Learn do-it-yourself strategies for becoming a locavore — a person who eats food locally grown and produced. Demonstrations and talk topics include vegetable and square-foot gardening, backyard composting, greenhouses, beekeeping, and backyard poultry. Each garden session will feature food-preservation methods, including drying, hot water bath canning, and making herbal vinegars and jam. Complimentary food samples will be provided. UMaine Extension Master Gardner and Master Food Preserver Volunteers, as well as homeowners, will answer questions.
Cost is $15 for those who register in advance, $20 the day of event and free for children younger than 12. Registrants will receive a booklet with a map and descriptions of each site. Proceeds benefit UMaine Extension’s Cumberland County Food Preservation Program. Online registration and information are available at umaine.edu/cumberland/programs/locavore/. Also, for more information, or to request a disability accommodation, call 207.781.6099, 800.287.1471 (in Maine), or email email@example.com.
The Morning Sentinel advanced a University of Maine Cooperative Extension Cooking for Crowds workshop 1–5 p.m. Monday, July 7, at the UMaine Extension Somerset County office. Topics include safely preparing, handling and serving food for large groups, including at soup kitchens, church functions, food pantries and community fundraisers. Cost is $15 per person; scholarships are available. To register, visit umaine.edu/food-health/food-safety/cooking-for-crowds or bring a check to class.
The Portland Press Herald’s article on a $1.7 million training program launched by Wolfe’s Neck Farm and Stonyfield to invigorate the local and regional organic dairy industry and jumpstart the next generation of organic dairy farmers included statistics from University of Maine Cooperative Extension Professor Rick Kersbergen.
There are currently 285 dairy farms in Maine, compared to 597 in 1995, Kersbergen says. Within the same time frame, Kersbergen says the number of organic dairies has increased from one to 60.
David Handley, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension specialist of vegetables and small fruits at UMaine’s Highmoor Farm in Monmouth, was interviewed for a Portland Press Herald article about this year’s strawberry season. Handley said conditions have been ideal starting last fall and continuing through this week, when many farms in the Augusta area are opening for picking. He said the last two years the crop has come in early, but this year is a more normal ripening schedule. He said he expects the best strawberry crop Maine has had in three or four years.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension has released a bulletin to inform people interested in becoming backyard producers of meat rabbits.
Gary Anderson, a UMaine Extension animal and bio-sciences specialist, authored Backyard Production of Meat Rabbits in Maine. Topics in the 15-page bulletin include the Maine environment, breeds and selection, reproduction, health management, predator control, market outlets and promotions, dressing out a rabbit fryer and recipes.
The popularity of raising domestic meat rabbits is growing in Maine, Anderson says, adding that benefits include nutritious food at a relatively low cost, potential for extra income and an educational experience for the family.
More information, bulletin copies for $1.50 each and free downloads are available from the UMaine Extension Publication Catalog or by contacting the UMaine Extension Publications Office at 207.581.3792 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a Cooking for Crowds workshop 1–5 p.m. Monday, July 7, at the UMaine Extension Somerset County office, 7 County Drive, Skowhegan.
Learn up-to-date methods for safely preparing, handling and serving food for large groups, including at soup kitchens, church functions, food pantries and community fundraisers. The class meets the Good Shepherd Food Bank food safety training requirements. The workshop covers the following food safety guidelines: planning and purchasing; storing food supplies; preparing food; transporting, storing and serving cooked foods; and handling leftovers. Cost is $15 per person; scholarships are available.
For more information, to register or to request a disability accommodation, call Crystal Hamilton at 207.622.7546 or 800.287.1481 (in Maine). Details about future workshops are online.
Jason Bolton, a statewide food safety specialist and assistant professor with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was interviewed for a Bangor Daily News article about the U.S. Food and Drug Administration finding federal seafood safety violations at Linda Bean’s lobster processing plant in Rockland. The plant’s manager told the BDN the company contacted UMaine to have a food safety expert visit the plant and evaluate practices. Bolton said he is scheduled to visit the plant soon and plans to educate and help the company. Bolton said he and another food specialist with UMaine Extension assist 400 to 500 companies a year, ranging from seafood processors to slaughterhouses and jam producers.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Piscataquis County will give away 300 cherry tomato plants as part of the One Tomato Project to increase the number of people growing food.
The One Tomato Project, which originated in Ontario, Canada, encourages people to plant, grow, and eat more vegetables, and to give extra to food banks. The mission: “To grow healthier communities, one tomato at a time.”
Extension personnel will distribute tomato plants to county food cupboards June 13 and 20. And plants will be given away, while supplies last, the week of June 23, at the extension office at 165 East Main St., Dover-Foxcroft. People will be asked to complete a survey about their gardening experiences. Extension staff will provide information about container gardens and sign up those interested in receiving the Piscataquis & Penobscot Garden Newsletter.
“Starting a garden can be intimidating,” says Donna Coffin, Extension Educator. “But if you just start with one tomato it seems less daunting. One tomato can be grown anywhere there is full sun — in a vegetable garden, in a flower garden, in a window box, in a pot or even in a bag. With regular watering you can start harvesting in no time.”
About one-third of households nationwide grow some type of food; the typical household spends about $70 to do so and yields about $600 worth of produce, according to the National Gardening Association’s 2009 report “Impact of Home and Community Gardening in America.”
Walter Boomsma, president of the Piscataquis County Extension Executive Committee, supports the project. “This is the type of program that clearly has a direct benefit to our citizens and county,” he says. “One Tomato has practical value with very little rhetoric and the potential for big returns on a relatively small investment. People can try gardening with practically no risk and discover the fun of becoming more self-sufficient and eating healthier.”
Participants will be invited to post about their plant progress on the UMaine Extension Piscataquis Facebook page. For more information, visit http://umaine.edu/piscataquis/programs/home-gardening/one-tomato/ or call 207.564.3301, 1.800.287.1491 (in Maine).
Image Description: One Tomato Logo
Image Description: growing a tomato in a bag
UMaine Extension staff members will lead the workshop, which will include hands-on, USDA-recommended hot water bath canning and freezing food preservation methods. Learn to preserve pickles, jam, vegetables, and fruits, as well as rhubarb orange chutney. Home food preservation allows for year-round consumption of locally grown foods and enables preservers to control additives, including sugar and sodium.
Fresh produce, canning jars, and other canning equipment will be provided. Participants should bring a potholder. Cost is $15 per person; partial scholarships are available. Register by June 10 at umaine.edu/food-health/food-preservation/hands-on-workshops/. For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, call 207.781.6099, 800.287.1471 (toll-free in Maine).
Image Description: canned picles
Kathy Savoie, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator, provided the Portland Press Herald with step-by-step instructions on how to make quick refrigerator pickles with a variety of spring vegetables.