Connecting With the Community

More than 3,000 attend Missouri Chestnut Roast at HARC

The Missouri Chestnut Roast celebrated its 10th anniversary with a fun, family-friendly event on Saturday, Oct. 8 at the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources’ Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center in New Franklin.

More than 3,000 attended the event, which included tours of HARC, samples of roasted chestnuts, kids’ activities and educational booths and demonstrations.

“The Missouri Chestnut Roast was outstanding this year,” said Michael Gold, associate director of the University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry. “It was a perfect day, with many interesting and diverse vendors. We had great outdoor activities, including live music. We were really happy with how it turned out.”

There was fun for all during the 10th Missouri Chestnut Roast at the Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center in New Franklin.There was fun for all during the 10th Missouri Chestnut Roast at the Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center in New Franklin.

The Missouri Chestnut Roast is the signature event for the MU Center for Agroforestry. The event returned last year after a four-year hiatus, with more than 1,000 people in attendance. HARC tours provided the opportunity to showcase current research conducted by Center for Agroforestry faculty, along with other researchers from CAFNR.

“This is exactly what we are hoping to achieve,” Gold said. “While the attendees are out having a wonderful day in the Missouri River Hills, they also learn about agroforestry, specialty crops, Missouri natural resources and native plants, and get to taste all of the good foods that come from our farmers. The best way to learn is to have fun.”

There were four speakers during the Missouri Chestnut Roast as well, each with a different focus. Mildred Mattfeldt-Beman, St. Louis University, discussed culinary herbs and medicinal botanicals; John Dodam, University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, talked mules in Missouri; Leo Sharashkin, contributor to American Bee Journal, explained ways to raise wild bees in the Ozarks; and Gold showcased the current chestnut market.

“Good and diverse speakers add an important educational element to the Missouri Chestnut Roast,” Gold said. “People learn in many different ways, and one of those ways is through having great speakers talk about specific topics.”

Along with the speakers, Sougata Bardhan, assistant research professor, hosted his Whiz-Bang Science Show for the second straight year. The show was one of several activities dedicated to kids.

“In addition to showcasing our program at the Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center, the Missouri Chestnut Roast gives us yet another opportunity to connect with the community and our stakeholders,” said Shibu Jose, director of the MU Center for Agroforestry and superintendent of HARC. “It was not simply a field day showcasing research, but a day filled with activities for individuals of all ages. It was enjoyable for the whole family.”

For a closer look at the Missouri Chestnut Roast, visit