A Signature Event

After a four-year hiatus, the Missouri Chestnut Roast returned to the University of Missouri Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center last year, with more than 1,000 people attending the event.

The 10th Missouri Chestnut Roast will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8 at the Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center in New Franklin, Mo. Photo by Logan Jackson.The 10th Missouri Chestnut Roast will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8 at the Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center in New Franklin, Mo. Photo by Logan Jackson.

The Missouri Chestnut Roast is the MU Center for Agroforestry’s signature event – and it will return for its 10th anniversary in October.

The event will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8, at HARC, located in New Franklin, Mo. HARC is one of MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Agricultural Research Centers.

“We have a number of Research Centers doing great research on agroforestry, however, HARC is really the hub of that research,” said Michael Gold, associate director of the MU Center for Agroforestry. “Everything that we are developing and promoting is shared with attendees of the Missouri Chestnut Roast.”

The Missouri Chestnut Roast began in 2003 and ran until 2010. Budget cuts forced the Center for Agroforestry to step back from the event for a few years before reviving it last year.

This year’s event is free and open to the public. Not only will attendees be able to see what research HARC is conducting, they can also take part in several activities targeted to individuals of all ages. There will be farm tours and walking tours, as well as tours of the historic Hickman House. Educational booths and demonstrations will be spread throughout the event. Live music will be provided by Apostle’s Creek Band.

“There’s really something for everybody,” Gold said. “Farmers can learn about profitable alternative specialty crops, adults can shop and taste a little wine or beer. Kids can play around in the straw bale maze.”

Kids can take part in a scavenger hunt, too. The Whiz-Bang Science Show will return as well, led by Sougata Bardhan, an assistant research professor in the School of Natural Resources.

“The best way to learn is to have fun,” Gold said. “That’s the way kids learn. We’re happy to have several activities directed toward kids.”

The Missouri Chestnut Roast will have activities for attendees of all ages, including Sougata Bardhan's Whiz-Bang Science Show. Photo by Logan Jackson.The Missouri Chestnut Roast will have activities for attendees of all ages, including Sougata Bardhan’s Whiz-Bang Science Show. Photo by Logan Jackson.

Chestnuts will, of course, be a focal point of the event. Chestnuts will be roasting throughout the day to go along with chestnut vendors and other cooking demonstrations. Chestnut and other native trees will be available for purchase, too.

The Missouri Chestnut Roast will feature four speakers. Mildred Mattfeldt-Beman, St. Louis University, will talk about growing culinary herbs and medicinal botanicals at 10 a.m. John Dodam, University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, will speak at 11 a.m. about the history of mules in Missouri. Leo Sharashkin will talk everything beekeeping at noon. Sharashkin is a contributor to the American Bee Journal and an editor of the best-selling book, Keeping Bees With a Smile.

Gold will cap the presentations at 1 p.m. with a discussion on the current chestnut market.

“Our presentations will be on new topics this year,” Gold said. “We’ll be able to bring a lot of new information to the attendees.”

More than 20 additional vendors will be present with an array of unique local products.

Pets are not allowed at the event, except for service animals.

The Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center is located at 10 Research Center Road in New Franklin, Mo. For more information about the Missouri Chestnut Roast, call (573) 884-2874 or email Caroline Todd at toddcs@missouri.edu. For more information about HARC, visit harc.cafnr.org.