Rockville Ag-Ed. students peddle wares at SAEP Fair
By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon - posted Fri., Feb. 14, 2014
Rockville High School’s Regional Agricultural Education Department decided to change up its annual Supervised Agriculture Education Program. Instead of each student presenting a project, only those who had wares to sell set up shop in the auditorium lobby.
Senior Dan Dzen had jars of popcorn that was grown on his family’s South Windsor farm. “A lot of people are interested in knowing where their food comes from,” Dzen said. “The big push now is that everyone wants to be informed, and my goal is to sell to people who want a local product they know about.”
Dzen said his corn is conventionally-grown, but if customers demanded organic, he would accommodate. “People vote with their dollar,” he said. “If they want organic from me, that’s what I’ll grow.”
Senior Grace Lughinbuhl had framed photos for sale – many of them of agricultural or nature scenes. “That’s what I like to take pictures of,” she said, adding that she has taken some of them in the school’s Agricultural Center.
Junior Nicole Bilodeau raises Angora rabbits, and was selling tote bags and cell phone covers that she embroidered using rabbit wool.
“I hand-make the bags, and then make little designs on the bags using Angora wool,” she said, adding that she can also custom-make the designs on the spot or by order.
Junior Katy Davis created several varieties of organic soap, using goat's milk from three of the four goats she cares for. She said the goat milk soap moisturizes skin better than other soaps, negating the need to apply lotion afterward.
“The main ones I usually make are spearmint, lavender and honey/oatmeal,” she said. “The spearmint is more of a guy kind of scent. The rest I have are for girls.”
Sophomore Ruthie Hay harvests wool from sheep that she spends a lot of time taking care of. “I feed them, sheer them and show them,” she said, adding that the packages of wool she sells have different qualities for different uses. “Some are softer and some are coarser. Some are better for felting, and some are better for spinning.”
The event also included the annual cake and pie auction, and auctioneer Steve Brennan did the honors, as many of the nearly 40 desserts went for up to $50.
Twenty-five of the program’s newer members received their Greenhand Degrees for completing their first set of tasks of their FFA careers, including the formulation of a plan for their own SAEP project. The new FFA members received pins and certificates.
For more information, visit the Agricultural Education page at www.vernonpublicschools.org.