SPRINGVILLE What? Milk doesn't come from a carton?
Hundreds of second-graders in Utah County converged on Harward Farms for Farm Field Days in Springville this week to learn more about where their food and other products really come from.
With today's escalating food prices, and emphasis on corn being used to develop biofuels, it's even more important for people to understand how their food is produced, said Dean Miner, Utah County director for the Utah State University Extension.
"Even though this may be the kids' first introduction, you've got to start somewhere," Miner said.
The biannual event is sponsored by Utah County Farm Bureau and USU Extension. About 2,800 children visited the farm during the four-day event.
Each group of students saw a sheep getting sheared which some thought was a little bit scary.
"I don't think it likes being shedded," said Samantha Walker, 7, a student at Suncrest Elementary School in Orem. Her eyes were huge as the sheep squirmed and baaed loudly.
Older students in the Future Farmers of America program served as some of the volunteers for Farm Field Days. Chelsea Brinkerhoff, 17, a senior at Springville High School, brought her sheep, Grettel, to be sheared.
"It looks freaky," said Kevin West, 8, a student at Suncrest Elementary, upon seeing the shorn sheep.
"It will take a long time for the hair to grow back," Brinkerhoff said.
Students went through 14 stations in under two hours during the event, learning everything from farm safety to all about chickens and eggs.
The kids even got to chat with a talking tomato, which is a fruit, or a vegetable, depending on which event volunteer you talk to.
Terry the Talking Tomato won the tikes over. A foot in diameter, the large, soft, red tomato opened her big mouth to show off a green leaf tongue. She talked with the students about what nutrients tomatoes need in order to grow, and what foods come from tomatoes.
"Who likes tomatoes?" Terry asked the kids.
Only half of the group raised their hands. Some wrinkled their noses. Terry asked one boy if he liked pizza. He said yes.
"Well, guess what, you are eating tomatoes," she said.
Terry the Tomato is actually Kathryn Brown, of West Jordan, a horticulturist who volunteered to help with the event. Brown was hidden with a microphone in her car 20 feet away, making the puppet move via remote control.
"It's a fruit," Brown said, in an interview during a break from playing Terry the Tomato.Event volunteer Sheila Haggen, of Pleasant Grove, disagrees. "Does it grow on a tree? No. It's a vegetable."