How to make butter from milk. The secrets of successfully roping a steer. How to transplant tomatoes the right way. Taste-testing George Perry & Sons’ fresh watermelons.
All these and more delighted — and enlightened — students of St. Anthony of Padua as area farmers, dairy owners, and ag-related business owners once again descended on the parochial school campus for the annual Ag Day extravaganza on Friday.
The George Perry & Son’s booth was the place to be for the students to feast on fresh slices of sweet and juicy watermelon. Giving away the scrumptious treats kept Don Potter and Marlene Champlain busy throughout the morning event.
Champlain said Perry & Sons has been a yearly participant at this annual event for many years. The company’s marketing and advertising staff feels very much at home answering the students’ questions and watching them enjoy the healthy, colorful snack. She herself is a big fan of this popular gourd, she confessed.
“I love watermelon. It was the first thing I ever planted,” — when she was just three years old — recalled the Mantecan who has known the Perry family all her life.
In another demonstration table, retired Lathrop-Manteca Fire District Battalion Chief Chester Smith assisted the Heinz Tomatoes representative by helping the young students transplant the young tomato plants into a larger container that they got to bring home to plant. Heinz donates 400 plants a year for Ag Day, Smith explained.
He was not the only family member who was there as a volunteer. His wife, Pam, was volunteering as well. Actually, she has been the coordinator of this annual school activity for years until she retired from the school as a teacher two years ago. After that, she came back to continue coordinating Ag Day gratis.
“I love doing this. It’s so much fun,” she stated simply.
In one of the animal booths, dairyman Elliott Nunes brought three young calves from the family Nunes Dairy in Escalon. Assisting him in showing off the friendly Holstein and jersey animals was his daughter, Ashley, who is a seventh grader at St. Anthony’s School.
How green olives are processed into tasty black snacks, and how to make butter from milk at home was other agriculture-related knowledge the students gained from the day’s presentations. Melanie Hunt and Amanda Devlin of Musco Family Olive Co. of Tracy explained how olives are made into delicious black treats, and later gave samples of these to the students. Learning how to turn milk into butter — it involves a lot of shaking — was demonstrated by Ag Day volunteer Lorraine Fierro of Ripon.