Let’s get together to enjoy the fruits of our labor! USDA’s People’s Garden is sponsoring a Harvest Festival on Friday, October 28 from 10 am to 2 pm at USDA Farmers Market, on the northeast lawn of Jamie L. Whitten Building and along 12th Street in-between Jefferson Drive and Independence Avenue, SW. The festival marks the culmination of a very productive growing season for the People’s Garden at USDA Headquarters.
Hear how different crops like sugar, peanuts, mushrooms, honey, chocolate, rice, and organics are grown and harvested from USDA specialists and invited guests. Assist in harvesting sweet potatoes from the garden to be donated to DC Central Kitchen. And, in the spirit of Halloween, treats made and will be given out.
Knowing what’s ready to be picked and how to cook your harvest is important. Watch how tea is made from the bright red calyxes of the ‘Red Thai Roselle’ variety of Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) – a plant admired by countless visitors this summer while growing outside the Whitten building. Find out how honey is harvested from the People’s Garden Apiary and sample the different tastes of honey.
What does your MyPlate look like? Get healthy eating tips from USDA nutritionists to make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Tour the USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone Mobile, fight foodborne bacteria with Fight BAC!, wash hands with Henry the Hand, and learn habits for good hygiene with AceMan. Kid chef Lily Gravitz is creating her version of a lollipop made from fresh, local apples – an inexpensive, simple to prepare, healthy snack that kids will be urging adults to eat.
Be sure to shop at the farmers market for your fresh local fruits and vegetables, tasty baked goods, sweet honey and much more. Enter the free raffle drawing for a basket of goodies donated by the vendors; and guess the weight of a giant pumpkin and the number of corn kernels on a cob for prizes. Stop by the information booth for samples of apple cider and freshly baked goods.
This year’s Harvest Festival would not be complete without traditional merriment, contests and music. Come meet Annie, a 4 month old Nubian doeling goat, Guineafowl chicks and adults, and other animals in the garden. Play harvest games such as pin the face on the pumpkin, squash bowling and a pig toss. Get your face painted and pick a pumpkin to decorate. Enjoy the sounds of Laissez Foure, a swingin’ jazz quartet, playing jazz from the 30’s and 40’s with a good dose of New Orleans.
The festival is outdoors – rain or shine – and free for everyone to attend. Youth and adults are encouraged to wear costumes. Please help us spread the word!