Beyond the grocery store, most young children don't realize where food comes from.
That's why the owners of the Ebbert Farm Market in St. Clairsville continue to provide area children with a very basic lesson in agriculture each year in October during their annual "Agri-Days" program.
While large numbers of area school children take a field trip to the farm market over the next week, the third-generation owners of the farm will educate the youngsters about the basics of farming.
Photo by Scott McCloskey
Pre-kindergarten students with St. Marys Central in St. Clairsville participated in the “Agri-Days” program at the Ebbert Farm Market in St. Clairsville on Tuesday. Searching for the best pumpkins to take home are, from left, Lucca Troullos, Ben Sheilds and Michael Troullos.
"With the younger kids, we want them to understand that their food comes from the farm. It doesn't come from the grocery store, it starts on the farm with the plant or animal, and that's the basic thing that we are trying to get across," said owner Lova Ebbert.
"I try to dispel a few things they may not know. I let them know cows - whether they're brown cows, red cows - they only give white milk ... because most of them don't know that," Ebbert added with a smile.
She said the tour guides stress the importance of farming by pointing out how many of the items the children come in daily contact with originate from a farm.
Following a classroom session that Ebbert refers to as the "Agri-classroom," she gives the children a chance to see a walk-in cooler, large farming equipment and take a tour of the market storefront, complete with a sample of apple cider.
Before they depart, each student gets to pick a small pumpkin from the pumpkin patch.
The Belmont Soil & Water Conservation District is also taking part in the program, teaching the children about area wildlife and how the weather affects farms.
Although area students have been visiting the farm for several decades, it was nearly15 years ago that the Ebberts expanded the program to what is now known as "Agri-Days."
"Our society today is more removed from farm life than our parents' generation and the generation before - and we try to use this program to emphasis to the children the importance of farmers and farms in our everyday life," said owner Jerry Ebbert.
"All of our food comes from farms, and so many of the products that we use originate on a farm, so it's to gain an appreciation for how farming plays a part in our life," he added.
"They really enjoy coming here. ... The topics Mr. and Mrs. Ebbert discuss are things that we talk about at our school. I think it is a huge benefit and a hands-on experience for them," said Tammy Cencula, a pre-kindergarten teacher for St. Mary's Central in St. Clairsville.
For more information on Agri-Days, call the Ebbert Farm Market at 740-695-5619.