Cold temperatures and wind did not keep Kosciusko County residents away from the Taste of Ag event held on Tuesday, April 15, 2014, at the county fairgrounds. The Kosciusko County Ag Awareness Committee puts on the annual event with the help of local sponsors and volunteers. “Our goal tonight is to educate our community about agriculture and say, ‘Thank you!'” said Kelly Heckaman, Purdue Extension Educator and one of the planners of the event. Taste of Ag included samples from local companies and farms (including duck bacon from Maple Leaf Farms and veal), a chili cook off, a coloring contest for the kids, agriculture olympics for the kids, and several other events. “We try to grow the event every year and highlight agriculture in Kosciusko County,” Heckaman said.
In addition to the evening community event, approximately 1,100 local students in the fourth grade participated in educational field trips on the days surrounding Taste of Ag. “We want to give the students in particular a little snapshot of what it takes to provide the food and fibers in their lives,” said Janelle Deatsman, Communication Manager at Maple Leaf Farms and member of the Kosciusko County Ag Awareness Committee. She explained, while students may never eat duck meat (the main product of Maple Leaf Farms), they may wear a coat filled with down from the feathers of the ducks at their company. The educational events help students make these connections.
While the cold temperatures caused fewer people to show up at this event than last year, Heckaman expected 700–900 people to show up to Taste of Ag. For more information about the event, visit https://extension.purdue.edu/Kosciusko/Pages/default.aspx