Students experience fall days at Old Baker Farm
Published 10:22 am Monday, September 28, 2015
By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer
HARPERSVILLE—Students from Prattville Primary School and Southminster Day School excitedly scoured rows of orange pumpkins for the perfect one at Old Baker Farm on Sept. 24. These students were the first of thousands more that will visit Shelby County’s oldest working farm this fall.
Each fall for the past 16 years, the Harpersville farm opens its doors to schools, giving students an inside glimpse of day-to-day life on a farm.
“We’re showing them life on an old farm,” farmer and owner of Old Baker Farm, Jerry Baker, said.
Currently, Old Baker Farm cultivates cotton, corn, sunflowers, pumpkins, Christmas trees and a selection of vegetables. Baker’s farm has owned and operated the farm in Harpersville since the 1800s.
“We have three hours planned for them,” Baker said of the school farm visits. “We try to educate them a little and have a lot of fun.”
After arriving at the farm, the Prattville and Southminster students walked past rows of cotton and corn to the barn, where they met a variety of farm animals, from ducks to goats.
Then, students wound their way through a hay bale maze before boarding a hayride. Tractors pulled the students through two-and-a-half miles of woods and crops, finally ending at one of Old Baker Farm’s many pumpkin patches.
Finally, the day wrapped up with lunch in the barn loft before the students boarded their yellow buses and returned to school.
“There’s nothing here that kids see that they can’t participate in,” Pam Baker, Jerry’s wife, said.
From feeding the farm’s calves to picking and studying cotton, each school visit is a hands-on learning adventure. Many schools often coordinate their visits to Old Baker Farm with a classroom farm unit.
“They’ve learned all about this in class,” Southminster kindergarten teacher Sally Sanders said, noting her class just completed a two-week farm unit.
Sanders said she has been taking her class to Old Baker Farm for the past five years. The real-world experience on a working farm helps reinforce what her students learn in the classroom, and it’s fun, she explained.
“(The students) have been so excited,” Sanders said. “We come every year. (The Bakers) are so open and they point out things about the animals.”
Students aren’t the only ones who can experience fall at Old Baker Farm. Gates opened to the public on Saturday, Sept. 26 at 9 a.m. for the farm’s public Harvest Days. For more information about dates and times for Harvest Days, visit Oldbakerfarm.com.