BLACKFOOT — As fairgoers enter through the north gate near the West Events area they will pass by a new feature of the Eastern Idaho State Fair—a community garden demonstration. The Eastern Idaho State Fair begins Saturday and continues through Sept. 10.
Master Gardener Jon Lyksett—who coordinated the new Blackfoot Community Garden near Airport Road and Teeples Drive—has been working in the garden at the fairgrounds for months in preparation for next week.
The garden has 17 or 18 varieties of heirloom tomatoes which will be featured at a tomato-tasting event scheduled for Sept. 7 from 4-7 p.m. The garden also has a variety of herbs including basil, dill, oregano and lavender. Peppers, squash, beans, watermelon, eggplant, gourds and sunflowers are also growing in the garden. All are growing in raised gardening beds.
Lyksett said the garden will be staffed throughout the Fair with Master Gardeners and those seeking to become Master Gardeners. They will be able to answer questions about gardening, the techniques used in the garden and the basics of container gardening. They can also provide gardening resources for those wanting to get started on their own.
"The purpose of this is to demonstrate what gardening is all about," Lyksett said, adding that the primary goal of the garden is education.
Lyksett hopes to continue offering the garden at the Eastern Idaho State Fair, and said he plans to feature something different each year.
"I think it's a good thing," Lyksett said. "It's been a good experience."
In addition to the garden, guests at an invitation-only event tonight will be treated to a five-course meal featuring only items found within 50 miles of the Fairgrounds and within the 16-county fair district. Called "Farm Fresh Feast," the meal will feature local beef, chicken and trout as well as local goat cheese, produce and breads. Tomatoes from the fair garden will be used in a tomato basil soup.
Lyksett said the goal of the dinner is to showcase what is available in our local area and what can be produced here.
For more information about the Blackfoot Community Garden, go to blackfootgarden.blogspot.com or contact Lyksett at 785-8915.