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Farm Day: Horses, tractors & melons
Students plant tomatoes in plastic cups that they later took home to transplant. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO
Farm Day 2009 at St. Anthony’s School in Manteca featured plenty of rides for the students and some of their teachers.

The animal rides were courtesy of Heart’s Desire Ranch in Manteca owned by the Cunningham family. Susan Cunningham and her home-schooled children, 16-year-old Kara and 13-year-old Samuel, brought along four miniature horses from their ranch in northeast rural Manteca: Roloff, Jamba, Cali and Zorro. Roloff, which was born a dwarf horse, was named after the Roloff family who are the stars in the popular reality television show, “Little People, Big World.” Susan Cunningham said the Roloff was not bred as a dwarf horse but was born that way. Zorro, the only black among the quartet of horses at the Farm Day festivities, is Sam’s pet.

The students not only enjoyed riding on the back of the larger horses but also had fun petting them.

The other fun ride enjoyed by the older students was provided by local farmer Paul Borbeau and his son Andre. The Borbeaus brought to the school their Landini tractor/front loader to show to the students and to talk to them about how the heavy equipment is used in the farm, as well as to answer any of their questions.

“I didn’t know a tractor could be used for entertainment,” teacher Carolyn Cano said laughing as she got off the front loader.

For the first time, Perry & Sons took part in the annual ag day at the school designed to inform the students about the value of agriculture in their lives and in their community. The Perry & Sons booth was also a big attraction for the students and their teachers and parents alike. As the students enjoyed munching on slices of fresh watermelons, Perry & Sons marketing staffer Marlene Champlain talked about the nutritional values of watermelons and other informational tidbits about the juicy gourd.

Some of the younger students also planted young tomatoes in plastic cups which they were able to take home and transplant.

Farm Day activities were held Friday morning on the school grounds next to the gym. Now in its fifth year, the Farm Day event is coordinated by St. Anthony School teacher Patti Smith with the help of teachers and volunteer parents.