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County Extension

  • Plants struggle during the Great Heat Wave of 2015

     Back in the dark ages of the early 1980s before Eddie Murphy grew too rich to be funny anymore, he made a movie called “Beverly Hills Cop.” Glenn Frey of earlier and later Eagles fame recorded a song called “The Heat is On” for its soundtrack. While the temperatures haven’t been tickling the triple digits in the past few days, that song title aptly describes most of the month of June.

  • More on hot dogs

     Last week I talked about a few basic food safety tips to think about during the summer months. There are some special foods that we tend to eat more often in the summer than other times of the year. One of these is hot dogs. I just touched on them previously, but checking the facts for that column lead me to think more about this summertime favorite.

  • Leaf-footed bugs: a mid-season pest for vegetables

     Have you ever noticed a small, orange-and-black critter congregating on your summer vegetable plants? Similarly, have you encountered a larger one that appears to be wearing bell-bottom pants? A common mid-season pest, leaf-footed bugs are nuisance pests on many fruit and vegetable crops, as well as nut trees and some ornamental plants. And as the summer wears on, they will become more problematic, so act now to avoid damage to your summer vegetables.

     

    What are leaf-footed bugs?

  • Fall armyworms marching to a lawn near you

     Sam Marshall, Horticulture Agent

    NC Cooperative Extension, Brunswick County Center

     

    Fall armyworms marching to a lawn near you

  • 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.

  • Food safety reminders for the July 4th holiday

     Nothing screams picnic more than the 4th of July. It’s almost required that to eat outdoors on this holiday and I bet everyone has at least one party or other eating event planned for this holiday weekend. Enjoy!

    With that thought in mind, I’d like to offer some quick hot weather food safety reminders. Picnics, outdoor dining, feeding large groups of people and special summer food bring different problems and situations into the picture that you don’t perhaps think about the rest of the year.

  • Take the fruit trivia quiz

     

     

    June is Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month. No one can argue with the fact that most people should eat more fruits and vegetables. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans stress the wisdom of moving to a more plant-based diet, and MyPlate encourages us to fill half our plates with fruits and vegetables at each meal. If you’re counting fruit servings, men and women should eat at least 2 cups of fruit every day and children ages between the ages of 9 and 13 should get at least 1½ cups.

  • Some ideas for reducing wasted food

     Wasted food. You know what I’m talking about: that shriveled-up peach in the back of the crisper drawer. Perhaps it’s something green in a restaurant take-out box. Or a can of split pea soup that no one in your family will eat. This is food that will be thrown away. Estimates show the average American family of four wastes between $1,300 and $2,300 in food each year. That’s a lot of money that could be used for something else.

  • Risk of botulism is real

     I was surprised and saddened to hear someone died earlier this year from a rare foodborne illness –– botulism. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates there are only about 145 cases of botulism in the United States each year and in 15 percent of these cases, the culprit is home-canned foods. While these numbers are low, it can happen.

  • Hurray for hummus, the healthful alternative

     

     

    Hummus has become my go-to appetizer when we have guests. It’s a more healthful alternative to sour cream or mayo-based dips. I like to serve it with fresh vegetables, multigrain crackers or cut-up pita bread.