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The Center for Agroforestry

UMCA News Release

Missouri Chestnut Roast to feature dedication of rehabilitated historic Hickman House, Oct. 17

Thursday, September 10, 2009

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Missouri Chestnut Roast is a harvest festival, a family day out, a Missouri specialty-product showcase, an agroforestry field day and a history lesson.

At the seventh annual roast, Saturday, Oct. 17, the University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry dedicates the fully rehabilitated Thomas Hickman House, built in 1819 at what is now the MU Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center, New Franklin.

Tours of the home will take place throughout the day. The Hickman House is one of the state's oldest intact brick houses and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Although the dedication of the 1,800-square-foot house will be a highlight, the star attraction is a little smaller: the chestnut.

The event will include samples of fire-roasted, Missouri-grown chestnuts, farm tours to see chestnuts growing, sales of chestnut trees and a demonstration of cooking with chestnuts.

Activities begin at 10 a.m. and continue until 4 p.m. The Ironweed Bluegrass Band will provide musical entertainment throughout the afternoon and the New Franklin High School Athletic Booster Club will operate a concessions stand offering grilled elk, buffalo and beef products.

Eric Cartwright, executive chef at MU Campus Dining Services, will prepare recipes incorporating chestnuts during a live cooking demonstration.

In addition to roasted chestnuts, vendors will offer a variety of locally grown or locally produced agricultural specialty products, including chestnut, pecan and walnut products; wines and specialty beers; ice cream; mustard; goat cheeses; and elderberry products.

"Be sure to bring a few extra dollars with you so that you can take home your favorites," said Julie Rhoads, event coordinator.

New attractions this year include green chili products, artisanal chocolate products and an educational booth on winemaking.

Children will have plenty to keep them busy with an edible-insect exhibit, a fact hunt and a straw bale maze.

The Center for Agroforestry supports the nation's most comprehensive research program for developing the Chinese chestnut and black walnut as nut crops for Missouri and Midwest landowners. Guided bus and walking tours of the research center will be available for those interested in learning more about growing chestnuts and other agroforestry practices.

Admission is free. Most activities will take place under tents for comfort, rain or shine. Service animals allowed - no pets.

For directions and a schedule of the day's events, see, or contact Julie Rhoads at 573-882-3234 or

Michelle Hall
Senior Information Specialist
Center for Agroforestry University of Missouri

Julie Rhoads, 573-882-3234; Michael Gold, 573-884-1448

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