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Strawberry Lovers Cluster at Festival

  • Sophia Farrington of Randolph, 6, takes a bite out of a strawberry while picking with her mother, Trista Farrington, during the Strawberry Festival at Cedar Circle Farm in East Thetford, Vt. on Sunday, June 30, 2013. <br/>Valley News - Libby March

    Sophia Farrington of Randolph, 6, takes a bite out of a strawberry while picking with her mother, Trista Farrington, during the Strawberry Festival at Cedar Circle Farm in East Thetford, Vt. on Sunday, June 30, 2013.
    Valley News - Libby March Purchase photo reprints »

  • Vera Windish, 7, left, and Sophie No‘l, 9, both of Reading, Vt., wander through the Strawberry Festival at Cedar Circle Farm in East Thetford, Vt. on Sunday, June 30, 2013. <br/>Valley News - Libby March

    Vera Windish, 7, left, and Sophie No‘l, 9, both of Reading, Vt., wander through the Strawberry Festival at Cedar Circle Farm in East Thetford, Vt. on Sunday, June 30, 2013.
    Valley News - Libby March Purchase photo reprints »

  • Kate Dickey of Orford, N.H. lifts her daughter Adelle, 2, into her arms as they check out the horses at Cedar Circle Farm during the Strawberry Festival in East Thetford, Vt. on Sunday, June 30, 2013. <br/>Valley News - Libby March

    Kate Dickey of Orford, N.H. lifts her daughter Adelle, 2, into her arms as they check out the horses at Cedar Circle Farm during the Strawberry Festival in East Thetford, Vt. on Sunday, June 30, 2013.
    Valley News - Libby March Purchase photo reprints »

  • Sophia Farrington of Randolph, 6, takes a bite out of a strawberry while picking with her mother, Trista Farrington, during the Strawberry Festival at Cedar Circle Farm in East Thetford, Vt. on Sunday, June 30, 2013. <br/>Valley News - Libby March
  • Vera Windish, 7, left, and Sophie No‘l, 9, both of Reading, Vt., wander through the Strawberry Festival at Cedar Circle Farm in East Thetford, Vt. on Sunday, June 30, 2013. <br/>Valley News - Libby March
  • Kate Dickey of Orford, N.H. lifts her daughter Adelle, 2, into her arms as they check out the horses at Cedar Circle Farm during the Strawberry Festival in East Thetford, Vt. on Sunday, June 30, 2013. <br/>Valley News - Libby March

Thetford — Her favorite animal is the horse, and her favorite television show is Sesame Street. As far as fruit goes, 3-year-old Ruby French likes pears.

But she loves strawberries.

A trip yesterday to Cedar Circle Farm, then, was perfect for Ruby and her mom, Kelly, as the organic flower, vegetable and berry farm off Route 5 held its annual strawberry festival.

“I love being in the Upper Valley, because there’s so much stuff like this,” said Kelly French, of White River Junction.

Yesterday, of course, was about more than just picking strawberries, even if the farm’s four acres of the fruit were its main attraction. Past the fields — which could be accessed by foot or horse-drawn carriage rides that included a tour — was a tightly packed group of informational booths, plants and other activities.

Near the kid’s tent, for instance, where storyteller Simon Brooks switched off sets with the rootsy folk band Cold River Ramblers, volunteers offered face painting for the younger patrons.

Molly McDonald, of Quechee, emerged from the painting bench with a butterfly, its body stretching down her nose and its wings extending across her cheeks.

“This is my first time I’ve done face painting,” she said.

Molly, 6, had chosen the butterfly over other offerings, such as a tractor, two colors of cat and a strawberry, which is her favorite berry, if not her favorite overall fruit (that honor goes to the apple).

She and her mom, Kerry, decided next to head to the main tent, in order to get out of the sun. They passed by several greenhouses, a who’s who of purchasable plants, from petunias and lobelias to cilantro and squash. The food lines near the tent soon opened up, as alt-country band The Last Resort provided some downbeat acoustic-based music.

Cedar Circle Farm Education Coordinator Cat Buxton stood outside the tent, a walkie-talkie in hand, serving as a point person for the day’s army of workers and volunteers. Buxton said she expected about 1,500 guests to attend the festival yesterday, in line with the slowly growing attendance numbers over the event’s 11 years.

“Every year it gets a little bigger,” she said.

The bright sun and mid-80s temperatures didn’t hurt the cause.

Buxton said that the 4 acres of organic strawberries at Cedar Circle makes it the crop with the most space devoted to it. The entire farm is 40 acres, she said.

But there is a point to the day other than simple fun, Buxton said, which is to “connect people with where their food comes from.” She pointed to one girl working to achieve that goal, sitting at a booth a few feet from the main tent.

“I feel like we shouldn’t let people eat something that they don’t know what they’re eating,” said Brigid Armbrust, of West Hartford.

Since attending a Right to Know meeting with her mom on a whim, Brigid, 10, has launched Kids Care, an effort to label — and eventually ban — genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. She has written letters to Gov. Peter Shumlin and her state Rep. Teo Zagar, D-Barnard, and put together a pamphlet of information on GMOs that she distributed yesterday.

“If they feel that young people are interested, it just has a much stronger feel, in my opinion,” said Brigid, who is home schooled.

Earlier, in the main tent, The Last Resort began to play a cover version of The Beach Boys’ Sloop John B. Suzi Curtis, of Etna, turned to her two daughters, both standing on the outskirts of the tent.

“Well, I feel so broke up,” the band sang.

Curtis asked Siena, 10, and Lucy, 7, if they wanted to head home.

“I want to go home,” the band harmonized, finishing out a chorus.

So did the younger Curtises, and they walked in the direction of the strawberry fields, Suzi holding a long, flat filled with strawberries. Though the family is a member of Cedar Circle’s CSA, meaning they go to the farm often, Suzi lauded the community feel and focus on sustainability of yesterday’s events.

Also, the strawberries.

“They’re like candy,” she said.

Jon Wolper can be reached at jwolper@vnews.com or 603-727-3242.