The first two years of success with a pumpkin patch and harvest tours helped us to realize that the need for a "farm experience" is a certainty in this area. Even though there are still highly agricultural portions of the community, census reports indicate that Hopkinsville-Christian County has now been classified as a developing urban area. Thus there are increasingly more children and adults who do not even have the opportunity to visit farms and many are not being taught about agriculture. Many people have admitted to us that their parents or grandparents were farmers, but they have little contact with farming now. When visitors are on our farm in the fall, we were often asked about opportunities to come to the farm during other times of the year. It's one thing to talk about planting a pumpkin and how it grows, but it's another thing for a child or adult to actually see or help in the process. They are interested, but they are searching for a place nearby to go to experience it.We also learned that the traditional methods of farming tobacco, corn and wheat are not highly profitable for the tendable acreage of this farm. Thus we decided it was time for us to take our farm to the "next level." In the spring of 2003, we opened our spring operation to the public with a new theme: "Sowing Seeds for Tomorrow's Harvest." That year we grew our "first" hamburgers and French fries. We portioned off eight 40' X 40' plots in the corner of the pumpkin patch. In those plots we planted, with the help of our visitors, all the basic ingredients for burgers and fries. We dug potatoes, peeled them and cut them into those slender strips for French fries. We rolled heads of wheat in the palms of our hands to extract the seeds and blow away the chaff, to examine the main ingredient in the bun. And then our audience tried to guess why our pickle jar included an apple along with the cucumber, dill and garlic. (It's used to produce the vinegar needed for pickling.) We planted and later picked corn as we talked about the feed needed to raise the animals for meat.Our visitors helped plant or harvest (depending on the time of their visit). They all got to ride the wagon to the barn to feed the animals, usually including a bottle for the baby calf. Before leaving they planted seeds in a peat pot to take home and grow their own pumpkin or sunflower in their backyards.Spring and summer of 2004 we "grew" pizza , 2005 and 2006, we are growing "tacos." Each year, while examining the plants and animals that produced our food items, we tried to teach about the history of that food. The first hamburgers were from the Middle Ages - raw pieces of meat carried underneath the saddle to be eaten in the flattened state when the traveler arrived at his destination. Pizza, we learned, started as flat pieces of dough, often with just olive oil and some spices. The Aztec Indians in Mexico were the first to make tacos, but they used mostly vegetables in the early tacos. The Spanish introduced the animals to provide meat to the Aztecs living in Mexico, so the taco actually is a blend of those two cultures.Fall 2004 also marked the first of our fall events: Harvest Praise. On October 16, we hosted over 700 people who came to ride to the pumpkin patch, pick pumpkins, and feed the animals. While here they had the opportunity to eat grilled chicken or pork chops, or cook their own hotdog over the fire with the local Boy Scouts. In addition to the smoke from the fire, the air was also filled with the sounds coming from various local Christian music and drama groups. It was definitely a fun family day on the farm.On October 15, 2005, the second annual Harvest Praise was another fun day with several hundred people visiting on a beautiful fall day. This year the music was by The Wilsons, CityKids, and Bruce and Robin Kennedy. A special prayer tribute was written by Betsi Smith and read on this day to honor our military families.In the fall of 2005, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture approved funding for Christian Way Farm from the Agricultural Development funds. This means that during 2006, construction will be underway for a restroom building, expanded sheds on the tour barn and remodeling of the barn for a "Farm Creations Store." Other plans are in the works, so just keep checking the website to see what's next!
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