Quincy hosts farmer consumer awareness day

QUINCY, Wash. — The 37th annual Quincy Farmer Consumer Awareness Day will be held Sept. 8 to celebrate farm life and educate people about the source of their food.

Activities begin with a 6:30 a.m. balloon launch, weather permitting, in Lauzier Park. It will be followed from 7 to 10 a.m. by a Lions Club breakfast at Quincy High School, where most events will be held.

Educational tours begin at the high school at 10 a.m. with grower Larry Schaapman’s 1 1/2-hour “Cruisin’ the Crops” tour by bus.

Larry Jones leads a one-hour tour of Quincy Fresh Fruit at 11 a.m., and Ken Lacy, a local geologist, gives a half-hour presentation at 11 a.m. followed by a three- to four-hour geology tour.

Mark Houten gives half-hour tours of vegetable processor Quincy Foods at noon, 12:45 and 1:30 p.m.

The Farmer Consumer Awareness Day began in 1981 after a Quincy farmer, Dennis Highashiyama, was listening to the late radioman Paul Harvey who was talking with a female listener. She blamed farmers for the high cost of food and said farmers weren’t needed because people got their food from grocery stores.

Highashiyama, who also headed the Central Washington Farm Crops Association, organized the festival to educate the public about how food is produced.

Other Saturday events include: 2- and 5-kilometer runs at 7 and 8 a.m. at Mountain View Elementary School, a 10 a.m. downtown grand parade, an 11 a.m. volleyball tournament, a tractor pull and car show judging at 11:30 and a Rotary Club barbecue from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Farm family of the Year and Honorary Farmer presentations take place at noon.

Cooking competition judging is from 12:30 to 1 p.m. Contestants must bring a dish containing apples, beans, potatoes or corn.

There’s also music, cowboy poetry, a fire department burn demonstration, a children’s petting zoo, exhibits, a quilt show and produce sale. There’s a dusk balloon glow and fireworks.

On Sunday is a 2 p.m. chef extravaganza at White Heron Cellars winery at Trinidad. A guest chef will create dishes from local produce for a buffet and wine tasting.