The Portland Press Herald previewed the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s sixth annual Backyard Locavore Day on Aug. 9. Several UMaine Extension experts will be on hand during self-guided tours of six backyards in Freeport and Brunswick. Visitors can learn do-it-yourself strategies for becoming a locavore, or a person who eats food locally grown and produced. Demonstrations and talk topics will include vegetable and square-foot gardening, backyard composting, greenhouses and beekeeping. 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.
David Yarborough, a blueberry specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with the Kennebec Journal about blueberry picking and this year’s harvest. Yarborough said the season started last week in central Maine, with reports of a good crop. Down East barrens will likely be ready for harvesting next week, he added. “The season is running a little later than usual because of the cold spring,” he said. “I think the pickings are pretty excellent.” He recommended picking berries that are fully blue. “When you pick your own, you know it’s fresh,” he said.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardener Volunteer training begins from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 2, at the Washington County UMaine Extension office, 28 Center St., Machias.
The 40-hour course provides intensive instruction on growing fruits and vegetables. In exchange for the training, participants volunteer their time and expertise in gardening-related community projects.
Cost is $220; limited scholarships are available. Monday, Aug. 25 is the application deadline. For more information, or to request an application or disability accommodation, call 800.287.1542 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tri-Town Weekly interviewed Kate McCarty, a food preservation community education assistant with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, in advance of UMaine Extension’s sixth annual Backyard Locavore Day on Aug. 9. McCarty will be one of several experts on hand for guided tours of backyards in Freeport and Brunswick for the event. During McCarty’s tour in Freeport, she will demonstrate how to increase self-sufficiency to meet food needs through backyard gardening techniques and food preservation methods. “I love Maine and believe it produces incredible food. I take every opportunity to support our local food producers, and it’s easy to do so with so many talented chefs, farmers, bakers, cheese makers and brewers,” McCarty said.
David Fuller, an agricultural and non-timber forest products professional with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was interviewed by the Portland Press Herald for an article about the increase of garlic in Maine gardens. According to UMaine Extension, about 100 farmers around the state grow garlic and that number is on the rise, Fuller said. He added Mainers are now growing about 70 different varieties. Fuller also spoke about the Maine Garlic Project, a research study he started in 2010 with crops specialist Steven Johnson. The study, which concluded last year, was intended to encourage more garlic production in the state among both farmers and home gardeners. “You start talking garlic with some people, and they just don’t stop,” Fuller said of the passionate farmers he has met.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Eat Well Nutrition Program will be offered 9:30–11 a.m. Tuesdays from Sept. 16 through Nov. 4 at the UMaine Extension office, 75 Clearwater Drive, Falmouth.
This program is free for income-eligible adults with dependent children. Participants will receive a certificate upon successful completion of the program, which includes hands-on food preparation, budgeting information and tips on how to shop at farmers markets and grocery stores. Eat Well Program graduates save an average of $36 per month on food bills, according to UMaine Extension.
To register, call 207.781.6099 or email email@example.com. For more information or to request a disability accommodation or an interpreter, call 207.781.6099 or 800.287.1471 (in Maine).
John Jemison, a soil and water quality specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was featured in the latest installment of the “Backyard Gardener” series on WVII (Channel 7). Jemison spoke about common weeds in the garden and gave advice on how to combat them. He said an efficient way to remove weeds is to use a shovel and get all of the roots, then dispose of the plant in the trash or woods. Jemison added the best thing a gardener can do is stay ahead of the game and not let the weeds go to seed.
WABI (Channel 5) reported the order of bond questions for the November ballot was determined by a drawing in Augusta. A bond referring to funds for an animal and plant disease and insect control lab administered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension was selected as Question 2. The question reads, “Do you favor an $8,000,000 bond issue to support Maine agriculture, facilitate economic growth in natural resources-based industries and monitor human health threats related to ticks, mosquitoes and bedbugs through the creation of an animal and plant disease and insect control laboratory administered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service?”
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.