RHINEBECK, NY – For visitors to the Dutchess County Fair who see a myriad of farming activities they can’t personally attempt, there’s the Thomas Odak Horticultural Center, where ‘try it at home’ is a key theme. .
Some of the displays leave the casual gardener with a bit of veggie craving when viewing. There is a selection of perfectly ripe green, orange and red peppers, leaving Beacon resident Andy Bell to realize that there is a whole new level that could be brought to his garden.
“I start gardening in the spring and then in the heat of summer I lose the ambition to go out and weed,” he said, “so I let the garden go. But they still wouldn’t be so pretty.
The idea of growing nutritious foods at home made Michael Dolan, a resident of Poughkeepsie, grateful that there are people who are capable of producing a bountiful harvest.
“I’m just glad there are people out there who can do that,” he said. “It’s just nice to have a place… with fresh veg.”
On the lower level of the center is landscaping that made Round Top residents Walter and Tara Becker say how much they want to keep their waterfalls and pond from being an open market for carp-loving owls and hawks. koi or other fish.
“We have them around us and I really don’t want to share my koi with wildlife,” said Tara Becker.
Syracuse resident Stan Davies was also studying landscaping themes. He compared the displays to the New York State Fair displays that attempt to be more corporate and large-scale than those found at Rhinebeck. He pointed to a display of black-eyed Susans in tubs surrounding a motorbike in front of an American flag as an example of local company She Sheds by Ed’s imagination that looks genuine.
“It’s something that seems like you can do it yourself, but it’s also something that says the landscaper has a good feel for their craft,” he said.
Other meal sources go further down the food chain, with competitions in the building featuring a wide selection of flower arrangements that feed hummingbirds and bumblebees. A table full of flowers was included. Adams Fairacre Farms was looking for the opinions of visitors to choose a favorite. For those who voted, it had little to do with food and more to do with fashion.
“I think my favorite would be the Million Bells Superbells Twilight,” said LeeAnne Andrew of Fishkill. “They are a little more conspicuous.”
The Dutchess County Fair runs through Sunday at the Rhinebeck County Fairgrounds, NY Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Admission is $ 12 per day and $ 30 for an all day walking bracelet. Passes can be purchased online (www.dutchessfair.com) or at self-service kiosks set up near the entrances.