published Sunday, November 11th, 2012

Food and fun abound at Crabtree Farms Fall Farm Fair

Chris Conn, left, and Mike Lester play bluegrass music for visitors.
Chris Conn, left, and Mike Lester play bluegrass music for visitors.
Photo by Alyson Wright.

Husband-and-wife duo Staci and Luke Eddins became champions Saturday — egg-tossing champions, that is.

The pair beat out a dozen other competitors at flipping a raw egg back and forth up to about 30 feet apart and claimed the title at the first-ever Crabtree Farms Fall Farm Fair.

"I've never been a champion of anything," Staci Eddins exclaimed. "It's pretty nice."

The duo brought their 4- and 5-year old children to the outdoor festival Saturday and spent a couple hours petting chickens, painting pots and tasting fried pumpkin pie.

"The fried pie was killer," Luke Eddins said.

Besides pumpkin pie, volunteer Jon-Michael Brown also deep-fried pepperoni pizza slices, pickles, popcorn, doughnut holes and sweet potatoes during his two-hour shift at the frying station.

And because Crabtree Farms aims to connect residents with local food providers, the goods were fried in local lard or vegetable oil.

"The lard was rendered from real pig fat this morning," Brown said. "We had a huge vat of it that we heated up."

Crabtree Farms program director Andrea Jaeger said at least 200 people wandered through the farm Saturday.

Guests took hayrides, smashed old pumpkins, drank beer, made crafts, ate food and played games like the greased squash relay.

"We have a lot of things going on," Jaeger said. "But the whole goal is to teach people about food -- growing their own, eating sustainably and supporting local farmers."

Aurelia Ayers, 11, sat down at a picnic table to create a seed mosaic by gluing seeds on to the outline of a butterfly. She said having a tug-of-war was her favorite part of the day.

"Because we won," she said.

Crabtree Farms was founded in 1998 after the 22-acre lot was donated to the city and the farm operators agreed to rent it for $1 a year.

"It's just grown since then," Jaeger said. "Back in 1998 it was a dump here. There were mattresses on the field -- it took two years just to clean it up before we could grow anything on it."

Now the farms support several greenhouses, goats, chickens and fields. The farm's next event is a spatial dynamics workshop that runs from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1.

about Shelly Bradbury...

Shelly Bradbury covers police and crime in Chattanooga and Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She's been with the paper since 2012, working first as an intern and then as a business reporter. She is from Houghton, New York, and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in management. Before moving to Tennessee, Shelly previously interned with The Goshen News, The Sandusky Register and The Mint ...

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