Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Places We Go

Yesterday, I had the privilege of touring the Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center (HARC) in New Franklin, Missouri. I attend the Chestnut Roast, but the weather didn’t really permit me to tour the center because of the cold and rainy weather.

So, I schedule a tour with Dr. Michael Gold, Research Assoc. Prof., Natural Resources. Michael took me all over the grounds of the farm and told me about the various projects going on at the center. We saw chestnut, walnut, apple, peach, paw-paw and pecan orchards, plus many more excited research plots.
The Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center (HARC) is a 660-acre farm that includes several experimental fruit and nut orchards; forest farming, riparian buffer and silvopasture demonstrations; forage shade trials; greenhouses; a flood tolerance laboratory; five lakes and ponds and one of Missouri's oldest brick homes, the 1819 Thomas Hickman House.
HARC is one of the University of Missouri's 14 outlying research farms, a network of sites across the state hosting state-of-the-art programs that bring Missouri agricultural land and forest owners new information for reaching maximum income potential and environmental benefits on a variety of land types and ecoregions.
The farm hosts educational events and tours regularly, including the annual Missouri Chestnut Roast. The family-oriented event draws a crowd of more than 4,000 guests each fall to showcase the benefits of agroforestry, including the production of value added products.
UMCA leads the nation in key research areas conducted at the HARC farm:
  • Extensive bioremediation, non-point source pollution and shade and flood tolerance studies.

  • An innovative, outdoor 12-channel flood tolerance research laboratory

  • Projects for producing gourmet, high-value mushrooms, including morel and shiitake

  • The U.S. National Arboretum Midwest Plant Research and Education Test Site

  • Location of one of Missouri's oldest brick homes, the historic 1819 Thomas Hickman House

  • Premier research studies on the development of eastern black walnut, northern pecan and

  • Chinese chestnut into profitable orchard crops
I would highly recommend taking a tour of the center, set among the Missouri River Hills and beautiful lakes and ponds. Call 660-848-2268 and speak with either Nancy Bishop ( or Ray Glendening, Farm Manager ( to schedule a tour.

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