Cooperative Extension to Give Away Tomato Plants

June 2nd, 2014 3:33 PM

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.

One Tomato LogoThe 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.

growing a tomato in a bag“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).

UMaine Extension Offers Harvest Preservation Workshop

May 20th, 2014 10:11 AM
canned piclesUniversity of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Preserving the Harvest workshop will be held Tuesday, June 17, 2014 from 4:30-7:30 p.m., at Little Ridge Farm, 101 Gould Road, Lisbon Falls 04252.

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).

Savoie Demonstrates How to Make Quick Refrigerator Pickles for Press Herald

May 8th, 2014 1:50 PM

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.

Bolton Talks to WVII about Fiddlehead Food Safety

May 2nd, 2014 12:22 PM

Jason Bolton, assistant Extension professor and statewide food safety specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with WVII (Channel 7) about guidelines to follow before eating fiddleheads. Bolton warned fiddleheads should never be consumed raw, and should be fully cleaned and cooked by steaming or boiling for about 12 to 15 minutes. “We do hear a lot about people just sauteing them, microwaving them at restaurants or even at home, and the food-borne illness resulting from that,” Bolton said, “adding that typical food-borne illness symptoms, such as vomiting, come on fast and last for about a day.”

Become a Community Resource for Food Preservation, Safety

April 23rd, 2014 10:13 AM

University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a 10-session Master Food Preserver training program starting June 19 and ending September 25, 2014. Lectures, discussions and hands-on kitchen lab education will be conducted 10 Thursdays, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., at Gorham Middle School, 106 Weeks Road, Gorham, and at the UMaine Extension Office, 75 Clearwater Drive, Falmouth.

A Master Food Preserver is a UMaine Extension volunteer who has successfully completed the practical, research-based program on food safety and preservation. Volunteers agree to give back 20 hours of time for community-based projects within a year. Projects could include hands-on food preservation workshops, staffing educational displays and demonstrations and providing information at farmers markets, county fairs and other food-related events.

May 2 is the deadline to apply. Fees are on a sliding scale, from $125 to $330, based on household income. To request an application or disability accommodation, call 207.781.6099 or 800.287.1471 (in Maine). For more information, contact Kathleen Savoie, Extension Educator, at 207.781.6099 or ksavoie@maine.edu.

Applications are available online.

Savoie Demonstrates How to Make Flavored Vinegar for Press Herald

April 23rd, 2014 8:37 AM

Kathy Savoie, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator, provided the Portland Press Herald with a step-by-step demonstration on how to make flavored vinegar. Savoie’s method can be used with any herbs, such as rosemary, basil and mint; and for any type of vinegar, such as apple cider or champagne.

Maine Fiddlehead Festival and Local Food Day

April 11th, 2014 2:28 PM

The Maine Fiddlehead Festival and Local Food Day is scheduled for Saturday, May 3, 2014 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. to celebrate the abundance of locally grown and locally growing foods in the Franklin County area of Maine. This FREE festival includes a parade featuring antique tractors, local food vendors, supervised children’s activities, cooking demonstrations, live music, and “Tent Talks” – a number of hands-on demonstrations and presentations on various topics relating to farmed and wild-harvested foods. For more information, visit the event website at www.mainefiddleheadfestival.com.

Master Food Preservers are now being accepted

March 31st, 2014 12:08 PM

Do you enjoy the art and science of food preservation? Would you like to develop expertise in food preservation? Consider becoming a Master Food Preserver.

What is a Master Food Preserver?

Master Food Preservers serve to extend Extension’s education programs in food preservation to adults and youth. The Master Food Preserver serves as a volunteer and resource in the community to provide the public with research-based information from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and USDA.

Complete schedule and APPLICATION FORM are available now.  Application deadline is first Friday in May. Participants are informed of their selection status the 3rd week in May.

If you have questions, please email lois.elwell@maine.edu or call 781-6099 or 1-800-287-1471 (in State)

This program was made possible in part by Whole Foods Market.    2whole-foods-market

 

MS Dishes on Food-to-Market Course

March 25th, 2014 10:43 AM

Morning Sentinel reported that University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a six-session course that covers moving a specialty food product to market. The class will take place Tuesdays, April 8–29, 2014 in Skowhegan and Dover-Foxcroft. Two May class sessions are scheduled to include individual business consultations and a tour of the Dr. Matthew Highlands Pilot Plant — UMaine’s state-of-the-art facility that assists food processors, entrepreneurs, farmers, researchers and students in the food industry.

From Recipe to Market: Learn to Cash in on Opportunities

March 25th, 2014 9:09 AM

University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a six-session course that covers moving a specialty food product to market.

The class, which meets 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. each Tuesday, April 8–29, 2014 will be held in two locations — 7 County Drive, Skowhegan, and 165 East Main St., Dover-Foxcroft. Two May class sessions will include individual business consultations and a tour of the Dr. Matthew Highlands Pilot Plant, a state-of-the-art UMaine facility that assists food processors, entrepreneurs, farmers, researchers and students in the food industry.

Topics to be covered include licensing, safe preparation and packaging of food, assessing potential profits and locating resources to support a developing business. The class is for people operating a value-added business and those seriously considering one; participants must have a specific food product or recipe in mind and are expected to attend all sessions. Presenters include: Beth Calder, UMaine Extension food science specialist; James McConnon, UMaine Extension business and economics specialist; and Kathy Hopkins, Debra Kantor and Donna Coffin, UMaine Extension educators.

Cost is $35 per person. Partial scholarships are available. Registrations must be received by April 1 to reserve a space. More information, including online registration is online. For questions, or to request a disability accommodation at the Skowhegan site, call 207.474.9622 or email tammy.bodge@maine.edu. For questions, or to request a disability accommodation at the Dover-Foxcroft site, call 207.564.3301 or email amanda.miles@maine.edu.