When there is a plethora of agricultural resources within a five mile radius of your school, how can you not take advantage of it? On a recent cold day, a small entourage of students from Washington District Elementary School along with their mentor gifted teachers did just that. After spending school time learning about the various agricultural entities in the Oak Grove area, the students embarked upon a field trip to go to six different locations to be eyewitness to what is taking place right under our noses.
First stop was Cottage Farms Dairy. At first the students were overwhelmed by the smell that greeted them in the milking parlor, but they soon overlooked that as they were given the opportunity to bottle feed the young calves eagerly awaiting their attention. Miss Linda gave them a detailed description about how the cows were milked and taken care of and then owner Allen Hynson took the students on a tour of the farm. The students learned about how he uses cotton seed as one type of feed and then how the fermentation process took place with his silage. Many questions were asked and answered during the tour. The students decided that they were not fans of the raw corn that the cows loved so much. Next stop was Westmoreland Berry Farm. Mr. Gregg explained the strawberry planting process to the students and gave them a glimpse of the budding plants that were currently under cover due to the recent cold snap. The students were also able to visit the orchards where the smudge pots had been tended overnight to ward off the frosty air.
At Ingleside Nursery, Jackie Jones gave the students a demonstration of how propagation occurs under her watchful eye and students witnessed first-hand the potting process in one of the other production areas. Checking out the greenhouses and getting steamed up glasses was quite the highlight. They were quite excited to be given the opportunity to take home plants of their own to tend.
At Ingleside Winery the students learned about the start to finish process that occurs at our local vineyard. Mr. Dave answered quite a few questions about the process of turning grapes into wine. The students later enjoyed their lunch in the Ingleside Plantation Museum area under the watchful eye of several former animal residents of the area. They also enjoyed sampling the butter that they made themselves by shaking cream from the dairy farm all morning long.