‘Zenger Farm Day’ entertains and educates

For folks who haven’t seen the farm in recently, discover why they had so much fun as they learned more about East Portland’s unique urban “teaching farm” …

At their “Farm Day”, one can hardly see the Zenger Farm house – that’s where they teach many of their classes – behind the tall crops growing in the front yard.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Harvesting honey, visiting chickens, learning about egg production – and farming – were all topics of interest on display, when Zenger Farm hosted its annual “Farm Day” on September 10.

The nonprofit organization, located on SE Foster Road in the Lents Neighborhood, is a working farm that specializes in teaching young people about local food production.

A cheerful Sara Cogan, farm manager and Jill Kuehler, the farm’s director, offer fresh produce grown at Zenger Farm.

“You might call this our ‘Harvest Festival’,” said the farm’s director, Jill Kuehler, as she welcomed us to the event.

“We wanted to have an ‘open farm day’ when people could come out and learn about what’s going on, and maybe get involved,” Kuehler explained. “At the same time, they can learn a little more about where good fresh local food comes from.”

Beekeeping group volunteer Trent Retallack learns how to uncap honeycomb cells, prior to honey extraction, from program coordinator Laura Dalton.

Visitors watch as farm’s “beekeeping group” spin combs in a centrifuge to extract the honey.

Beside their farm stand, Kuehler pointed out the fresh vegetables and honey for sale. “We’ll also have ready-to-eat food for visitors. It’s just a great big fun party at the farm today!”

This event fit the mission of the farm, Kuehler explained, “Because we’re all about education. That is, teaching kids and adults about where food comes from, and about environmental stewardship. This is a good chance for families to come out and get involved, get a little dirty, and to experience the wonderful harvest time.”

Laura Monahan, with her kids Isaiah and Liam, decide if they’ll take a self-guided tour of the farm or just go play at some of the exhibits.

Zenger Farm volunteer Paige Merritt (far right) leads a tour of the farm.

Folks are invited out to the farm to participate in a wide variety of classes and workshops, she said. “You can learn how to grow vegetables, learn about chickens, worms, composting, and also, wholesome food preparation and storage.”

  • The East Portland News Community Calendar lists all of Zenger Farm’s classes: CLICK HERE to open that page.

“By the way, residents of the Powellhurst-Gilbert, Lents, and Pleasant Valley neighborhoods are offered a 15% discount on all workshops,” Kuehler added. “Scholarships are available, too.”

Zenger Farm is located at 11741 SE Foster Road. To learn more, call them at (503) 282-4245 or see their website: CLICK HERE.

Heather Hyland, a member of the East Side Egg Co-op, “talks chicken” with visitors and backyard farmers Eric Riley and Jackie Cherry.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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