understand the cereal box or the milk carton but they don't understand that the milk actually comes from cows or the importance of food security," Redderson said. "They may not realize the importance of taking the food from the farm to the table and how that works."

One station the students were excited about was the pizza garden station that teaches them where the ingredients come from and shows the different plants and greens. The students were also able to see a milking station and how a cow is actually milked, as well as a soil station teaching them the importance of what is underneath the soil.

Lastly, the students held baby chicks, goats, rabbits and pigs and enjoyed a puppet show about bees and pollination.

Event organizers say teaching these children gives them a better understanding and appreciation of the earth that they live on, where the food comes from and the importance of taking care of the earth.

Blan Harcum Sr., who owns the farm with Blan Harcum Jr., says he really enjoys the students coming and believes it has a lot of educational value.

Redderson says many parents chaperoning the trip, attended the trip when they were children.

"This started as a small project that has just grown and grown and grown," Redderson said.

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