Tom Harbin Ag Center Benefit raises over 2 grand

Crenshaw County Extension, in conjunction with Ag Center Board Members, held a successful “Farmers and Friends” fundraiser for the Tom Harbin Ag Center on Saturday, May 14. Approximately 250 people attended and more than $2,000 was raised to help with building maintenance, updates and repairs. Plans are in the works for an even bigger and better Farmers and Friends event next year.

Amanda Evans, county extension coordinator, said that the ag center is a vital part of the community.

“The Tom Harbin Ag Center and the Emmett Strickland Pavilion (and the arena) are all important to our community. These facilities provide local vendors shelter from the elements during the summer months as they sell their local produce and items at the Farmer’s Market and the market brings the community together. Last year, I watched the community come out and not only support the local vendors, but fellowship with one another. These facilities are important to the community and everyone in Crenshaw County and surrounding counties can benefit from this facility and utilize it in some way. It is already a wonderful place to host events that are important to the community. With some updates, it could be an awesome place. Donations are still being accepted and we hope to make this a yearly event prior to the farmer market startup,” Evans said.

The Tom Harbin Ag Center serves as a voting location, it is home of the annual Crenshaw County Rodeo (fundraiser for volunteer fire departments), hosts the biannual Belt Buckle Classic, annual Cattlemen’s Association meeting, Crenshaw County TREASURE Forest programs, Crenshaw Forestry Committee events, Farm City tour for kindergarteners, Farm Safety program for sixth graders, Groundwater Festival for fourth graders, numerous Extension and 4-H programs for the whole community throughout the year, including the Farmers Market, and more.

Big Bean Farmstead, owned by Graig and Danielle Williamson of Luverne, had items grown on their farm for sale at the Farmers and Friends event. They also brought along a turkey and baby pig. Big Bean Farms is home to pigs, rabbits, 17 turkeys, 30 laying hens, and 30 meat birds. They will be at the Farmers Market, starting June 6, with tomatoes, squash, green beans, purple hull peas, peppers, watermelons, and other items.

Betty Rivers Sloan, with Rivers Courtyard Baking, had some of her confectionery items for sale including sour cream pound cake, tea cakes, wedding cookies, fudge, and ooey gooey bars. Rivers Courtyard Baking will also be present at the upcoming Farmers Market.

Allyson Andrews, owner of Wildly Blessed and a third-generation beekeeper, brought her beekeeping wares from Eclectic to sell. She had for sale local honey (including her pepper infused, and creamed orange blossom versions) along with other products made from honey harvested at her beekeeping operations located in Alabama and Florida. Items included lip balm, hand cream, hand lotion, soap, muscle rub, anti-itch bug bite salve, bug repellent, and more.

Julia Courtney, owner of Papa’s Place in Brantley, had for sale fresh produce, ferns, hanging baskets, and potted plants. Papa’s place offers fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables, baked pies and cakes, hand dipped ice cream, boiled peanuts, boutique clothing and jewelry, door hangers, and more.

Bassett Family Farms, located on Quail Tower Road, brought a few animals from their petting zoo. Animals available for petting were sheep, goats, and horses. Greg and Faith Bassett, owners of Bassett Family Farms, plan to have their venue open to the public by labor day. The site will be home to an educational center and petting zoo. There will be obstacle courses, play grounds, picnic areas, areas for birthday parties, exhibits, among other attractions.

Dolly Williams, administrative coordinator for Alabama Wildlife Federation’s Alabama Nature Center, and Holly Terry, director of school programs, had in their booth a baby box turtle and an eastern hog nose snake. The ladies attend events like Farmers and Friends to educate people on Alabama’s outdoors and the state’s rich natural history and biodiversity. The Alabama Nature Center, located in Millbrook, is a planned-use outdoor education facility that offers hiking, hands-on, outdoor-based educational programs and activities for students, educators, church and civic groups and the general public. They host camps, birthday parties, school programs, and other events.

Lisa Wood, agent with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), handed out informational pamphlets and freebies. SNAP provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of needy families so they can purchase healthy food and move towards self-sufficiency.

Steve Perdue, and Owen Andrews with the Alabama Forestry Commission, provided education and pamplets about the value of our forests and how to carry out responsible land and forest management. Free items for kids were given out.

Winners of the pet costume contest, emceed by Tom Perdue and his granddaughter Kelsey Morgan, were:

People’s choice:
Shepy, owned by Layken Sanders

0 to 10 pound category:
third runner up- Lily, owned by Stephanie Holland, second place- Pixie, owned by Mary Stinson, first place winner-Roxie, owned by Beth Brown

11 to 20 pound category:
First place winner-Sheppey

20 pounds plus category:
2nd place-Darla owned by Harper Burgans, first place winner-Estelle owned by Tara Beasley.

Farm Animal Category
second runner-up Flossy the rabbit owned by Harper Burgans, first place winner-Blane the chicken owned by Harper Burgans

3rd runner-up Flopsy, 2nd runner up-Lilly. Photogenic winner-Darla