Agriculture and Food

Ensuring a vibrant and sustainable agricultural industry and food supply

Celebrate Seafood Month this October with these recipes

Jacques Pepin's fish tacos, made with local black sea bass fillets.
Jacques Pepin’s fish tacos, made with local black sea bass fillets. Local fluke or flounder fillets can also be used. Judy Benson / Connecticut Sea Grant

Jacques Pepin’s fish tacos, made with local black sea bass fillets, are an easy and delicious way to celebrate National Sea Food Month this October.
Pepin, world-famous chef and resident of Madison, provided this recipe as part of two collections of 21 recipes from eight Connecticut chefs compiled by Connecticut Sea Grant.
Connecticut Sea Grant is offering these collections, first published in the Spring-Summer 2018 issue of Wrack Lines magazine, as part of the #ShowUsYourSeafood and #EatSeafoodAmerica campaigns this month.

 

 

 

 

PDFs of Recipes of the Sea collections can be downloaded from these two links:

https://seagrant.uconn.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/1985/2018/05/RECIPES.ofthe_.SEA_.pdf

https://seagrant.uconn.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/1985/2018/05/wracklines-Spring-2018-5_7-RECIPES.pdf

2020 Herb of the Year

RUBUS (Brambles) 2020 Herb of the Year Red Raspberry, Black Raspberry, Blackberry & Wineberry

Article by Dana Weinberg, UConn Extension Advanced Master Gardener

Since 1991, the International Herb Society has chosen an Herb of the Year. This year’s choice is the genus Rubus. The name comes from the Latin word ‘ruber’ meaning red. Indigenous to 6 continents and readily hybridized, you can count up to 700 different species within the genus. It’s mid summer and the raspberries, wineberries and even some blackberries are bearing their delicious fruit. What a great time to explore some of the commonalities and differences in this wideranging genus!

A member of the Rosaceae family, all Rubus species bear 5 petalled flowers, like a wild rose. These petals are usually white, but sometimes pink. Each flower has several pistils. Each flower has numerous pollen-laden stamens which attract insects, but many Rubus species are also self-fertile with the ability to set seed on their own. All flower parts are attached to a central coneshaped receptacle (torus). Rubus fruit is an aggregate of small drupelets (individual fleshy fruits surrounding a single seed) attached to the torus.

Members of this genus thrive in well drained, humus rich soils in full sun to part shade. Their water requirement is modest. Rubus stems are called canes. Canes can be green to somewhat woody and are usually covered with bristles, prickles and/or gland-tipped hairs. They spread by seed, tip rooting, or suckering from stolon runners or rhizomes, depending on species.

Berries
Image by Stefani Ecknig, Getty Images

Rubus root stock is perennial, but the canes are biennial. With the exception of some special cultivars, first year canes (primocanes) yield flowers and fruit only during their second season (floricanes), then die. The floricanes are then replaced by new primocanes the following year. Canes can vary in length, depending on type. In the wild, canes tend to bend and arc. In cultivation, canes are commonly pruned and trellised.

Rubus plants have been used since antiquity for food and medicine. Stems, roots, flowers and leaves have been used in infusions, plasters and extractions to treat a wide range of maladies. These include treatments for diarrhea, nausea, stomach ailments, shingles and fevers, as an external wash for wounds, as an antivenom for snakebites, to strengthen gums, to reduce eye inflammation, to cool rashes and as a hair dye. Rubus fruits are full of fiber, antioxidants and vitamins and are delicious to eat.

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Valley View Farm is Connecticut Dairy Farm of the Year

New England Green Pastures Connecticut Dairy Farm of the Year 2020

Learned family gathers for a photo on their farm in North Stonington
Left to right: Timothy Learned, nephew Bradley Tefft, niece Annalise Tefft, sister Marcia tefft, mother Belinda Learned, father Edward learned, Benjamin Learned, Catherine Learned and Liz Lewis.

It is indeed a pleasure to announce that Ben and Tim Learned, owners of Valley View Farm, in North Stonington are the 2020 Outstanding Connecticut Dairy Farmers of the Year for the New England Green Pastures Award Program. Ben and Tim have accomplished the unique achievement of establishing a very successful new dairy farm in only 10 years. The brothers both worked for area dairy farms as they were growing up. Their passion for farming and dairy cattle became even clearer as they attended college and they easily decided that dairy farming would be their vocation rather than pursue other ventures. The brothers, together with their parents, Edward and Belinda, purchased a 130 acre unoccupied dairy farm 10 years ago in the beautiful rolling hills of North Stonington, Connecticut.

Ben and Tim started the farm with eight purchased cows and developed the herd through internal growth and strategic purchases to the current 120 cow herd. The herd is fed 100% BMR corn silage and round bale haylage produced on the farm and rented land and their rations are completed with purchased concentrates. They milk the herd in a flat parlor that they designed and built for cow comfort, cow flow as well as labor efficiency. They have recently completed a barn renovation to convert a tie stall part of the facility to a sand-bedded freestall that the cows fully utilize. The primarily Holstein herd is a high producing herd with high levels of protein. In addition, they have received awards from their dairy cooperative, Dairy Farmer’s of America, for achieving and maintaining high quality milk, which truly demonstrates their commitment to dairy farming.

Tim and Ben enjoy working together in all aspects of the dairy farm and they genuinely believe that having fun should be a component of dairy farming. It is truly a family farm with help from family members. Ben’s wife, Catherine, who helps out on weekends and before her full time job as a physical therapist and Catherine’s sister, Liz, as well as Ben and Tim’s sister, Marcia. In addition, they open their farm to students from the University of Rhode Island so that students can gain hands-on education on dairy farming. Tim and Ben, along with their mother, also have a grass-fed beef operation that yields 24 steers per year.

Together, Ben and Tim have built a dairy farm that is an excellent representation of the viability and sustainability of the New England dairy industry and gives us confidence for the future. Again, congratulations to Tim and Ben Learned for being named the Connecticut Outstanding Dairy Farmers for the 2020 New England Green Pastures Program.

The New England Green Pastures Program has a rich history starting in 1947 with a challenge from the New Hampshire governor as to which New England state dairy farmer produced the best pastures. It has continued with the additional focus on total management and viability of the farm as well as contribution to the agricultural community. This tradition lives on with recognition of the Learned brothers in North Stonington, Connecticut. We also thank the selection committee that consists of former winners and agri-business members.

Article by: Sheila M. Andrew, Ph.D., Professor and Extension Dairy Specialist, University of Connecticut, New England Green Pastures Connecticut Coordinator

Power Up with Breakfast! Go-Grow-Glow!

Written by UConn Dietetics Student Alyson Gaylord

You have probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but why? The term breakfast means “break- the- fast.” After 8-10 hours of fasting as you sleep, your body is looking for calories and energy. Scientists tell us that kids who eat breakfast tend to focus better on their schoolwork and do better on tests. Let’s do it in the healthiest way possible!

mom and boy at a table with food

 

 

Breakfast is the perfect time to teach your kids some fun nutrition tips! It is always good to include foods in your breakfast that make you Go, Grow and Glow!

 

 

*GO with energy using foods like whole grain breads and oatmeal! 

*GROW with protein-rich foods like low-fat milk, yogurt, eggs, lean meats, fish and nut butters!

*GLOW foods include fruits, vegetables and beans!

Get creative at breakfast! Include foods that help your child (and you!) to Go, Grow and Glow! 

Check out these simple and yummy examples! 

  • Starting your day with a boxed cereal made from whole grains paired with cold skim or 1% milk gives your body a ton of nutrition through vitamins, minerals and fiber!
  • A low-fat plain or vanilla yogurt with your own added fruit and topped with low-sugar granola or your favorite dry cereal is a bang up, crunchy way to start your day!
  • Guess what? An egg scrambles in less than 5 minutes on the stove and is an excellent source of protein! Add veggies such as spinach and tomatoes to ramp up the nutrition. 
  • Love peanut butter? Add it to your breakfast by putting some on your toast! Allergic to peanuts? Try sunflower butter for a great substitute.

All of the above will fuel your body in great ways to tackle whatever the day throws your way!

Do you think all breakfast choices are equal? They are not! There are breakfast choices that might make your body grumble at you a bit.  

  • A lot of breakfast-type foods are high in sugar, such as certain cereals, pancakes, donuts and bakery-type items. These foods digest in your tummy pretty quickly and could lead to a quick burst of energy, followed by a really empty feeling, which defeats the purpose of the meal.
  • While smoothies can be great, you should be careful about how many ingredients you add! You could find yourself drinking too many calories and lots of sugar for breakfast. 

If you know your tummy has a hard time eating soon after awakening, try out these grab-and-go food combinations that can easily be made the night before and taken in a lunch box or bag to work or school for a “later morning breakfast”:

  • Apple slices and nut butter
  • Rice cakes and nut butter
  • Fruit cups
  • Peanut butter sandwich with sliced banana
  • Vanilla yogurt with low-sugar dry cereal 
  • Overnight oats (easy recipe below!)

EASY OVERNIGHT OATS

Ingredients:

½ cup raw oats

1 cup milk (preferably low-fat)

1 tsp sweetener of choice (maple syrup or honey) 

Optional toppings: fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, nut butters 

Directions:

Place the oats, milk and sweetener in a mason jar or to-go container. Stir until combined. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight, about 8 hours. In the morning, top with desired toppings and enjoy!

Good luck! Go get your GO, GLOW, GROW on! 

For more breakfast recipes for kids, visit the following link:

https://communitynutrition.cahnr.uconn.edu/recipes/#breakfast

This material is funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

 

 

 

American Lobster Research & Extension Initiative newsletter

American Red Lobster

The first issue of the Connecticut newsletter for the American Lobster Research and Extension Initiative, a project of seven Northeast Sea Grant programs including Connecticut Sea Grant, is now available. The newsletter is part of the regional Lobster Extension Program to complement and enhance the research component of NOAA Sea Grant’s American Lobster Initiative.

Read More: https://seagrant.uconn.edu/?p=6723

Part-Time Agriculture Program Coordinator In-Training Position Open

making the three sisters recipe with members of the Mashantucket tribe
Extension educators make the Three Sisters recipe with members of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

We are seeking a part-time (20 hours/week) Agriculture Program Coordinator-in-Training to work on our Mashantucket Pequot Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program (FRTEP). The incumbent will work collaboratively with a team of Extension professionals, tribal members, and leaders to empower members of Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation (MPTN) and communities through nutrition education and youth engagement. This includes a mix of responsibilities related to youth engagement, nutrition education and agriculture programming. The position is based in the MPTN reservation, which is located in Mashantucket, CT though the individual hired will be an employee of the University of Connecticut.

Read the full position description, including details on how to apply.

Fairfield County 4-H Grows True Leaders: Youth Garden Club Serves the Community

4-h youth at food pantryThroughout the summer, 20 youth in the 4-H Community Garden Club have managed a one-acre garden in New Milford. They were led by leaders Anna Loor and her daughter Amira. Each youth worked eight hours every week at the garden and during 4-H time, learned the principles of seeding, planting, weeding, harvesting and garden pests. Critical thinking skills were used as they solved various gardening problems such as: 

  • Is this a good garden bug or a bad one?
  • How much water do these plants really need?
  • Why isn’t this one growing as well as the others? 
  • How big does this vegetable need to be before I can harvest them?

 As a 4-H club, they had a monthly business meeting lead by youth officers. Youth met with the 4-H Educator weekly to learn how to develop an agenda, lead a meeting, use Robert’s Rules of Order, and meet the criteria for being a club in good standing. After much discussion during the business meeting, it was determined that for their community service project, they would donate one day’s harvest to a local food pantry.

 August 27th was the day they choose to donate the harvest. At 7:30 am, in the misty rain, all 20 youth and their parents started harvesting and cleaning the vegetables. By 11:30, over 300 pounds of produce was cleaned and packed into a truck and the trip to the Danbury food pantry began. At the food pantry, the volunteers were so delighted to receive the fresh vegetables. The pantry opened for the day a few hours after the delivery, with people getting the fresh vegetables that just that morning were still in the ground! 4-H Does Grow True Leaders! The 4-H Community Garden club will continue serving their community in Bethel and Danbury through their civic engagement initiatives.

 

Article by Edith Valiquette

Virtual Learning Circles – New England Women in Livestock Business

cows in pasture

Tuesday, 10/06/2020 to Thursday, 10/15/2020

Virtual Learning Circles

Join us for a two-day focus session where women livestock producers from around New England will tune in virtually to learn how to strengthen communication and improve negotiation skills to become an even more effective employer and business manager. During this program, women producers will have the unique opportunity to work closely in small groups with like-minded farmers from around the region. We are lucky to have UVM Extension Specialist, Mary Peabody, to lead us through this program.

Participants will also have the chance to partake in a facilitated discussion to help shape the curriculum for the upcoming New England Women in Livestock Business virtual conference which will address risks associated with managing a farm business such as, financial planning, market viability, and farm safety. There are three opportunities to participate in these focus sessions with limited space in each session, so pre-registration is required!

Pick from one of the following dates below when you register:

  • Track One, Morning Session—October 6 & 13, 10am-12pm
  • Track Two, Afternoon Session—October 7 & 14, 12:30-2:30pm
  • Track Three, Evening Session—October 8th & 15, 6:30pm-8:30pm

To register click here.

For questions or for special accommodations contact Elaina Enzien at elaina.enzien@unh.edu or 603-679-5616.

 

This material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2018-70027-28588. This program is in partnership with UNH Cooperative Extension, UVM Extension, UMaine Cooperative Extension, New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, and The Tri-State SARE Project.

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