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Chestnut Roast

Chestnut Roast

10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Oct. 18

Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center, New Franklin, Mo.

Ready for a taste of autumn chestnuts?

Roasting chestnuts

Celebrating fall harvest season has never been more fun.  Missouri's agricultural specialty products will be front and center at the sixth annual Missouri Chestnut Roast, to be held Saturday, Oct. 18, at the University of Missouri Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center in New Franklin, Mo.

The roast, sponsored by the MU Center for Agroforestry and the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, features fall family fun, with chestnuts as the main ingredient.

Activities include samples of fire-roasted, Missouri-grown chestnuts, live bluegrass and Caribbean/Spanish guitar music, displays and sales of Missouri specialty agricultural products, farm tours and cooking demonstrations.

The Center for Agroforestry supports the nation's most comprehensive research program for developing the Chinese chestnut as a nut crop to bring the chestnut back to the nation's dinner (and dessert) plates. Mike Gold, UMCA associate director, explains that the American chestnut was almost wiped out in the early 20th century due to blight.

Activities begin at 10 a.m. and continue until 4 p.m. The Ironweed Bluegrass Band and Eco Gitano, a blend of Caribbean and Spanish guitar, will provide musical entertainment throughout the morning and into the afternoon, and the New Franklin High School Athletic Booster Club will operate a concessions stand offering grilled elk, buffalo and beef products for sale.

Craig Cyr, executive chef of The Wine Cellar and Bistro in Columbia, and Eric Cartwright, executive chef at MU Campus Dining Services-Plaza 900, will again prepare recipes that incorporate chestnuts and local foods during cooking demonstrations. 

Locally grown agricultural specialty products

Pecans

In addition to samples of the event's namesake, vendors will feature a variety of locally grown agricultural specialty products including pecan and walnut products, wines and specialty beers, ice cream, mustard, goat cheeses, tomato products, meat products, and elderberry products.

"Many vendors will have free samples and products for sale, so be sure to bring a few extra dollars with you so that you can take home your favorites," said Julie Rhoads, event coordinator.

The Missouri Chestnut Roast is a kid-friendly event. Children will have plenty to keep them busy, including a live bat presentation by the U.S. Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station, at 12:45 p.m.; Missouri Chestnut Roast Fact Hunt; and a straw bale maze.

"Attendees will enjoy hearing the sounds of Eco Gitano, a local Caribbean fusion band, and learning more about Missouri Life magazine," she said. "There are always many new vendors of wonderful Missouri agricultural products. This year, new vendors include those showcasing home-style salsa, gourmet honey mustard, Missouri wines, organic chestnuts and elderberry plants."

The Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center is also the site of the 1819 Thomas Hickman house, one of the state's oldest intact brick houses, and currently undergoing an historic rehabilitation. Tours will be available.

Guided bus and walking tours of the research center also will be offered for those interested in learning more about agroforestry practices. 

Admission to the Missouri Chestnut Roast is free. For directions and a schedule of the day's events, go to centerforagroforestry.org, or contact Julie Rhoads, 573-882-3234 or rhoadsj@missouri.edu.

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