University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a six-session course that covers moving a specialty food product to market.
The class, which meets 5:30–9 p.m. each Tuesday, April 8–29, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions, or to request a disability accommodation at the Dover-Foxcroft site, call 207.564.3301 or email email@example.com.
Richard Brzozowski, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator, spoke with the Portland Press Herald for an article about Maine’s snow depth and its potential to cause flooding and affect future crops. Brzozowski said the winter’s consistent snow cover is beneficial to gardens and farms. He said strawberry crops benefit from the snow protecting them from the cold, and lawns and vegetable gardens can enjoy nitrogen left behind by melting snow. He also warned a snowpack that lasts longer than usual could delay spring bulbs from sprouting, but added the insulating snow cover means the soil won’t take as long to thaw.
Registration is open for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s annual Maine Grain Conference, which will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 15, at the Spectacular Event Center, 395 Griffin Road, Bangor. The conference is designed for farmers, crop advisers and others involved in the agricultural community.
Featured speakers Klaas Martens and Mary-Howell Martens from Lakeview Organic Farm in Penn Yan, N.Y., will talk about organic grain rotations, production considerations for alternative grains, growing grain for seed and protecting grain quality with proper harvesting, drying, cleaning and storage. The Martens farm 1,400 acres of corn, wheat, barley, oats and legumes. They also operate a feed mill and sell organic feed, crop seed and food-grade grains.
Dorn Cox of the four-generation Tuckaway Farm in Lee, N.H. will discuss grain equipment options for all scales of operation. The grain grower will also give an overview of his 250-acre farm, as well as of the Great Bay Grain Cooperative that shares equipment and expertise.
Ellen Mallory, UMaine Extension sustainable agriculture specialist and conference organizer, will update attendees on UMaine grain research results with graduate students Aaron Englander and Erin Roche. An open question-and-discussion session will be held so participants can tap into available expertise.
Participants will receive two pesticide certification credits and six Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) credits.
Registration is required by Thursday, March 13. Cost is $20 if registered by March 10, $30 after. The fee covers lunch and a snack. Registration is available online. For more information, to register by phone, or to request a disability accommodation, call Meghan Dill at 207.581.3878.
Categories: Campus Announcements; Cooperative Extension; Economic Development; Penobscot County; Statewide; Outreach
Kathryn Hopkins, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator and professor, spoke with the Portland Press Herald about Maine’s maple syrup season and how the colder weather, mixed with warm spells, has been affecting it. Hopkins said some producers in southern Maine have been able to make syrup during the brief warm temperatures, but a lot of people are still waiting for warmer weather before they begin to tap. She said she’s not worried about the late start, and if the weather warms up in a few weeks, there would still be a six-week season.
WABI (Channel 5) previewed the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s program on alternative fuels for farming equipment and transportation to be held in Dover-Foxcroft on March 13. The program is free and co-sponsored by the Maine Highlands Farmers.
The Portland Press Herald advanced the 17th annual Portland Flower Show. The show will include an auction on Sunday, March 9 that will feature items donated by local garden centers, as well as plants and materials used in the show. Funds raised from the auction benefit the University of Maine Cooperative Extension demonstration garden in Falmouth and the Maine Harvest for Hunger Gardens program.
The Morning Sentinel previewed the 20th Rural Living Day that will be held in Thorndike on March 29. The University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Waldo County Extension Association are holding the event that will offer more than 20 workshops and seminars on topics such as how to make cheese, brew beer, attract native pollinators and produce maple syrup.
Alan Majka, associate Extension professor at the University of Maine, received a $3,500 grant from the Healthy Acadia Coalition to fund “Dining with Diabetes Down East.” Majka will work in Washington County, providing diabetes self-management support through diet-related education at several sites. The program will address basic diabetes and diet concepts, and practical skill development regarding planning and preparing meals through hands-on cooking. In Washington County diabetes prevalence is at 10.4 percent. It is estimated that 3.1 percent of Maine adults are unaware that they have diabetes.
Spring meetings and training offered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension were mentioned in the Bangor Daily News article “Maine wild blueberry industry may benefit from farm bill pilot program.” Blueberry growers will gather in March for meetings planned by the UMaine Cooperative Extension in Waldoboro, Ellsworth and Machias. The meetings will include briefings on pollination, weeds, fertilizers, regulations, diseases and pests. The article also stated the Cooperative Extension and Maine Board of Pesticides Control will conduct training in Machias to prepare growers for the private pesticide applicator core exam and the blueberry commodity exam. Both exams will be administered after the training sessions.
“Kitchen Chemistry” is the focus of a 4-H Science Saturday workshop from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 8 at the University of Maine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation.
Youth in grades 6–8 will be challenged to identify a problem or opportunity for innovation and invent a product. Once a product is created, a commercial will be made to raise consumer awareness and interest. Lunch will be followed by a presentation of the Mainely Physics Road Show from 1:15 to 2:30 p.m. in Bennett Hall.
Registration is $15 and includes lunch. Maximum enrollment is 25. Registration is available online. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, call Jessica Brainerd at 207.581.3877.