URI’s East Farm to host Open House & Crabapple Festival May 14
Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892
KINGSTON, R.I. -- May 4, 2005 -- With a little help from Mother Nature, more than 170 crabapple trees of 50 varieties will signal the arrival of spring weather during the URI College of the Environment and Life Science’s third annual East Farm Open House & Crabapple Festival on May 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Rain date is May 15.
This event will give visitors a close-up look at the farm and its many activities. It will include tours of the farm, a storyteller, a cooking demonstration by chef Normand Leclair, and demonstrations of container gardening, hand pruning, composting, tick and mosquito management, and many others. Master Gardeners will also answer questions and test soil ph (bring a soil sample).
In addition, the URI Fisheries and Aquaculture programs will have educational displays, and free chowder will be offered to all who visit.
A wide variety of plants will be on sale all day -- native plants from the R.I. Wild Plant Society; annuals, perennials, vegetables and crabapple trees from the URI Master Gardeners; tree and shrub seedlings from the Southern Rhode Island Conservation District; and water garden plants from Nelumbo Water Gardens.
Located just one mile south of route 138, the 70-acre farm is best known for its crabapple plantation, one of the largest crabapple collections in the country. The trees come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, including pillar, pyramid, lollipop, spreading, weeping, and shrub-like varieties. All are disease resistant.
“We pushed back the event by a week this year to better time it so the crabapple trees are in full bloom,” said Marion Gold, director of URI’s Cooperative Extension Education Center.
The farm is also home to greenhouses administered by the URI Master Gardeners and the URI Plant Sciences Department, an apple orchard, and dozens of other trees and shrubs being grown for research purposes. Many plants are brought to East Farm from other parts of the country for testing to see how well they adapt to Rhode Island weather conditions.
Admission and parking are free. For more information and a schedule of talks and tours, call the URI Gardening Hotline at 1-800-448-1011.