Monday, December 17, 2012

Stain Removal 101

Got a pesky stain and wondering what the best way to remove it is?  Visit the link below for a useful chart on stain removal.


Friday, December 14, 2012

The Produce Lady

The December edition of The Produce Lady in now available.  Click here for some great recipes and helpful information about chestnuts.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Holiday food safety: don’t wear the turkey on your head and other tips

Check out this great article by Ben Chapman on Holiday Food Safety

It includes top 5 tips for Holiday Food Safety as well as links to "Why not to bathe your turkey" and avoiding foodborne illness

Thursday, October 25, 2012

4-H Holiday Plant Sale

Alleghany 4-H is currently taking orders for their first ever Holiday Plant Sale.  There are 3 choices of poinsettias available.  

  • Desktop Size (10"-12") with decorative foil on the pot = $6
  • Large Size (15"-18") with decorative foil on the pot = $12
  • Large Size (15"-18") with decorative foil & a bow = $12
All orders are due by Friday, November 16, 2012 and payment is due at the time the order is placed. 

There will be 2 pick-up days:
Thursday, November 29th from 9am to 4pm
Friday, November 30th from 9am to 4pm

Click here for your printable order form.  For more information, contact the Extension Office at 336-372-5597.

*All proceeds will help send kids to summer camp and other 4-H sponsored activities.*

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Food Safety for Zombies

Be sure to check out this fun but informative blog post by Richard Auffrey, the champion of the1st Annual Tweet & Blogfest at the International Boston Seafood Show 2011. While Food Safety is no joke, a deadly serious matter to all, humor can help illustrate and shine light where a more serious treatment may miss a connection. A humorist as well, Richard has taken an opportunity to expand upon the vital message that "Food Safety is Always Important for Everyone, Everywhere." Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Saving Money at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  Here are some tips you can use to save a little money, time and stress.  If you’ve ever hosted a Thanksgiving for friends and family then you realize how easy and quick the costs can spiral out of control.  Even with great intentions your grocery bill can get way of hand really quick and that’s before you even think about decorating.  Here are a few tips that might be able to help keep this under control.

Ask everyone to BYOD (Bring your own dish).  It’s a lot of work for one person to host what is typically a pretty extensive meal and in addition to all the work can pose a real financial burden on your host.  If you’re doing the shopping, cooking, cleaning and decorating it can all become very overwhelming and then all the fun is out the door.  Asking your friends and family to help ease that burden is a great way to save money on Thanksgiving expenses. You’ll be able to spend less at the grocery store, you’ll also save time cooking which leaves more time for socializing and enjoying the day.  Request types of dishes, not specific ones. For instance, ask people to bring an appetizer, side dish, or dessert.
Volunteer:  We know that there are lots of people in need and the holidays are a great time to help out.  If you want to really want to make it a year to remember, volunteering is a great way to spend your Thanksgiving.   Soup kitchens and Meals On Wheels are always in need volunteers to help out on this important day. Not only would you skip all the buying, cooking, and cleaning, but you’d get to help others and make a great impact on others.   Volunteering together with friends and family is also a great way to be with them while celebrating this day of thanks.  We always are looking for ways that our children can give back to the community.  Let them help out too.  To find out about local opportunities contact you can contact your local food closet, Council on Aging or Ministerium.
Save money on your grocery bill.  One of the easiest ways to save money and ease the sticker shock at the grocery store is to plan ahead and start buying now.  Don’t wait until the last minute to buy everything.   Grocery stores typically do some great promotional and discount opportunities ahead of time.  The reason why it’s so smart to plan ahead for Thanksgiving is because you can start shopping early for deals, and you can use discount coupons for groceries way ahead of time. This can help you save significantly!
 Keep It Simple.    It's tempting it is to make complicated meals with expensive ingredients to give your guests the ultimate Thanksgiving dinner.  But doing this adds money, time, and stress to your Thanksgiving. Why not keep things simple? The more ingredients in a dish doesn’t always make it better.  You can also make stews or casseroles ahead of time giving you more time to enjoy the day.  Holiday dinners aren’t usually the best time to learn a whole new meal or cooking technique.  You’ve got too many other things going on.  Maybe pick one new dish to try but stick to things that are familiar and easy to you.   
    Use Natural Decorations    One of the best ideas I have found is to use natural decorations.  Skip the trip for store-bought Thanksgiving decorations. Use what you have available in your back yard.  Fall leaves and branches, beautiful dark green acorn squash, pine cones, the dried hydrangea in your garden, and other fall fruits that can be eaten later. There are tons of great ideas online for decorating the table the natural way. For those decorations you need to buy, try the dollar store, local famers markets or produce stands for some great deal.

Other quick tips - Try to plan so that all of your pies, casseroles or dishes that bake at the same temperature go into the oven at the same time.  this will save on energy costs.

If you have time make double batches of your Thanksgiving meals. This way you can freeze some and have plenty for leftovers in the months to come. Kill two birds with one stone!

You can also make your own pie crust which is much cheaper than buying it frozen or prepared. Find a recipe that freezes well and make it up to a month in advance. It’s also more delicious!


Growing Together - October 2012

The October Edition of the Growing Together Newsletter is now available.  This newsletter provides tips and advice for parents of preschool children. 


In this edition:

Games and Activities:  Making a Mask
Parenting:  Enjoy the humorous side of parenting
Grandma Says:  Listening to Children
Behavior:  Sometimes Fours and Fives can be "Bratty"
Discipline:  Praise and Criticism
October Activity Calendar

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Extension's Successful Family

The summer edition of Extension's Successful Family is now available.  Find some great tips on Retirement planning after the Great Recession.   There's also information for caregivers, finding the truth about health related questions and ideas for making the most of Bell Peppers.


Monday, October 8, 2012

The Produce Lady - Fall Favorites

October Edition of The Produce Lady is now available. Check out some great info some of your fall favorites:

Monday, July 16, 2012

In Lean Times, Creative Bakers Turn To Desperation Pies

by Jessica Stoller-Conrad

A neat article from NPR on being resourceful during "lean" times. 

In Lean Times, Creative Bakers Turn To Desperation Pies

Friday, July 13, 2012

Community Service Opportunity to Help Support our Soldiers


Approximately 350 single soldiers will be returning home to live in the barracks at Fort Bragg in mid August.

Once they arrive, they receive a no driving period to adjust from their deployment and will not be able to purchase anything they need.

We are asking our NC 4-H Family to assist us with providing at least one bath towel and one twin sheet (fitted or flat). These items are basic necessities that are not provided and would make their welcome home that much better.

Sarah Kotzian has agreed for us to collect at Congress during registration and on Wednesday morning before Hands To Service assembly.

SGT. Angie Bibin, Battalion Family Readiness Liaison from Ft. Bragg, Moore County 4-H’ers, and a 4-H volunteer/alumni will assist with your donation.

Please help us support our military and bring a sheet and towel for our soldiers.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

11 Great Ways Your Smartphone Can Work Smarter in an Emergency

Consumer Action and AT&T offer these tips on how you can use your mobile phone to prepare for and respond to emergencies:

  1. Be Prepared: Use apps, such as FEMA’s emergency preparedness app, to develop and implement emergency preparedness plans for your family, colleagues and loved ones.
  2. Stay Charged: Use solar-powered and hand crank chargers and batteries. These chargers allow you to rely on your electronics and wireless devices even in a power outage.
  3. Stay Connected: Use database and location-based apps to find loved ones during and after a disaster. Register yourself with the American Red Cross “Safe and Well” database and search for other loved ones that have registered to say they are okay. You can also use AT&T FamilyMap, which provides peace of mind by enabling you to conveniently locate a family member from your wireless phone or PC and know that your family’s information is secure and private.
  4. Keep It in the Cloud: Store your important documents, such as personal and financial records, in a password-protected area in the Cloud. New cloud services allow you to access your vital information anytime from anywhere with Internet access and to safely store your work where it’s not vulnerable to a damaged or left-behind computer.
  5. Get Help! Consider downloading a smartphone global positioning satellite app. GPS phone trackers have the ability to deliver short messages and your GPS pinpoint location to a preferred list of contacts of your choosing in the event of an emergency.
  6. Use Quick Response (QR) Codes: QR code technology can help first responders prevent misdiagnoses and adverse drug reactions in treatment of emergency victims.
  7. See & Be Seen/Send an SOS: Use your smartphone as a flashlight when the power is down. There are flashlight apps for almost all smartphones (many of them are free) that use either your screen or camera flash to help you find what you need during a power outage—or help you to be found. Many flashlight apps even offer a Morse code SOS feature.
  8. Help Others: Apps such as Phone Aid offer a series of quick educational and instructive “how to” slideshows designed to help jog your memory on skills such as administering CPR. It also shows basic first aid measures you may need to perform while you wait for emergency personnel to respond.
  9. Locate Resources: Use mobile maps to find help and resources after a disaster. American Red Cross: Shelter View provides a searchable map of shelter locations by address, city, state and/or ZIP code and is updated every 30 minutes from the National Shelter System. It even includes the shelter capacity and how many residents are currently there.
  10. Stay Informed: Create a list of Twitter handles to follow during a disaster. For example, the U.S. Geological Survey is currently studying how they can give better earthquake information via Twitter. Their official handle, @USGSted, tweets out information on occurrences of earthquakes with magnitudes of 5.5 or higher. They currently have a California-specific earthquake handle—@USGS_EQ_CA.
  11. Spread the Word: Use social media and smartphone apps to help disseminate information about severe weather in real time and warn others. The NOAA Now app provides weather info from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, including reports of hurricanes, tropical storms, mainland storms and tornado and severe thunderstorm alerts.
*AT&T is not responsible, nor liable for, any statements, claims, or services provided by third party apps mentioned above or your use of such third party applications.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Feed Your Family Healthy Foods on a Budget

Lorelei Jones was tapped to write a national blog to educate Veteran's and others across the U.S. about the EFNEP program.

Lorelei Jones is the State Coordinator of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). In this capacity, she provides leadership for statewide programming for nutrition education reaching limited resource families and youth. 

Here's the link to her article:

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Pickle Mysteries Solved

Got a pickle question, visit this website for FAQ's.  If you still have questions, let us know.  We'll be happy to help.

National Center for Home Preservation:  Pickles

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pesky Corn Silks

Ever have trouble getting rid of all those pesky corn silks from your corn on the cob??? Take  a look at this video on an easy way to do it in the microwave. It's worth trying and just in time for summer corn.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Hot Weather Tips for Seniors from DHHS

  • Check up on friends or neighbors who live alone.
  • Talk with your doctor and be aware of the medications you take and how they may affect you. For example, know that painkillers can reduce awareness of the heat, and diuretics, which promote fluid loss, can lead to dehydration more often during hot weather.
  • Stay out of direct sunlight, put shades over windows and use cross-ventilation and fans to cool rooms.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing that permits sweat to evaporate.
  • Cool off by taking cool baths or showers or placing ice bags or wet towels on the body.
  • Drink plenty of liquids such as water, fruit or vegetable juices to replace the fluids lost by sweating. As a person ages, thirst declines.
  • Limit intake of alcoholic beverages or fluids that have too much salt, since salt can complicate existing medical problems, such as high blood pressure.
  • Eat small meals and eat more often, avoiding foods that are high in protein, which increases metabolic (body) heat.
  • Join your local senior center or take advantage of buildings made accessible to seniors during excessive heat.
  • Take the heat seriously, and do not ignore danger signs like nausea, dizziness or lightheadedness, fatigue, confusion, labored breathing, chest discomfort, and rapid or erratic pulse. These can all be signs of trouble. Get to a cool place, drink cool water slowly and seek medical help if conditions don’t improve.

Since 1986, the Operation Fan/Heat Relief program has distributed fans and air conditioners to seniors in need through regional area agencies on aging offices. Last year, donations totaled $135,500, and with these funds 10,523 fans and 65 air conditioners were distributed. The project is made possible through donations from Dominion Resources, Duke Energy, Progress Energy and the Valassis Giving Committee.

Alleghany Senior Center:  336-372-4640
Alleghany Social Services:  (336) 372-2411

Produce Lady E-News: July 2012

The July version of the Produce Lady E-News is now available:  Watermelon the Wonder Fruit

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Produce Lady: Canning Green Beans

The Produce Lady (Brenda Sutton) and Dr. Ben Chapman demonstrate proper methods for canning green beans. Recorded live on June 15, 2012.

Canning Green Beans

If you view the video, please complete the SURVEY

Friday, June 29, 2012

Peach Preservation 101

The Produce Lady (Brenda Sutton) and Dr. Ben Chapman, N.C. State food safety specialist, demonstrate peach preservation: freezing and making peach jam.

Peach Preservation Video 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Finding Ways to Add Fruits and Juices to your Breakfast

By:  Leslie Gernon

We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. To eat right is important:
  • Our bodies are coming off 6 to 8 hours of fasting while we were asleep so it’s time to catch up, time to “break the fast”
  • If we fuel our bodies, we fuel our brains – which translates to better concentration, higher alertness, more creativity, and better problem solving skills
  • Eating breakfast reduces our chances of overeating during the rest of the day – helping us to stick to diets, or eat sensibly throughout the day
At the same time, many of us groan “who has time to make breakfast?” during the work week. If we invest in just a few “prep” moments the night before (perhaps while we’re pulling together lunches for the next day) and have simple foods and drinks on hand then breakfast can be quick and easy. So what would it cost to have some of the basic, healthful foods and drinks on hand?

For more, CLICK HERE

Tarheel Homemakers E-news

The June 2012 issue of the Tarheel Homemakers E-news Letter is now available. CLICK HERE

 In this issue:
• Across the State
• ECA Centennial
• Share your Stories
• Centennial Cents
• Past Presidents
• Jane  McKimmon Society
• Centennial Bricks

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fight pain with Greek yogurt

Angela Bowman, Staff Writer | Updated: May 17, 2012  

The next time you find yourself muttering, “Oooh my aching…” take a look in your refrigerator, not your medicine cabinet, for pain relief.

According to a article, probiotics in Greek yogurt makes it a powerful agent in fighting chronic pain. Integrative nutritionist Beth Reardon, director of nutrition at Duke Integrative Medicine, points that the thick yogurt packs a powerful punch in arming bodies in the fight against pain. In addition to probiotics, Greek yogurt contains twice the protein of regular yogurt and is an excellent source of vitamin D.

Probiotics help by preserving a healthy balance of good bacteria in digestive tracks. Reardon noted that it’s especially beneficial after finishing a course of antibiotics, which can disrupt the balance of healthy bacteria.

An article from MyHealingKitchen also reported yogurt’s healing powers with chronic pain attributed to arthritis inflammation. The article specifically noted how yogurt tackles inflammation. A study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, which found that yogurt bacteria, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, significantly decreased C-reactive protein levels in the body, a blood marker for inflammation.

Other ways yogurt helps to fight inflammation include reducing production of body chemicals that trigger inflammation in the joints and balancing blood sugar.

According to, probiotics are also being studied to determine if they could be helpful in treating antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and infectious diarrhea while preventing kidney stones, respiratory infections, and tooth decay and periodontal disease. There is also hope that it could help avoid inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Read more here.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Service Members, Families, Get Free Pass to National Parks

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2012 - Service members and their families will be able to enter all of America's national parks free of charge for a year under an initiative announced today.
The pass – the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Annual Pass, which normally costs $80 – will become available to service members and their dependents on Armed Forces Day, May 19.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar made the announcement this morning, along with National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, at a ceremony at Colonial National Historical Park in Yorktown, Va., the site of the last major battle of the Revolutionary War. The area surrounding the park hosts installations from all the military services, including the world's largest naval base.

"I think when one goes into Virginia and you see all the sites, the Yorktown battlefield and the whole history of the country, it's important that those who have fought in the tradition of making sure the nation's democracy and freedom are protected also have access to these wonderful sites there," Salazar said yesterday in a conference call with reporters.

The passes allow the holder and passengers in a single private vehicle access to some 2,000 sites that charge per vehicle. At sites where entrance fees are charged per person, it covers the pass owner and three adults age 16 and older.

The National Park Service estimates that giving away the passes to service members and their families will result in a revenue loss between $2 million and $6 million, but Jarvis said that won't cause a significant impact on the agency, which collects about $150 million in fees each year.
Military personnel can get the passes at any national park or wildlife refuge that charges an entrance fee by showing their military ID. Family members also will be able to obtain their own pass, even if the service member is deployed or if they are traveling separately.

The pass will be accepted at National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Army Corps sites that charge entrance or standard amenity fees.

The free pass will be made available for activated members of the National Guard and reserves, but not for military veterans or retirees, whom Jarvis said have other opportunities for free or reduced admission, such as the National Patrk Service's "Access Pass" or a seniors pass for those 62 and older.
Jarvis, a 40-year Park Service employee, said that while the free passes are a first, they are representative of the parks' history with the military, which dates back to the Buffalo Soldiers' battles with Native Americans in the mid-1800s and the recruitment of former military members to serve as park rangers under the first NPS director, Stephen T. Mather. The Park Service maintains many military historical sites from Gettysburg to Pearl Harbor, and in World War II even closed some parks, such as Mount Rainier in Washington state, to all but active military members, he said.

Right after World War II, the Park Service invested heavily in infrastructure to prepare the parks for returning service members, Jarvis said. Today's generation of warriors also deserves a deep connection to the parks, he said.
"From my perspective, it is incredibly important to return this group of returning military members to their national parks," Jarvis said. "Nothing is more core to the American experience than the national parks. These are places for quiet and contemplation and to reconnect to the American experience. And we don't want there to be any barriers to that."

The free pass initiative is part of the "Joining Forces" campaign First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, launched last year to rally Americans around supporting service members and their families.

"Our nation owes a debt of gratitude to our servicemen and women who make great sacrifices to protect our country and preserve our freedom," Dr. Biden said in a White House statement. "In recognition of their service, we are so pleased to be putting out a welcome mat for our military families at America's most beautiful and storied sites."

National Park Service

Joining Forces

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Is it really more expensive to eat healthy?

Healthy eating can cost less, study finds

By SAM HANANEL, Associated Press 

WASHINGTON (AP) — Is it really more expensive to eat healthy?

An Agriculture Department study released Wednesday found that most fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods cost less than foods high in fat, sugar and salt.

That counters a common perception among some consumers that it's cheaper to eat junk food than a nutritionally balanced meal.

The government says it all depends on how you measure the price. If you compare the price per calorie — as some previous researchers have done — then higher-calorie pastries and processed snacks might seem like a bargain compared with fruits and vegetables.

But comparing the cost of foods by weight or portion size shows that grains, vegetables, fruit and dairy foods are less expensive than most meats or foods high in saturated fat, added sugars or salt.

That means bananas, carrots, lettuce and pinto beans are all less expensive per portion than French fries, soft drinks, ice cream or ground beef.

"Using price per calorie doesn't tell you how much food you're going to get or how full you are going to feel," said Andrea Carlson, scientist at the USDA's Economic Research Service and an author of the study.

For example, eating a chocolate glazed donut with 240 calories might not satiate you but a banana with 105 calories just might.

In the comparisons, the USDA researchers used national average prices from Nielsen Homescan data, which surveyed a panel of households that recorded all food purchases over a year from retail outlets.

The cost of eating healthy foods has been the subject of growing debate as experts warn Americans about the dangers of obesity. More than a third of U.S. adults are obese, according to the government, and researchers expect that number to grow to 42 percent by 2030.

"Cheap food that provides few nutrients may actually be 'expensive' for the consumer from a nutritional economy perspective, whereas food with a higher retail price that provides large amounts of nutrients may actually be quite cheap," the study said.

The USDA study criticizes a 2010 report from researchers at the University of Washington, which found that calorie-for-calorie junk food is more cost-effective for low-income people than eating healthy.

Adam Drewnowski, director of the Nutritional Sciences Program at the University of Washington and lead author of the prior study, said he stands by his findings that a healthier diet generally costs more. He said there is no government recommendation for how many pounds of food an American should eat each day, but there are federal guidelines that suggest a 2,000 calorie diet.

"Some of these calories are in fact empty calories, so from the standpoint of nutrition they are not terrific," Drewnowski said. "But the empty calories keep you from being hungry, and this is why people buy them, especially lower-income people."

Margo Wootan, a nutrition advocate with the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said some people don't think they get as much value from fruits and vegetables as they get from other foods.

"If they buy a bag of chips for $2, they think it's a good deal, but if they buy a bag of apples for $2, they think it's a lot," Wootan said.
"We need to do more to help people understand that fruits and vegetables are not as expensive as they think they are."

Wootan said shopping smart can make healthy eating more affordable.
Consumers should be more flexible about choosing less expensive fruits and vegetables that are in season and supplementing those with frozen or canned fruits and vegetables so they don't have to throw away as much.

Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Beef It Up

Want to learn about beef, the cattle industry, how to select cuts of beef and some easy ways to prepare it?  Join us for “Beef It Up”.  This informational session includes taste testing as well as tips on food prep, recipes and nutritional information.

Lunch will be provided.  Join us on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm at the Sparta United Methodist Church.   
A fee of $10.00 covers the class along with all food and materials.
Pre-registration is required by May 16, 2012.  Contact the Alleghany Extension Office at 336-372-5597 for more information.
Sponsored by Alleghany ECA. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Poker Run for Readers

The Northwestern Regional Library System, of which Alleghany is a part, has an upcoming fundraiser that we really need your help with.  We have a 'Poker Run for Readers' coming up on Saturday, June 9. (note attachment)  The rain date is June 16.  Freeborne's Eatery & Lodge is the major sponsor for this event, along with Mountain Dreams Realty, Document Imaging Solutions, Cross Roads Harley-Davidson, and South Data who is our IT provider.  The ride will begin at Freeborne's.  Both motorcycles and automobiles can participate and will have different routes.

Plan to ride on June 9 if you can.  Registration is $25 for riders, $15 for passengers.  This includes registration, live music    and a cook out the evening of the event.

Please help us get the word out about this.  Feel free to share this email with your friends.  Pre-registration can be done from now until May 7.  Registration forms are available at all NWRL Libraries in Alleghany, Stokes, Surry, and Yadkin Counties.  Those who pre-register also get a free t-shirt.

Compound from Wild Tomatoes is Natural, Effective Herbicide

A naturally occurring compound derived from wild tomato plants is also a fast-acting, nontoxic herbicide, according to researchers at North Carolina State University.

NC State entomologist Dr. Mike Roe had previously worked with the compound – known as 2-undecanone – as a natural replacement for the chemical DEET in insect repellents. Both he and his NC State colleague, entomologist Dr. George Kennedy, were exploring whether 2-undecanone could be used as an insecticide on plants, when they noticed an unexpected side effect: it killed the plants.

“The discovery was a bit unexpected – we were taking this chemical from a plant, so we didn’t expect it to have herbicidal qualities,” Kennedy says. “But in the wild tomato where 2-undecanone naturally occurs, it is held in tiny hairs all over the vine and fruit, so it never actually comes into contact with the plant itself.” This serendipitous discovery led the researchers to do some further testing, and they found that 2-undecanone provides both  effective and fast-acting weed control. It seems to interfere with a plant’s ability to retain moisture, which kills it quickly.

“On a warm sunny day, you can apply this to a weed and it will be withered and dead within as little as 30 minutes,” Roe says. “It retains its effectiveness even in winter, when other herbicides tend to lose potency. Additionally, the chemical is volatile, meaning that it dissipates after 30 minutes.”

Roe and Kennedy believe that the compound has multiple potential uses: in the organic farming industry, by homeowners for outdoor weed control, by home gardeners and in larger agricultural operations.  “You’ve got something here that is already approved by the Environmental Protection Agency as an insect repellent safe enough for application to human skin,” Roe says. “The herbicidal effects occur with an even lower concentration of the active compound. Plus, it kills plants in minutes and then dissipates, so you don’t have to worry about soil or groundwater contamination.

“What more do you need? You’re fighting plants with plants – it’s perfect.”  

Monday, April 16, 2012

Tarheel Homemaker E-News April 2012

The April 2012 issue of the Tarheel Homemakers E-news Letter is now available.  To find out more out Extension Community Association (ECA) contact the Extension Office at 336-372-5597.   

Plant Sale Information Sheets Available


I am providing the links to some helpful information sheets for the types of plants we sold this year.  Hope this helps.   Please contact the office if you have any questions.


Blackberries =



Michele Hamm

Extension Secretary II

North Carolina Cooperative Extension

Alleghany County Center

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Plant Sale Pick-up Postponed

Plant Sale Pick-Up has been postponed. We have had an unexpected delay in the shipment of the strawberries, horseradish one grape and one blackberry variety. They are to be shipped over night, but we cannot guarantee an arrival time. If you plan on trying to pick up your order tomorrow (4/13), please send an email to michele_hamm@ncsu or call the office at 372-5597, to be sure that your order is complete. If your order is not complete tomorrow, you may pick up your plants on Monday, April 16th or a day/time that is convenient. We will get your order to you as soon as possible and apologize for the inconvenience.

 Thanks for your patience & understanding.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Aspirin and Cancer Prevention

Hi All,

Note this article that just came out in the National Review of Clinical Oncology and posted by Stone Heart News on April 9.  This new report by the American Cancer Society supports and broadens what I mentioned to you at the March Institutes.  Read the article below.

Aspirin, cancer-prevention-care link getting stronger Posted on April 9, 2012 by Stone Hearth News A new report by American Cancer Society scientists says new data showing aspirin’s potential role in reducing the risk of cancer death bring us considerably closer to the time when cancer prevention can be included in clinical guidelines for the use of aspirin in preventative care. The report, published early online in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology, says even a 10% reduction in overall cancer incidence beginning during the first 10 years of treatment could tip the balance of benefits and risks favorably in average-risk populations.

Current guidelines for the use of aspirin in disease prevention consider only its cardiovascular benefits, weighed against the potential harm from aspirin-induced bleeding. While daily aspirin use has also been convincingly shown to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer and recurrence of adenomatous polyps, these benefits alone do not outweigh harms from aspirin-induced bleeding in average-risk populations. But recently published secondary analyses of cardiovascular trials have provided the first randomized evidence that daily aspirin use may also reduce the incidence of all cancers combined, even at low doses (75-100 mg daily).

The current review, led by Michael J. Thun, M.D., vice president emeritus of epidemiology and surveillance research for the American Cancer Society was not designed as a comprehensive review of the literature, but instead is a focused discussion of the key outstanding issues in using aspirin as a cancer prevention tool.

The report says recently published meta-analyses of results from randomized trials of daily aspirin treatment to prevent vascular events have provided provocative evidence that daily aspirin at doses of 75 mg and above might lower both overall cancer incidence and overall cancer mortality. 

In six primary prevention trials of daily low-dose aspirin, randomization to aspirin treatment was associated with an approximately 20% reduction in overall cancer incidence between 3 and

5 years after initiation of the intervention (metaodds ratio [OR] = 0.81; 95% CI 0.67-0.98) and a 30% reduction during follow up more than

5 years after randomization (meta-OR = 0.70; 95% CI 0.56-0.88). Cancer mortality was also reduced during study follow up that happened more than 5 years after the start of aspirin use (meta-OR = 0.63; 95% CI 0.49-0.82) in analyses that included 34 trials of daily aspirin at various doses. Surprisingly, the size of the observed benefit did not increase with daily doses of aspirin above 75-100 mg. Notably, these meta-analyses excluded results from the Women’s Health Study (WHS), a large 10-year-long trial of 100 mg of aspirin taken every other day, which reported no reduction in cancer incidence or mortality.

 “The accumulating data from randomized clinical trials provide an exciting opportunity to reconsider the potential role of aspirin in cancer prevention,” write the authors. They say several important questions remain unanswered, such as the exact magnitude of the overall cancer benefit and which individual cancer sites contribute to this benefit. “However, these new data bring us considerably closer to the time when cancer prevention can be integrated into the clinical guidelines for prophylactic treatment following regulatory review by the FDA and the European Medicines Agency.”

Article: The role of aspirin in cancer prevention. Thun MJ, Jacobs EJ, Patrono C., Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 2012 Apr 3. doi:10.1038/nrclinonc.2011.199. [Epub ahead of print]

Dr. Jackie McClelland, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NC State University

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Produce Lady - April Newsletter

Spring is almost in full swing. Soon a cornucopia of crops will garnish fields and farmers markets alike with a dazzling array of colors and aromas. This month, our team is celebrating diversity in farming and acknowledging those who provide this wonderful produce. In particular, the Hmong community, along with its Asian cuisine and crops, is changing the way North Carolina eats and farms. Perhaps the most delicious and versatile of Asian vegetables grown in the state, bok choy boasts a light, sweet flavor in a crisp, healthy package.

View the entire E-Newsletter HERE!!

Easter Food Safety Risks

With Easter being tomorrow, visit the link for info about Easter Food Safety Risks by Dr. Ben Chapman.

Friday, March 30, 2012

"Pink Slime" - Lean Finely Textured Beef

There has been a lot of recent media coverage of a beef product referred to as "pink slime." Below is a little more information.

This product is known by a few different names within the beef industry including partially defatted beef fatty tissue and lean finely textured beef (LFTB). The product is a high-protein, low-fat beef made from trim (the meat and fat leftover from trimming other beef cuts - steak, roasts, etc). The trim, which might also contain some connective tissue, is spun in a centrifuge and protein is separated out. The product has been approved for use in ground beef products since the early 1990s. Beef containing LFTB must meet federal food safety requirements and undergo food safety inspections. LFTB was developed as a way to reduce waste within the beef industry (and its production/sale subsidizes the cost of ground beef products).

According to the School Nutrition Association (a national, nonprofit professional organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country). This product has also been used in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) since the 1990s as well (The maximum allowable percentage of LFTB that may be formulated into single servings of the ground beef purchased for the NSLP is 15 percent, which is similar to the composition found in many commercially available ground beef products). Of the ground beef purchased by USDA in 2011 for the NSLP, LFTB comprised approximately 6.5 percent of the total volume.

Pink slime/LFTB precursor, beef trim, is edible on its own, and has been linked to higher concentrations of E. coli O157 than primal cuts/ground beef. Because of this, the beef industry treats it with compounds to change the pH of the spun down beef to reduce pathogen levels . Two processes are common - organic acids (lactic, citric, acetic) or the more controversial ammonium hydroxide. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration as well as the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) considers ammonium hydroxide as “generally recognized as safe”(see  In 2005, the USDA limited the amount of ammonia-treated Lean Beef Trimmings in a serving of ground beef to 15 percent. The prime control measures for pathogens in ground beef don't change with the addition of LFTB - temperature control (cooking especially, and refrigeration of raw product) as well as reducing cross-contamination risks. The safe end-point temperature for beef products containing LFTB is no different than those without it (160F for instant kill, or 155F for 15 seconds).

Manufacturers are not required to list LFTB as an ingredient currently - it is estimated that about 70% of commercially available ground beef contains some LFTB. In response to recent requests, USDA announced last week that they will create a system that will allow for schools/districts to choose beef with or without LFTB. Some fast food outlets, like McDonalds, have recently announced that they do not use ammonium hydroxide treated LFTB.

Links of interest:
Recent coverage that has raised this issue:

Story with McDonald's statement:

USDA's choice statement:

2009 NY Times article on this issue:

Iowa State paper describing protein content of LFTB:

Benjamin Chapman, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor,
Food Safety Specialist Department of 4-H Youth Development and Family & Consumer Sciences
North Carolina State University, NC Cooperative Extension

Thursday, March 29, 2012

2012 CEFS Field Day

2012 CEFS Field Day

May 3, 2012
Center for Environmental Farming Systems
201 Stevens Mill Road
Goldsboro, N.C.

12:30 p.m. - Registration
1:00 p.m. - Field Day begins: Farm tours, poster sessions, equipment demonstrations, presentations on key research in the various farm units
5:30 p.m. - Local foods dinner

If you have a disability or desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact the N.C. Agricultural Research Service at 919.515.2717 during business hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at least two weeks before the event to request accommodations.

To learn more about the field day and register online, please visit:
Please Register Early Space is Limited For information contact Lisa Forehand, 919.513.0954 or Friends of CEFS fundraising efforts operate under the auspices of the N.C. Agricultural Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization (tax ID: 56-6049304).

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Buzz on Bees

We’ve had several reports of bee swarms.   A lot of people panic when they see the bees.  They assume “swarm” means "attack" or that these are “killer bees” (we do not have the Africanized, aka “killer”, honey bees in NC).  Swarms are simply nature’s way of forming new colonies.  It happens with wild honey bee colonies and can happen with maintained honey bee colonies probably more with novice beekeepers if they are not paying close attention to their hives.  This is different from swarms that occur with disruptions of the hive or like incidences we had last summer when bees escaped from hives being transported on trucks.  In two Wake Co. area incidents last year, bees covered a Wake County Sheriff Deputy's patrol car on US-64 ( and on a nice Sunday in June, busy bees escaped from hives that were being transported near I-95 in Kenly and took up residence on the canopy over some gas pumps at a truck stop (

Things work a little different with bees compared to humans.  Unlike when your parents encouraged you to leave (or simply waited for you to go away to school and then they changed all of the locks), the current queen bee is the one who leaves with about half or more of the hive occupants.  They land on a tree or another vertical surface (preferably) and hang out while some scout bees going real estate hunting.  Obviously, it’s not easy to find the ideal home for tens-of-thousands of bees. They want an area protected from the weather and (hopefully) predators and a good neighborhood with plenty of food resources (flowering plants).  It can take hours or even days for them to find the ideal spot.  Meanwhile, you find this massive glob of bees clinging to a branch or other surfaces, which are largely in a quiescent (and therefore mostly non-defensive) state.

Understandably, people that are truly allergic to bee/wasp stings will be most concerned. These bee swarms are pretty docile because they’re not defending a nest.  They’re preoccupied with finding new digs.  Of course, this doesn’t mean you can start smacking at them either, but I’ve been on swarm calls with people that handle bees routinely and they've touch the swarm (of course, this is something we caveat with "don't try this at home"!)   You can see a picture of our former colleague Steve Bambara from when we responded to a swarm outside the EMS station located on Varsity Drive near the McKimmon Center.  (

The bees typically leave in a few hours, so if people can "bee patient", the swarm will head off to their new home.  We strongly suggest avoiding spraying them with a pesticide ("green" or not) or even soapy water which will still kill them.  Blasting them with water as an alternative to using chemicals may also produce fatal results if the queen is injured or killed.  Even with schools and childcare facilities and other public places where there's always a lot of genuine concern about the consequences of stings, if it's possible to simply rope off the area and keep everyone away, it will produce positive results as a learning experience for the kids (and others) and another opportunity to protect a wild bee colony.  The duration of the swarm is definitely another one of those "it depends" situations that can actually end up with the swarm staying for a day or two (weather influences their movement).  On some occasions they may actually start producing wax comb in that area and take up permanent residence.   Those are times when it's definitely best to have people contact a local beekeeper to remove the swarm.  If you don't know any beekeepers, refer callers to:

Michael Waldvogel, PhD
Extension Assoc. Professor & Specialist, Structural & Industrial Pests
North Carolina State University
Dept. of Entomology, Box 7613, 100 Derieux Place
Raleigh, NC USA 27695-7613

More Buzz About Pests

The combination of a continued warming trend (it's called "spring"), moderate rainfall (in some areas) and the gradually lengthening day is leading to more mosquito activity.  Although many people (except those in Durham) spent the weekend glued to the TV watching the basketball tournament, it was also a good time to engage in some "Tip and Toss".  As I mentioned a few weeks ago, our most common mosquito (the Asian tiger mosquito) takes advantage of water-filled objects and now is a good time to correct problems before you start hearing that familiar buzz of mosquitoes in your ear when you're sitting outdoors in the evening.

-  Empty or (preferably) get rid of those objects that collect water - old cans, tires, and trash cans missing their lids. 
- Put fresh water in bird baths and pet water bowls
- Remove debris from your gutters and make sure water runs freely through through them. And make sure rainwater doesn't just splash and pool at the at downspout.
- If you're going to collect rainwater to save for watering your gardens, make sure you have a screen over the top to keep out debris and mosquitoes that are hunting for a good playing to lay eggs.
- Clean out drainage ditches in front of your property so that they don't impound water and let it stagnate.

You can find these details and more information on our website:

Michael Waldvogel, PhD
Extension Assoc. Professor & Specialist, Structural & Industrial Pests
North Carolina State University
Dept. of Entomology, Box 7613, 100 Derieux Place
Raleigh, NC USA 27695-7613

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Produce Lady - March Newsletter

Spring is in the air! We say goodbye to winter and give a warm welcome to spring – and all of its wonderful seasonal produce – this month. Soon strawberries will paint N.C. fields red, peppers will peek out from farmers market stalls and luscious greens will canvas the ground. Can you tell we’re eager? Adding to the excitement, National Agriculture Day is March 13, 2012. Recognize and celebrate the contributions made by our farmers this month; we couldn’t eat without them.
View the entire E-Newsletter HERE!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Radon Test Kits Available

There are now a very limited number of FREE radon test kits available.  In order to obtain a kit, you must come in person to the Cooperative Extension office (90 S. Main Street, 3rd floor) to pick one up.  Due to the limited amount available, only 1 kit per household is allowed.  For more information, either come by the office or you may call 336-372-5597.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

4-H Plant Sale

Alleghany 4-H is currently taking orders for their 2012 Annual Plant Sale.  Visit the 4-H blog at or contact the Extension Office at 336-372-5597 for more information.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

SEAFOOD AT ITS BEST - Low Country Boil

If you are looking for budget-wise ways to introduce more healthy seafood into your diet, you should join us for “Seafood at its Best:  Low-Country Boil”, a cooking class sponsored by the Alleghany County Extension & Community Association. 

The class includes taste testing as well as tips on food prep, recipes and nutritional information. Lunch will also be provided.  The class will be conducted on Tuesday, January 31, 2012 from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm at the Alleghany County Wellness Center.  A fee of $10.00 covers the class along with all food and materials. 

Pre-registration is required by January 25, 2012.  Contact the Alleghany Extension Office at 336-372-5597 for more information.