Farm teaches food science and fun

Sheep from the Cal Poly Pomona Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture have moved into the Big Red Barn for a month-long stay at the Los Angeles County Fair. Inside the barn, corrals hold more than sheep and goats with pigs, cows, chickens and bunnies for fairgoers to admire. The fair runs until May 27 at the Fairplex in Pomona. / photo by Sheridan Lambrook
Sheep from the Cal Poly Pomona Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture have moved into the Big Red Barn for a month-long stay at the Los Angeles County Fair. Inside the barn, corrals hold more than sheep and goats with pigs, cows, chickens and bunnies for fairgoers to admire. The fair runs until May 27 at the Fairplex in Pomona. / photo by Sheridan Lambrook

Sarah Van Buskirk
Editorial Director

Cheers at the pigs races, laughs in the petting zoo and educational cow milking demonstrations encapsulate the Farm at the Fairplex during the Los Angeles County Fair. Located at the Fairplex in Pomona, the Fair runs until May 27.

The popular attraction provides more than fun with farm animals. It informs fair-goers about where their food comes from and the science of raising an animal.

Emma Cronshaw and Tyler De Leon from West Hollywood came to the Los Angeles County Fair for the first time after always attending the Orange County Fair and said their favorite part is the Farm.

“Walking through the tours you see the milk demonstrations and where your fruits, vegetables and meat come from, which I think is important,” De Leon said. “If that is what you are going to consume, you should probably be aware of what you are taking in.”

Because of the fast, technological state of the world, society can forget the basic fundamentals of growing food for oneself and farm tours can help rekindle the distance people traveled away from their natural human instincts. 

“In the city where a lot of us live, agriculture is a lost and dying industry so it’s important to educate the community on where everything comes from,” Cronshaw said. 

Bill Holland, a volunteer farmer at the Fairplex, educates Los Angeles County Fair visitors about the Exotic Garden. Fairgoers taste tested some of the unique and hard-to-find fruits the Farm at the Fairplex grows year-round. / photo by Sheridan Lambrook
Bill Holland, a volunteer farmer at the Fairplex, educates Los Angeles County Fair visitors about the Exotic Garden. Fairgoers taste tested some of the unique and hard-to-find fruits the Farm at the Fairplex grows year-round. / photo by Sheridan Lambrook

The Budweiser Clydesdales line the entrance leading up to the Farm and once the sounds of the Rockabilly bands get louder, an herb garden with over 40 beds bloom with a variety of mint and oregano strains to greet fair-goers. 

Unique flavors of mint such as chocolate, lavender and pink candy pop intrigued those rubbing the leaves together to capture the essence of the herb. 

Anne Macintosh, a tenured volunteer at the fair taught about propagating herbs and encouraged people to take home as many of the herbs they wanted.

“After the fairground discontinued the horse racing about 10 years ago, they had all of this property and never a vegetable garden, only the animals at the farm,” Macintosh said. “Don DeLano, a farmer that worked here for a number of years now retired, helped establish this. They thought it would be a great place to put a bunch of unusual plants.”

The farm has hydroponic and aquaponic displays with a koi fish pond to demonstrate the renewable water cycle used to water the crops at the Farm. 

People shuffle through the chicken coupe like cattle loading onto a truck to see the three chicken species: La Fleche, Polish and Ayam Cemani. Through Julie’s Bunny Patch led people to the Farm where Purple Passion asparagus, Bright Lights swiss chard and Hot and Spicy oregano grew. Several other beds grew a variety of seasonal vegetables and wildflowers as Cabbage White butterflies flutter above the plants.

The Farm at the Los Angeles County Fair provides a full educational experience of ranch animals, gardening, beekeeping and soil restoration for fairgoers to acknowledge the importance of agriculture and livestock. Buckets of ripe strawberries can be found in the field along with other garden fruits. / photo by Sheridan Lambrook
The Farm at the Los Angeles County Fair provides a full educational experience of ranch animals, gardening, beekeeping and soil restoration for fairgoers to acknowledge the importance of agriculture and livestock. Buckets of ripe strawberries can be found in the field along with other garden fruits. / photo by Sheridan Lambrook

Inside the Big Red Barn is a goat and sheep petting zoo. For $3, card only, people can feed the large sheep and baby goats. The Little Red Hen Chicken Coop and Hatchery plays videos on the process of hatching and fertilizing eggs. A group of baby pigs sleep in a pile of hay and two baby calves and three cows walk around their corral. But beyond the animals are the farmers and educators that keep the process of farming and livestock moving. 

The Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture students sit at information booths inside the barn where people can learn about nutrition and food, animal veterinary, agriculture management and plant science. 

Xitlali Siguenza, freshman animal science major at Cal Poly Pomona said she wants to become a veterinarian because of animals’ importance to how we get our food, field trimmings, tools and usage. 

“We are in a city that is not in a rural one where people have the opportunity to get in touch with animals,” Siguenza said. “It’s not legal to practice with pets so livestock is the next best thing. 

Sarah Van Buskirk can be reached at sarah.vanbuskirk@laverne.edu

The Farm at the Los Angeles County Fair teaches fairgoers about farming and gives hands-on lessons to get up close and personal and “watch it grow.” The Farm at the Fairplex offers food, farming, animals and music until May 27. / photo by Sheridan Lambrook
The Farm at the Los Angeles County Fair teaches fairgoers about farming and gives hands-on lessons to get up close and personal and “watch it grow.” The Farm at the Fairplex offers food, farming, animals and music until May 27. / photo by Sheridan Lambrook
At the Farm at the Fairplex located at the Los Angeles County Fair grows a field of exotic fruits. During the farming off-season, volunteers harvest rare fruits like the “Caviar Limes” also known as Finger Limes. / photo by Sheridan Lambrook
At the Farm at the Fairplex located at the Los Angeles County Fair grows a field of exotic fruits. During the farming off-season, volunteers harvest rare fruits like the “Caviar Limes” also known as Finger Limes. / photo by Sheridan Lambrook
Springtime at the Los Angeles County Fair means baby sheep at the Big Red Barn. From goats to pigs and from cows to chickens, there are plenty of farm animals to enjoy and learn about while the Fair is at the Fairplex in Pomona until May 27. / photo by Sheridan Lambrook
Springtime at the Los Angeles County Fair means baby sheep at the Big Red Barn. From goats to pigs and from cows to chickens, there are plenty of farm animals to enjoy and learn about while the Fair is at the Fairplex in Pomona until May 27. / photo by Sheridan Lambrook
The Los Angeles County Fair celebrates springtime in the garden with Farm at the Fairplex. Pig races, petting zoos and education on agriculture are at the Fairplex in Pomona until May 27. / photo by Sheridan Lambrook
The Los Angeles County Fair celebrates springtime in the garden with Farm at the Fairplex. Pig races, petting zoos and education on agriculture are at the Fairplex in Pomona until May 27. / photo by Sheridan Lambrook

Sarah Van Buskirk is a senior journalism major with a concentration in print and online journalism. She is the Spring 2024 editorial director for the Campus Times and has recently served as editor-in-chief, sports editor and staff writer. She is also currently a staff photographer for the Campus Times and La Verne Magazine, and a staff writer for La Verne Magazine.

Sheridan Lambrook, a senior journalism major with a concentration in visual journalism, is photography editor and a staff writer for the Campus Times.

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