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4-H’ers will be able to cure country hams locally

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By Roberta Hunt

One of the fastest growing projects in Kentucky 4-H is the country ham project. 

Last year, over 700 youth statewide participated in the program where they learned the traditional way of either salt curing or smoke curing hams. In central and eastern Kentucky, hams are salt cured and then smoke cured in western Kentucky.

Washington County 4-H has been traveling to cure their hams in another county for the past several years, but now plans are progressing to build our own country ham-curing house.  4-H members will be able to stay in the county and have the experience to learn the traditional way of taking a raw ham and salt curing it until ready to eat.

To participate in the program, youth and parents must sign a contract to purchase the hams, cure them and then the 4-Her compete at the Kentucky State Fair by presenting a speech and having their best ham judged.  There is a registration fee for the member to receive two hams to cure. 

If the member does not give their speech at the state fair, the hams are forfeited.   The contract and registration fee is due to the extension office no later than Monday, Dec. 2.

However, only 10-12 youth will be accepted this first-year and this will be on a first served basis.

Another requirement for the project is for the member to receive six approved educational hours through the Washington County Hooves and Horns 4-H Club. The next club meeting is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 2, 6:30 p.m. at the extension office. The club is accepting new members that want to participate in any livestock activity offered through 4-H. 

All livestock projects and activities do require a six-hour minimum of educational hours, which are earned through the Hooves and Horns 4-H Club.

Anyone with questions about the 4-H Country Ham project or other 4-H livestock programs should contact the Washington County Extension Office at 336-7741.

Upcoming club meetings for youth include the 4-H Young Riders on Monday, Nov. 18, 7 p.m. at the extension office and the 4-H Spurs and Furs Club on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 6:30 p.m. at the extension office.  Both clubs are accepting new members.  The earlier that youth get involved, the more activities they will get to experience through the clubs.

Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.