T here’s more to chew on at the Washington County Fair than fried dough and bloomin’ onions.
The Ag Center Committee of the Washington County Fair is working with the Washington County 4-H Beef Club, Adirondack Grazers Cooperative and Cornell Cooperative Extension to promote local meat producers in a display at the Ag Center.
Local beef, chicken, pork, lamb and chevon (goat meat) are just some of the products the display will be promoting all week.
“Local meat production is a growing trend. With the discussion of issues like pink slime and salmonella, people are more concerned about how their food is being raised,” said Sandy Buxton, farm and agricultural business management educator for Washington County Cornell Cooperative Extension.
A number of local meat producers will have information on their operations: What they feed their animals, how can meat be considered organic, what does it mean for animals to be free range, what are the advantages of grass-fed beef and where can you purchase locally produced meat.
Buxton said there will be informative displays, as well as business cards, and she is hoping to arrange for a few meat producers to discuss, in person, their operations.
“We’re excited to help promote these businesses. There are all sorts of opportunities to get fresh raised meat, locally. It’s kind of a cool time,” Buxton said.
West Granville farmer
Travis Locke is one of the local producers whose information will be available at the display.
A resident of West Granville, Locke and his brothers Ken and Kyle, and his father Keith began Ag. Adventures a year and a half ago on the family’s former dairy farm.
“I’ve been farming my whole life. I grew up on a dairy farm and used to raise cattle when I was younger, but I got out of it for a while and now I’m getting back into it,” he said. “I do it because I enjoy it. It’s more of a hobby than a job. It’s just something I love to do.”
Locke has 30 head of cattle, most of which are angus, the most popular and common breed of beef cattle in the United States.
He sells most of his meat on the farm through word of mouth and to restaurants such as Raul’s Mexican Grill and Bistro Tullulah, both of which are in Glens Falls.
“This is an opportunity to get our name out there and to let people know about local meat,” Locke said.
Besides promoting local meat production, the Ag Center will also feature exhibits and displays on herbs, a cheese giveaway, and information highlighting local dairy farms of distinction.
“They’re always a different flavor. We try to change it up a little bit every year,” said Buxton.
The Washington County Fair was founded on agriculture 122 years ago and the event continues to celebrate and promote that heritage today.
There will be judged livestock shows all week, a milking parlor, gymkhanas, and a whole menagerie of animals in the livestock and poultry barns. There will also be displays of local produce and a giant pumpkin contest.
And many of the farmers will be available to answer questions about their animals and what they do.
“If you have a question, just ask. The farmers love to talk about what they do. They work all year, and for many, this is their vacation,” said Ida Williams, head of marketing for the fair.
The week-long event, which opens on Monday, Aug. 20 and runs through Sunday, Aug. 26, will also feature food vendors, a rodeo, motor sports events, a variety of free entertainment from magic shows and chainsaw carvers to live music, and much more.
Admission to the fair is $10 for adults and free for children 14 and under. A week-long pass will cost $30. Parking is free.
There are special promotions all week, including Senior Day on Wednesday ($5 admission for anyone 62 and older), Children’s Day on Thursday (free admission for anyone ages 18 and younger), and $20 ride wristband days on Tuesday and Sunday.
Gates open at 5 p.m. on Monday and 9 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
For more information, refer to our Washington County Fair Guide inside this week’s edition.