By Mia Hall, MUTV-23 News reporter

COLUMBIA- On Saturday, October 3, The University of Missouri’s Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center hosted the Virtual Chestnut Roast. The co-superintendents of the HARC, Sarah Lovell and Barry Eschenbrenner, opened up the event at the 650-acre research center in New Franklin, Mo. HARC and The University of Missouri’s Center for Agroforestry were the sponsors for this event. 

The College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources (CAFNR) Vice Chancellor and Dean, Christopher Daubert, and the director of the Missouri Agricultural Experiment station and Associate Dean of CAFNR’s Office of Research, Shibu Jose, each opened the evening with a minute long welcome video. Next, was a keystone presentation from Curtis Stone. Stone’s presentation included talk about his mission which he described as, “…showing people how they can make a good living, and profitable, on a small acreage and growing particularly high value, quick turnover crops.” It also included information about Stone’s storage crop farm that he has been working on this past year. Following the keystone presentation with Stone was a Q&A with him and Dr. Sarah Lovell.

Next in the Virtual Chestnut Roast was a scavenger hunt led by Ashley Conway. Conway is an assistant research professor for the Center for Agroforestry. Participants will be entered into a drawing, and winners will get prizes.

After the scavenger hunt, there were field day presentations from various people involved in the business of agriculture. The presenters included Mike Gold, Patrick Byers, Alann Helland, Ron Revord, Michael Farrell, Time and Cheryl Vieth, Allen Marracco, Ben Knapp, David Trinklein and Liz Harrizon. In addition to the obvious chestnut content, there were presentations on elderberries, pecans, sugaring operations (specifically the company Sugar Shack), maple syrup and tomatoes.The presentations gave very insightful information on the industries mentioned and helped viewers understand why chestnuts are so important to Missouri. Research professor in the School of Natural Resources, Dr. Michael Gold says, “Chinese chestnuts, in particular, grow well in Mid-Missouri and the Midwest.” Dr. Gold’s presentation continued on to talk about the importance of chestnuts to the state of Missouri.

The Virtual Chestnut Roast concluded with a tour of the Thomas H. Hickman House, which is historic to Missouri. Because it was a virtual event, it will be posted to the Mizzou Agroforestry YouTube channel as well as the HARC website.

Edited by Rachel Henderson

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