Aug 5, 2014 16:46 Garden Fest features food, music, garden tours, plant sales Garden Fest features food, music, garden tours, plant sales Vibrant verbena Advocate news services Aug. 05, 2014 Comments Food, music, hayride tours and plant sales are all part of the annual Garden Fest at LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden on Saturday, June 21. Beginning at 7:30 a.m., visitors can take a hayride to the research area to taste tomatoes, watermelons, peppers and fruit crops and learn about the latest research conducted by the LSU AgCenter, says Jeff Kuehny, resident director at Burden. Food companies in the LSU AgCenter Food Incubator also will offer samples of their new foods and beverages at the event, and you can buy some ice cream from the LSU AgCenter Dairy Store. Bring your best tomatoes from your gardens to enter the outstanding tomato contest. LSU AgCenter experts will conduct a plant health clinic to diagnose problems with plant specimens visitors bring in. You might want to come hungry, as the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry and the Louisiana Egg Commission will be cooking up and serving omelets from 7:30-9:30 a.m., and samples of veggie dishes, made from vegetables produced at Burden, will be served from 10-11 a.m. by the Louisiana Culinary Institute and the East Baton Rouge Parish Extension Office. The tastings will include recipes and nutritional information for each selection. You can wet your whistle with a bloody mary from Mason’s Grill from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. And at 11 a.m. the Garden Fest Cocktail Contest gets going and you can sample concoctions made from Louisiana spirits. It ends at noon. The music gets started at 10 a.m. and will go to 1 p.m. with the Singers Songwriter Showcase, presented by Baton Rouge Music Studios and Visit Baton Rouge. Musicians of all ages who can accompany themselves on guitar, keyboard or any other instrument are invited to perform an original or cover tune. Pianos will be provided by Baton Rouge Music Studio. And just when you think it couldn’t get any better, be sure to check out the greenhouse to score some plants for your summer garden from Plant Makers, which will have about 500 plants available, including lantanas, Star of Texas hibiscus, gorgeous coleus and lion’s ear, to name a few. East Baton Rouge Master Gardeners will also have information on hand for gardeners with lots or little experience who are interested in enrolling in upcoming MG classes.