The Portland Press Herald spoke with Extension educator Donna Coffin about the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Piscataquis County handing out free tomato plants. In June, staff members and volunteers handed out 220 cherry tomato plants and donated 50 to prisoners at the Charleston Correctional Facility, hoping to inspire new vegetable gardeners, the article states. “The idea is if they start with one tomato, it is not as intimidating,” Coffin said.
Richard Brzozowski, a small ruminant and poultry specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was interviewed about large garden pests for the latest column in the Portland Press Herald’s Maine Gardener series. Brzozowski said once gardeners notice damage, the first step is figuring out who is responsible. If tracks aren’t visible, he suggests spreading flour on the ground to identify the animal. He adds the two best solutions, no matter what kind of animal is causing damage, are getting a dog that can roam the grounds or putting up a fence.
The Bangor Daily News reported on a meeting at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Blueberry Hill Farm in Jonesboro. About 150 growers, processors, vendors and suppliers gathered at the wild blueberry research facility to listen to David Yarborough, a blueberry specialist for UMaine Extension, discuss this year’s crop and the latest research projects. “Although we had a late start to the season, we’ve had plenty of rainfall — ample rainfall, really — and wild blueberries like cool and wet conditions,” Yarborough said. “So growing conditions have been fairly optimal.” Yarborough said Maine’s crop usually averages about 90 million pounds, and this season he expects the yield to be in the range of 90–95 million pounds.
Sarah Redmond, a Maine Sea Grant aquaculture specialist at the University of Maine’s Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research, was interviewed for a Maine Public Broadcasting Network report about beer made with seaweed at the Marshall Wharf Brewing Co. in Belfast, Maine. David Carlson, the company’s owner, has been consulting with scientists including Redmond about using seaweed in the beverage. Redmond said if researchers can figure out how to farm seaweed on sea farms, then there will be a more sustainable source that could lead to innovation and new products, such as fertilizer, food ingredients, nutritional supplements or beer. NPR also carried the report.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer a workshop for farmers on how to detect internal animal parasites from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9 at J.F. Witter Teaching and Research Center, 160 University Farm Road, Old Town.
Doctors of Veterinary Medicine Jim Weber and Anne Lichtenwalner will demonstrate how to use a microscope to identify common internal parasites of sheep, goats, llamas and alpacas. Cost is $30 per person; registration is required and space is limited to 20.
More information including how to register is online. To request a disability accommodation, call 207.781.6099 or 800.287.1471 (in Maine).
McClellan to demonstrate how to extend farmers’ market fare.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension will host cookbook author Marisa McClellan 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 21, at the UMaine Extension Cumberland County office, 75 Clearwater Drive, Suite 104, Falmouth. McClellan, who penned Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces, will demonstrate urban canning and preserving techniques.
“Teaching city dwellers and home cooks how to extend the life of their farmers’ market purchases throughout the year is my passion,” says McClellan, who learned to can local blueberries, blackberries, and apples from her mother. In addition to canning basics, the book contains seasonal recipes. Spring includes Whole Strawberries in Vanilla Syrup and summer showcases Honey-Sweetened Apricot-Lavender Butter. Fall has Chunky Pear Preserves with Sage and winter wraps up with Quince Slices in Chai Tea Syrup.
Cost is $15 per person. To register online, visit http://umaine.edu/cumberland/programs/meet-marisa-mcclellan/.To request disability accommodations, call 207.781.6099 or 1.800.287.1471 (in Maine).
Image Description: "Marissa McCLellan"
A University of Maine Cooperative Extension composting course was mentioned in a Portland Press Herald feature on composter Geoff Hill, 67, of Belgrade. Hill said he first became interested in composting on April 22, 1970 — the first Earth Day — as a way to improve the planet’s health. In the early 1990s, he took a UMaine Extension course to earn the title of Master Composter. He also joined the Maine Compost Team, a group that won the gubernatorial Teamwork Award during his time of service, between 1992 and 1997.
The Associated Press reported officials with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association say late blight symptoms have been found in a potato field in Buxton. According to officials, late blight is a nontreatable disease that affects potatoes and tomatoes and spreads rapidly in warm and wet conditions. UMaine Extension and MOFGA ask growers and gardeners to take precautions to prevent infections and spread of the disease, according to the article. Maine Public Broadcasting Network, The Republic, Portland Press Herald, WLBZ (Channel 2) and WABI (Channel 5) carried the AP report.
David Handley, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension specialist of vegetables and small fruits at UMaine’s Highmoor Farm in Monmouth, and Renae Moran, a tree fruit specialist with UMaine Extension, were interviewed for a Maine Public Broadcasting Network report titled “Climate change presents Maine farmers with new challenges.” Handley spoke about testing new crops for the region, such as grapes, as the climate changes. Moran, who is currently testing several varieties of peaches, plums and cherries, warns climate change is unpredictable and more research is needed before any farmer is recommended to make a big investment in traditionally warmer weather fruits.
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Maine Harvest for Hunger program was the focus of the latest installment of the “Backyard Gardener” series on WVII (Channel 7). John Jemison, a soil and water quality specialist with UMaine Extension, spoke about the importance of the program that provides produce and recipes for those in need. This week, Master Gardener Volunteers at the Orono Community Garden will harvest greens for about 50 local senior citizens. Since Maine Harvest for Hunger began about 15 years ago, it has provided more than 1.6 million pounds of food for community members, according to the report.