Ohio State Fair Now Underway

It’s that time of year again for Ferris wheels, funnel cakes and ag fun at the Ohio State Fair, taking place now through August 4.

The Ohio State Fair is one of the largest state fairs in the U.S. and has celebrated Ohio’s products, its people and their accomplishments for more than 150 years. You can read about a few of the fair’s milestones in a previous blog here

Like most events, the fair has changed with the times, but the one constant is that the fair is an agricultural showplace for Ohio's leading agricultural products and livestock.

Some of this year’s agricultural highlights include:

  • What’s a fair without livestock shows? View the full schedule of here.
  • Ag is Cool interactive education stations – Hands-on stations offer fairgoers the opportunity to milk a cow, learn about food safety, compare their weight to animals and spin wool.
  • Soybean Day, August 3 – Stop by the Cardinal Gate to learn more about how soybean farmers make it a priority to maintain the health of the land, animals and water to provide for future generations

 And what would the Ohio State Fair be without a few fun, quirky things to check out as well?
  • Try the latest and greatest deep-fried food – giant deep-fried gummy bears!
  • Sea lions make their debut this year, performing tricks with their handlers at daily shows.
  • Pig races – Watch three different breeds of speedy pigs race!
  • Daily fireworks at 9:45 p.m.

For more information about the 2013 Ohio State Fair and daily attractions, visit http://www.ohiostatefair.com.

Are you planning to attend the Ohio State Fair this year? If so, what are you looking forward to the most?

Photo obtained from: www.touring-ohio.com

National Blueberry Month

Strawberries have the month of May and blackberries a September day, but July is all about celebrating tiny, but mighty, blueberries.

More than 13,000 years old and indigenous to North America, blueberries were once a dietary staple for many Native Americans, who also used the little blue fruit as a meat preservative and in medicines.

According to the Blueberry Council, the blueberry became domesticated in the early 1900s through the efforts of a farmer’s daughter, Elizabeth White, and Dr. Frederick Coville. In 1916, they produced the first commercial crop of blueberries in Whitesbog, New Jersey.

Today, blueberries are commercially grown in 38 states. While Ohio is among the 38, it is overshadowed by the top-producing states of Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, North Carolina, Georgia and Washington. However, scientists at The Ohio State University are currently researching how to increase blueberry production within the state to help growers capitalize on the increasing popularity of the fruit.

“We want to help Ohio growers increase their acres of blueberries to try to get more on par to what growers in neighboring states, such as Indiana and Michigan, are doing,” said Gary Gao, an Ohio State University Extension specialist and professor in a Farm and Dairy article.

Data from the Blueberry Council shows that North American consumption of blueberries grew from 283 million pounds in 1995 to 853 million pounds in 2011. Much of that growth has been attributed to the health benefits associated to the little berry.

According to the Blueberry Council, blueberries are:

  • Low in fat and calories — A one-cup serving has 80 calories and is nearly fat free
  • High in dietary fiber — A handful of blueberries can help you meet your daily fiber requirement
  • Full of phytonutrients — Blueberries contain polyphenols, a substance that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Packed with vitamin C — One serving delivers nearly 25 percent of the recommended daily intake
  • An excellent source of manganese — This mineral helps bone growth and turns carbs, protein and fat into energy

If you want to celebrate National Blueberry Month, there are blueberry farms throughout the state where you can pick your own. Visit www.pickyourown.org to find a farm near you.

Photo obtained from: www.seasonedfork.com