From seed to sugar, Chatham-Kent 4-H celebrates the Sugarbeet!

By Stephanie Campbell

Chatham-Kent’s Sugarbeet Production Club sure knows a thing or two about a “Sweet” 4-H Club! From seed to sugar, this club learns about the process of growing sugarbeets, diseases their crop might encounter, preparing a sugarbeet sample, cooking with sugar, and more! Rob and Maureen McKerrall took it upon themselves to reintroduce the Sugarbeet Club to Chatham-Kent following its initial start in 1930 as the “Better Sugar Beet Club” where boys learned how to grow better sugar beets.

A trip to the Michigan Sugar Company processing plant in Croswell, Michigan to see the process of how beets are transformed into sugar, has been a highlight of this club! Members will wrap up their year by participating in the Highgate Fair by submitting a sugarbeet sample, consisting of three (3) hand picked “prized” beets! To compete, members dig the beets out of the ground, they are washed, clipped and mounted on a coat hanger for presentation at the fair.

The local sugarbeet seed sales representatives: the Dover sugarbeet piling station, agronomists and Michigan Sugar Company have assisted in the development of this club in the Chatham-Kent area. The Chatham-Kent Sugarbeet Club is the only Canadian Club to participate in Michigan Sugar Company’s Youth Project.

Whether these members are returning to their farms to push the sugar content of their beets, increase poundage or cook new recipes with sugar, this club has brought them together to celebrate a locally grown product that we all enjoy!