Chestnuts roasting on an open fire… Jack Frost isn’t nipping at our noses yet, but the opening line of Nat King Cole’s “Christmas Song” describes one of the highlights of the ninth annual Missouri Chestnut Roast, hosted by the University of Missouri’s Center for Agroforestry.
Beyond the surface, the Missouri Chestnut Roast is a showcase of Missouri agroforestry and an opportunity to prepare for the upcoming holiday season. Caroline Todd, business specialist at the Center for Agroforestry, says the ultimate goal of the Missouri Chestnut Roast is simple – “we want people to spend a day at the farm and learn more about chestnuts, and how big the state’s agroforestry industry is.”
The event will be held Saturday, Oct. 17, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the MU Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center (HARC) in New Franklin, Missouri. The HARC, according to the research center’s website, uses several hundred acres for experimental fruit and nut orchards, forest farming and flood tolerance trials. During the Missouri Chestnut Roast, guests will have the opportunity to explore the HARC and historic Hickman House via bus or self-guided tours. Besides educational tours of the facility, the event has activities planned for everyone, including speakers, vendors and live music.
The day begins with a presentation from Raptor Rehabilitation Project volunteer Abby Rainwater at 10 a.m. and an 11 a.m. demonstration from MU Campus Dining about preparing chestnuts. At noon, Wood Hat Spirits owner, Gary Hinegardner, will discuss with guests his unique, value-added Missouri forest products, including black walnut liqueur. Mike Gold, Center for Agroforestry faculty, will present a lecture entitled “Chestnuts A to Z” at 1 p.m.
Live music from the Ghost River Revue Band plays from 2 to 4 p.m., and vendors will provide handmade products and interactive activities throughout the event.
Todd also notes that people associate chestnuts with the holidays and hopes that the Missouri Chestnut Roast will provide guests an opportunity to celebrate the upcoming holiday season and learn more about Missouri Agroforestry.
More information about the ninth annual Missouri Chestnut Roast can be found on The Center for Agroforestry Facebook page, and guests can follow updates on the event by visiting the Missouri Chestnut Roast’s event page.