James Dill, a pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was featured in the latest installment of the “Backyard Gardener” series on WVII (Channel 7). Dill spoke about common garden pests and diseases such as beetles, woodchucks and late blight and offered advice on easy ways to prevent damage. For beetles, Dill suggests plucking them off plants and placing them in a cup of water with liquid soap detergent, or using traps. The ideal solution for dealing with larger wildlife such as woodchucks and groundhogs is to trap and release them, Dill says.
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.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer a Cooking for Crowds food safety training workshop in Augusta and Skowhegan twice during September.
The Augusta workshops will be offered 1–5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11 and Tuesday, Sept. 23 on the third floor of the UMaine Extension Kennebec County office, 125 State St. The Skowhegan workshops will be held 1–5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16 and Tuesday, Sept. 30 at the UMaine Extension Somerset County office, 7 County Drive (off Norridgewock Avenue), in Skowhegan.
Crystal Hamilton, nutrition and food systems professional, will instruct volunteer quantity cooks on methods for safely preparing, handling and serving food for large groups of people, including at soup kitchens, church functions, food pantries and community fundraisers. The workshop meets the Good Shepherd Food Bank food safety training requirements. Guideline topics include 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. Register online or call 207.622.7546 (for Augusta) or 207.474.9622 (for Skowhegan). For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, call Diana Hartley at 207.622.7546 or 800.287.1481 (in Maine) for the Augusta workshops, and Tammy Bodge-Terry at 207.474.9622 or 800.287.1495 (in Maine) for the Skowhegan course.
David Yarborough, a blueberry specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with the Kennebec Journal and the Maine Public Broadcasting Network 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 told the KJ. “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.
Brenda Mowdy, a 4-H community education assistant with University of Maine Cooperative Extension, and 4-H members were featured in a WVII (Channel 7) report on the group’s work at the Bangor State Fair. “In order to be a state fair, you have to have an agricultural emphasis, and we are it,” Mowdy said of the organization that teaches youth about agriculture.
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.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s free Dining with Diabetes Down East series starts Wednesday, Oct. 1 at HealthWays Regional Medical Center at Lubec. The series continues Oct. 8, 15 and 22. All sessions are from 10 a.m. to noon at the medical center, 43 South Lubec Road.
The community-based program is intended to complement medical care by teaching people with Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, as well as their family members and caregivers, how to select and prepare foods that help control blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure. UMaine Extension registered dietitian and nutritionist Alan Majka will make presentations, lead discussion and prepare nutritious food.
To register, or to request a disability accommodation, call 207.255.3345, 800.287.1542 (in Maine) or complete a confidential online preregistration survey. When 10 preregistrations have been recorded, a series will be scheduled in the Columbia/Milbridge area. To express interest in the series being offered elsewhere in Washington County, and for more information, contact Majka at 255.3345 or email@example.com.
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.
Natalie Springuel of Maine Sea Grant spoke with the Bangor Daily News about the Downeast Fisheries Trail, which showcases the state’s fisheries heritage at about 50 sites, including historical societies, fisheries museums and places such as the Cherryfield Cable Pool, a favorite spot for Atlantic salmon fly fishermen, the article states. “A trend in travel is that people want to connect to the real thing on the ground,” said Springuel, the coordinator of the trail. “They want to connect with local people. They want to know how they make a living. They want to know how to lobster, and how to pull up a trap. They want really concrete experiences to understand a place on a deeper level, and then they want to taste it at the end. So yeah, I think the fisheries trail provides a deeper understanding of a place and its people.”
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.