Greenbrier and Monroe County 4-H and FFA members are hard at work preparing for the 65th Annual Greenbrier Valley 4-H & FFA Ham, Bacon and Egg Show and Sale which will be held Friday, Mar. 27, at the West Virginia State Fair Grounds in the West Virginia Building. You are invited to experience this unique and one-of-a-kind event.
We have adopted some changes in the 2015 sale that addresses the length of the event and order of sale products. The sale will be divided into two parts, a silent auction and a live auction. All items will be judged and placed into show and sale order according to placing as assigned by the judge from top to bottom. The top 50 hams, top 50 bacons and top 30 dozen eggs will be sold by live auction to the highest bidder. Sale order will rotate items by selling the top ham (selling first), the top bacon (selling second) and top dozen eggs (selling third). The sale order will rotate back to the second placed ham, bacon and eggs. This will continue until the top 50 hams, bacons and 30 dozen eggs will have sold. This will conclude the live auction portion of our sale this year.
To give 4-H and FFA members an opportunity to market the products that did not make it to the top 50 bacons or hams or top 30 dozen eggs, a silent auction will be in place to market their products. The silent auction will be held before the live auction from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 3-6 p.m. that evening. Buyers will have the opportunity to place their bids on hams, bacons and eggs at their convenience during this time. A card will be placed on the silent auction items that will allow buyers to place the bid and buyers number. A minimum bid will be noted for each item. Minimum bids were determined by an average of the lowest sale price of each item over the past few years in the live auction. The silent auction will stop promptly at 6 p.m. and the Live Auction will begin at 6:30 p.m.
The Ham, Bacon and Egg Show gives approximately 150 Greenbrier and Monroe County 4-H and FFA members an opportunity to exhibit and auction their home grown products that they have spent several months on preparing and to develop 1 of 7 pillars of character called “Responsibility.” This project is unique and “one of a kind” to all 4-H and FFA projects across the United States. The ham and bacon part of this project starts in May and continues until March of the following year. First, the youth member selects a young market hog either by purchasing or raising their own and feeding that animal to reach a desired weight somewhere around 225 to 295. This usually takes about 3 to 4 months depending on the feed ration and schedule. After the 3 to 4 month feeding period – May to August or September – the market hog is then slaughtered and prepared for the curing process.
Beginning in September or October the 4-H and FFA members begin to learn and experience the step by step state regulated “Country Cure” process in a state approved facility. This process involves dry rubbing hams and bacons with a country cure, soaking and rinsing meat after cure, hanging meat in a temperature regulated environment, trimming meat to look presentable and then smoking it for that fine smoked taste. As you can see this project is very time consuming and a “huge” undertaking of responsibility. Each individual spends on average of 135 hours in participating in this project. These youth are taught the importance of food safety, food handling and the importance of raising a good quality product along with good presentation.
The egg project is very similar. The 4-H and FFA members begin this project by obtaining ownership of a laying flock by either raising their own or purchasing the flock. The member then keeps records of their egg production. Depending on the number in their flock they begin collecting eggs about 3 weeks before the show and sale. The member at this point begins to choose their best dozen. An egg workshop is offered so the individual can learn and be refreshed on how to choose a uniform dozen. The youth are educated on what meat spots and blood spots look like, finding cracks in the shell and choosing 12 uniform eggs by size and color. Again we see how much time and responsibility is put into this similar project.
We should pride ourselves in knowing that this select group of our youth has taken the initiative in wanting to preserve our local and state heritage of the process of curing meat and knowing how to raise quality products. This is a very important part of our history and should acknowledge and respected. With help from parents, local FFA Advisors, WVU Extension Agents, local business and volunteers we have made this project successful and rewarding while teaching our youth the importance of responsibility and hard work.
For further information on how your child can take part in this character building opportunity through 4-H or FFA, and for more information related to the sale please contact Greenbrier County Extension at 304-647-7408, Monroe County Extension at 304-772-3003 or your local high school FFA Advisor. We hope to see you there!