An annual event that began in 1928 drew a large crowd of horticulture enthusiasts to the Southwest Arkansas Research and Extension Center.

An annual event that began in 1928 drew a large crowd of horticulture enthusiasts to the Southwest Arkansas Research and Extension Center.

“We had a very successful day with a lot of enthusiasm,” Dr. Vic Ford, director of the center, said of the recent SWREC Horticulture Field Day.

There were food demonstrations from 12 presenters and four agents assisting, according to Terri James, county chair of the UA Extension Service.

“We had a good showing as far as representatives of the different counties was concerned,” James said. “Our district, which is the Southwest Arkansas District, consists of 25 counties, going from Montgomery to Polk Counties.”

Those counties which were represented included Grant, Bradley, Dallas, Calhoun, Ouachita, Cleveland, Garland, Clark, Pike, Columbia, Lafayette, Nevada, Hempstead, and Pulaski.

District Director of Family and Consumer Sciences Berth Phelps presented a workshop on growing and caring for herbs.

Topics covered included peaches, tomatoes, blackberries, blueberries, mushrooms, ginger, and turmeric. All of these fruits and vegetables were cooked into dishes and attendees were able to taste each one of the dishes after the workshops.

Several fact sheets and a recipe booklet were handed out and additional resources were given to workshop attendees.

“These food demonstrations were also counted as in-service hours for Master Gardeners,” James said.

Attendees were shuttled to various parts of the property to see hands-on, the progress and varieties of fruits and vegetables being grown, grafted, and propagated as part of the many programs that are in progress.

Beth Phelps, of Ouachita County, presented a workshop on “Herbs in the Garden.”

Jessica LeFors, an Adair Scholar from the University of Arkansas, gave a workshop on “Root-Knot Nematode Control in Heirloom Tomatoes by Grafting.”

UA Horticulture Professor Dr, John Clark, University Professor presented a program on “New Muscadine Varieties from the Division of Agriculture.”

Ford spoke about producing shiitake and other mushrooms.

Dr. Nilda Burgos, professor of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences at UA, spoke about blackberry weed management for commercial producers and homeowners.

Dr. Clark for a presentation on “New Peach Varieties,” while Clay Wingfield, program technician for horticulture and Juliet Fultz, graduate student with the Department of Plant Pathology, presented “Monitoring ear worms in sweet corn and southern pea varieties.”

John Gavin, agricultural Extension agent for Bradley County, LeFors, and Dr. Terry Kirkpatrick, plant pathologist at SWREC, all presented a hands-on tomato grafting workshop.

A noon luncheon was served catered by Amigo Juan's Restaurant.

“I think everyone came away with a lot of good information from the program and I think they enjoyed the environment,” James said. “This was a successful program, with more than 50 people attending the cooking demonstrations alone and many more going to the fields. I'm looking forward to next year.”