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County Extension

  • Think about food safety when grilling burgers this Labor Day weekend

     Although we can anticipate nice weather for several more months, Labor Day seems to mark the official last cookout of the summer. If you’re having a get together that involves food this weekend, I’m going to once again remind you to think about food safety.

    This time I’m thinking about hamburgers. Test your knowledge of burger safety by answering these two multiple-choice questions.

    Question No. 1

  • Garden success lies in the soil, Part 1

     By Sam Marshall

    Horticulture Agent

     

    Successful gardeners in our region have a dirty secret. And it isn’t that they are jumping over your fence at night causing all the “deer” damage. No, any successful gardener in this area will tell you the key to a beautiful lawn or garden starts with healthy soil and proper soil management. Regardless of what you hear about this area, our soils teem with life that, if managed properly, will alleviate the challenges of coastal gardening.

     

  • Blanching vegetables not always necessary

     At a recent food preservation class, the topic of blanching came up. The question: “Do you always have to blanch vegetables before freezing them?”

  • Recipes from the local farmers market

    Local farmers markets are in full swing right now. If you haven’t visited one of the local markets, there is still plenty of time this season.

    My colleague, Morgan McKnight, family and consumer sciences agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension here in Brunswick County, has been sharing recipes at the Bolivia Brief Farmer’s Market on Thursdays.

  • Time to plant the fall vegetable garden

    Tough economic times and the trendy “local food” movement have soccer moms everywhere discussing strange concepts like pH, side-dressing and those “worms” that ate holes in the tomatoes.

    My inner CPA likes to remind me you can probably buy vegetables more cheaply than you can grow them yourself, but what’s the value of your reconnection with nature? It could be whatever the manicurist charges you to get all that dirt from under your fingernails.

  • Fortunate to have figs

     Our neighbors moved away last year. While we were sad to see them go, something great resulted from their move to a colder climate: We took possession of their fig tree. It was in a large container when we adopted it, but we’ve since planted it in our yard. Both years we’ve harvested figs. They’re ready right now.

  • Visit a farmers’ market

     Buying and eating local foods seems to be a trend with foodies and non-foodies alike. It’s more than a fad. While fads come and go, it looks like our desire for fresh, locally-grown foods is raising and here to stay. The United States Department of Agriculture estimates more than one million people will visit a farmers’ market this week. Are you one of them?

  • More about that deadly toxin, botulism

     In this column several weeks ago, I wrote about a woman who died from botulism toxin after attending a church potluck dinner. She had eaten potato salad made with improperly home-canned potatoes. Everyone seems to know about botulism in canned foods, but there are some other sources of this deadly toxin.

    Before I get into that, here’s a little more background information.

  • Advice regarding fruit and the diabetic

    When asked to bring something to share at a dinner party I usually take some sort of fresh fruit. Fruit is the kind of food that can be served as an appetizer, salad or dessert. Taking a fruit dish is always a good idea, because it assures me there will be some food at the meal I know is healthful.

    I was surprised to hear one of the other guests comment he avoids fruit because of what it does to his blood sugar. Since then, I found an article in a Food and Health Communications newsletter on this very topic written by Hollis Bass.

  • Pest alert: Bagworms now active in landscapes

    By Sam Marshall