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UMore open house is Aug. 18

Standing out in the middle of the University of Minnesota's land is the Rosemount Research and Outreach Center. It's a beautiful area full of big blooms, colorful vegetables and learning.

Each summer, the Center and the Dakota County Master Gardeners partner to host an open house to show off what they've been doing. It's a chance for the public to come in and see what's going on out there. This year the event will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Aug. 18 at 1605 160th St. W.

"It's fun. It's free and it raises awareness about the importance of agricultural research," said Dawn Seibert, a representative from the research center.

This year's open house will feature exhibits related to the theme, "Agriculture for the 21st Century: The Future is Here and Now!" In its 11th year, the event will feature some the old stand-bys such as the Chemopreventive Café, the meat lab, tours of the Master Gardener Education and Research Display gardens and a wine tasting booth. For kids there will be animals big and small including horses, cows and raptors.

There are some new activities on the schedule, too. Dr. Roger Ruan will have an exhibit displaying his work on turning algae into fuel. Dr. Kurt Spokas will display his research into the potential role of biochar application improving soil fertility and other benefits.

The event usually draws a large crowd. Last year Seibert said more than 1,700 people came out.

"It seems we get a couple more hundred each year," Seibert said.

If the weather cooperates she expects close to 2,000 people. For the corn shuckers that means a long night's work.

Free corn on the cob is given out during the event. Last year, more than 2,800 ears of corn had to be shucked. Seibert said area groups lend volunteers to the event.

Another popular food exhibit is the potato research. People dig up potatoes and then volunteers make French fries out of them.

"It was probably our most popular exhibit last year," said Seibert.

Once again it should be a night full of fun and learning. For more information visit

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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