A Celebration of Chestnuts

Missouri Chestnut Roast featured activities and presentations related to horticulture, agroforestry

Another Missouri Chestnut Roast is in the books, and guests were treated to a variety of activities and presentations related to horticulture and agroforestry during the event, which took place Saturday, Oct. 5.

The Missouri Chestnut Roast was held at the Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center (HARC), located in New Franklin. The event also celebrated the 200th anniversary of the historic Hickman House. The restored house, on the National Register of Historic Places since 2006, was built in 1819 and serves as a look at early 19th century pioneer living in Missouri.

“This was my first Chestnut Roast experience,” said Sarah Lovell, director of the MU Center for Agroforestry. Lovell joined the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources in mid-August. “It was such a great event that featured so much hard work from all of our staff and volunteers. I hope our attendees enjoyed the festivities as much as I did.”

This year’s event incorporated a new layout for the vendors and demonstrations, allowing guests to browse tents more easily. A main tent hosted numerous presentations and cooking demonstrations. There was food and drinks for guests to sample, as well as multiple products for them to look at and purchase. Self-guided tours of the Hickman House went on throughout the day.

There were also walking and wagon tours, live music and kids’ activities.

“The Chestnut Roast is a great opportunity to learn about HARC and everything we do at the Center,” said Barry Eschenbrenner, farm manager at HARC. “There was definitely something for the entire family, and it was great to see so many families walking through the Center.”

Lovell welcomed attendees to begin the event. Ray Glendening, with the South Howard Historical Society, discussed the history of the Hickman House. Discussions on cooking, agroforestry, hazelnuts, elderberries and native plants all followed.

“We had a great lineup of speakers scheduled, who provided information on a variety of topics,” Eschenbrenner said. “This year was especially exciting with the 200th anniversary of the Hickman House. Having Ray share the history of the house was extremely interesting for our attendees.”

The Whiz Bang Science Show returned with two different shows. Live demonstrations included basket weaving, rug making, flint knapping and making wooden bowls on a lathe.

For a closer look at the Missouri Chestnut Roast at the Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center, visit: flickr.com/photos/cafnr/albums/72157711216489103.