Category Archives: Feature

Got Fresh Fruits & Veggies? Delaware Does!

One thing to look forward to is the first day of Spring, warm weather, and the many opportunities for fresh, local produce the upcoming seasons will bring.  If you know anything about Delaware, it is probably that there is a farm of some type on just about every back road – which is a great thing when it comes to healthy eating!

There are many benefits of buying local produce.  It is fresher than anything you will find in a grocery store which means it will taste better and will most likely contain more nutrients.  Buying from local farmers is also great for our local economy – which is important now more than ever.

Community Supported Agriculture

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is becoming a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer.  Here is how it typically works:  A farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public which usually consist of a box of vegetables and sometimes may also include other farms products such as eggs and milk.  Weekly shares are purchased upfront through a membership or subscription and are available through pick-up or delivery each week throughout the farming season.  For more information on CSAs visit:

delaware freshFarmer’s Markets

A Farmer’s Market is an area where local growers gather once or twice a week to sell their produce directly to the public.  The Delaware Farmer’s Market Guide can be found on the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s website by visiting or by downloading the Delaware Fresh app from the your app store supported by your mobile device.  More information about the app can be found here:

U-Picks / PYOs

A U-Pick or Pick-Your-Own Farm is one in which you travel to a farm and pick fresh produce directly from the field or orchard.  To find a u-pick farm in Delaware and other helpful information about canning and freezing fresh produce, visit

Roadside & Farmside Stands

An informal, but convenient, way to purchase local produce is at a roadside stand.  Roadside stands pop up all over Delaware between May and July and offer many fresh produce selections including tomatoes, sweet corn, cucumbers, peppers and peaches.  Find your closest Delaware roadside stand by visiting

Unfortunately, many children never learn where their food actually comes from.  In addition to great nutrition, farms and farmer’s markets can also provide excellent agricultural and nutrition education opportunities for children and families.  So the next time you get held up behind a tractor or combine, just relax and think of how lucky you are to have so many opportunities to eat healthy in Delaware!




What’s up? Delaware 4H Program Up for the Challenge!

The Delaware 4H Program has been actively reaching schools and youth programs across the state of Delaware to get Delaware youth healthy, pumped, and Up for the Challenge! Up for the Challenge, targeted toward youth in grades 4th-9th, has been taking off across elementary, middle, and high schools, to spread nutritional and fitness knowledge. The program, generally taught in a classroom setting, emphasizes the positive impact daily nutritional habits and exercise frequency can have on our lives. Each group of youth is taught a curriculum based on the MyPlate recommendations of the five food groups, healthy dietary choices, and the three types of exercise; strength, cardio, and flexibility. Throughout the courses the youth involved begin to feel empowered in making healthy nutrition and fitness decisions in their day to day lives. Educators lead nutritional lessons as well as fun group fitness that include a range of activities from stretching, flexibility, and mindfulness, to muscular strength building exercises. The curriculum strongly encourages the reflection of youth on their own habits. This generates a lot of feedback and conversation from the youth, making the lesson entertaining and interactive for both the instructor and participants!

So, why should you be Up for the Challenge?

Up for the Challenge is a rewarding and fun experience to give back to the youth in our community! This program allows for youth to really get involved by including activities that push youth to reflect and recall their own habits. It encourages youth sharing of ideas pertaining to personal nutrition and fitness experiences. Many activities included in the curriculum encourage children to think critically about their health choices and how to make better ones in the future. A curriculum is in place to guide you, but educators have fun putting their own unique spin on the educational activities and nutritional lessons throughout the curriculum! Educators also get to know their students over the brief courses, and feel rewarded after knowing they have made a positive impact in empowering youth to make healthy choices.

How can you get involved?

If you are interested in becoming part of the Up for the Challenge teaching team please contact Breanna Banks at We plan on holding future Train the Trainer sessions, dates TBD. Please inquire for more information.

Delaware Master Gardeners Prepare for Plant Sale at Ag Day 2016!

Photo Credit: Shirley Duffy, Master Gardener
Photo Credit: Shirley Duffy, Master Gardener

Our Master Gardeners are getting ready for Ag Day which will be held on Saturday, April 30 at the University of Delaware. Their sale area will be on the side of Townsend Hall closest to the UDairy Creamery. Grab a cone and walk through the garden to see all they have available including: herbs, baskets, books, bee houses, monarch butterfly plants, and more.

Ag Day is an event for the entire community! Expect to find educational exhibits, live music, plant sales, food, animals, tours, demonstrations, kids’ activities and more, according to UD.

The free program will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., April 26, rain or shine, at UD’s Townsend Hall, 531 S. College Ave, Newark.


Pears on the roadside – Beauty or Beast?

Roland Roth, retired Entomology and Wildlife professor from the University of Delaware, wrote a short piece in the New Journal on Friday highlighting the invasive callery pear that is so prominently blooming on Delaware’s roadsides this April.  He said while they may seem pretty, they are crowding out native plants that once existed on natural land in Delaware.  He went on to suggest that everyone do their part to cut down invasive plants (especially pears, but also burning bush, barberry and butterfly bush) on their properties and replant with native plants that support native wildlife.

A few days later another article appeared in the News Journal.  It seems Patricia Dougherty took a ride downstate and never enjoyed it so much.  “The white trees that were blooming on both sides of the road were beautiful.  Some even looked like white Christmas trees.  I do not know what kind of trees they are.  I would love to know.”  Those trees are callery pears.

In fact, callery pear is spreading like wildfire on Delaware roadsides.  Once we just planted the cultivar ‘Bradford.’  This tree has a nice conical habit, white flowers in the spring and attractive maroon fall color.  What is not to like?  Well, Bradford pears have a nasty habit of branch splitting when the trees reach about 15 years of age.  Large limbs can break out of trees and fall on cars, even pedestrians.  This became such a problem that about 10 years ago, Newark removed all the Bradford pears on Main Street and replaced them with other tree species.  The nursery industry responded to the problem of weak branches by breeding other callery pear cultivars that have better branch structure.  Some examples include ‘Aristocrat’, ‘Chanticleer’ and ‘Redspire’.  While Bradford alone produced a small amount of fruit, the fruit production of callery pears skyrocketed with all these new cultivars for cross pollination.  That is when callery pears started escaping into disturbed areas along our roadways and crowding out native species.  At one time, not too long ago, when you drove past a wooded stretch in Delaware and saw a white tree blooming at the edge of the woods, you could be pretty sure it was a serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis), a beautiful native trees sometimes also called shad bush; and you knew the shad would be running on the Susquehanna. Now, there are few serviceberries remaining and LOTS of callery pears.

By: Sue Barton

A Resolution Was Passed at Legislative Hall

Martell groupOn April 12th at Legislative Hall in Dover, Delaware, a resolution was introduced and unanimously approved recognizing April as the Month of the Military Child.  This is an annual recognition and one definitely supported by Delaware 4-H as this audience is very important to our program.  We continue to look forward to working with these military youth and families in the future.  A special part of this resolution for 2016 was that it posthumously also recognized April as the Month of Rhonda Martell.  Rhonda was a tremendous advocate for military youth and families and worked tirelessly to support and provide them many experiences and opportunities during her time as Program Director of the Delaware 4-H Military Program.  She loved her work and always went beyond the call of duty to do whatever she could, whenever it was needed for this audience as well as other youth in the Delaware 4-H Program.  Joining in this recognition was Rhonda’s husband Ron Martell, and daughter Kayla Martell Gillis, as well as many other family members.  We all miss Rhonda dearly, but certainly continue to remember the outstanding work she did for the Delaware 4-H Program, and the many, many impacts she made in her efforts.

2016 Month of the Military Child  and Month of Rhonda Martell Resolution unanimously approved by the Delaware State Legislature on April 16th.  Attending the recognition were (left to right):  Ron Martell, Kayla Martell Gillis, State 4-H Program Leader Doug Crouse, Brig. General David Deputy of the Delaware National Guard, Department of Education Cabinet Secretary Steven Godowsky and Lt. Colonel Michael Phillips of the Dover Air Force Base.

It’s Paper Clover Time


National Paper Clover Campaign

Continues Support of Delaware 4-H Youth

(Newark, Delaware) – April 13, 2016– National 4-H Council has announced the launch of the spring 2016
4-H Paper Clover Campaign in partnership with Tractor Supply Company (TSC). This event marks the sixth year of collaboration between the organizations on the national in-store fundraiser, benefiting state and local 4‑H programming in each of the communities where a TSC or Del’s Farm and Feed Supply store is located.

The spring 2016 4-H Paper Clover Campaign will take place April 13-24, 2016. Shoppers at the Dover, Seaford, Middletown and Milford TSC stores will have the opportunity to support 4-H in by choosing to purchase paper clovers for a $1 or more at checkout. All funds raised will be donated to 4-H, and will support Delaware 4-H youth development program activities in their county.

“For many years, the Paper Clover fundraiser has allowed us to provide thousands of 4-H youth across the country greater access to 4-H programs,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, president and CEO, National 4-H Council. “We are thrilled about our continued partnership with Tractor Supply Company as it drives the excitement of local community participation and support for 4-H programs, and therefore the success of the 4-H Paper Clover Campaign.”

Last year, across 49 states, the TSC 4-H Paper Clover Campaign provided more than $1.8 million to 4-H across the country. All proceeds raised directly benefit 4-H, with 70 percent of funds being returned to state and local 4-H programs. The effort has provided direct support for local camps, after-school programs and other activities, and has granted scholarships to these events where youth can explore their interests in everything from animal science to robotics.

“The Paper Clover fundraiser is a significant part of Tractor Supply Company’s support of 4-H programs throughout the 1,300 communities we serve,” said Christi Korzekwa, vice president, Marketing, Tractor Supply Company. “We are proud to be able to provide essential funding to more than 1,000 county 4-H programs. These programs make a positive impact on young people that last a lifetime. The continued success of the Tractor Supply Paper Clover fundraisers demonstrate the importance of our 4-H partnership with our customers, team members and communities.”

Once again, funds donated during the national campaign will be tracked online and recorded by state and by store. Visit for more information on the spring 2016 4-H Paper Clover Campaign and to view the donation tracker.

 About 4-H

4-H, the nation’s largest youth development organization, grows confident young people who are empowered for life today and prepared for career tomorrow. 4-H programs empower nearly six million young people across the U.S. through experiences that develop critical life skills. 4-H is the youth development program of our nation’s Cooperative Extension System and USDA, and serves every county and parish in the U.S. through a network of 110 public universities and more than 3000 local Extension offices. Globally, 4-H collaborates with independent programs to empower one million youth in 50 countries. The research-backed 4-H experience grows young people who are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs.

Learn more about 4-H at, find us on Facebook at and on Twitter at

 About Tractor Supply Company

Tractor Supply Company, operates more than 1,400 stores in 49 states.  Tractor Supply Company stores are focused on supplying the lifestyle needs of recreational farmers and ranchers. The company also serves the maintenance needs of those who enjoy the rural lifestyle, as well as tradesmen and small businesses. Tractor Supply Company stores are located in the outlying towns in major metropolitan markets and in rural communities. The company offers a comprehensive selection of merchandise for the health, care, growth and containment of horses, livestock and pets including select Purina and Nutrena brand feeds; a broad selection of agricultural products; and tools and hardware selected for our customers’ needs. In addition, the company sells light truck equipment, work clothing for the entire family, and an extensive line of seasonal products including lawn and garden power equipment products. For more information on Tractor Supply, access the website at


Contact: C. Douglas Crouse, Delaware 4-H Program Leader, 302-831-2997,


Dining with Diabetes in Spanish and English

Ahora es el momento para hacerse cargo de su diabetes!

Now is the time to take charge of your diabetes!

Following a careful meal plan is the first step in managing diabetes and keeping blood sugars in a therapeutic range.

Do you know how to make a daily meal plan?  Do you know which foods contain carbohydrate?  Do you know which foods to avoid that are higher in added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium?

Dining with Diabetes will be offered in English and in Spanish this spring. The class helps by teaching persons with diabetes ways to reduce sugar, salt, and fat in foods, without giving up good taste.

On March 31st, Cooperative Extension will begin a series of classes designed for Spanish speaking people with diabetes and their family members.  The Spanish series will be held in Newark on Thursdays, March 31, April 7, and April 14 from 6:00 – 8:30pm includes diabetes education, cooking demonstrations, and tasting of healthy foods.  After each lesson, participants will take home recipes and knowledge about how to manage diabetes in their lives. A series in English will begin in Dover on April 14th. It will be offered on Thursdays  April 14th, April 21st, April 28th and May 5th from 5:30-7:30.

Registration for Dining with Diabetes is available on the Cooperative Extension website. Download the class brochures here

For more information you can call 831-1239 (Newark) or 730-4000 (Dover).  Newark classes will be held at the New Castle County Cooperative Extension building, located at 461 Wyoming Road, Newark, DE  19713. Dover classes will be held at the Kent County Cooperative Extension Building at 69 Transportation Circle, Dover, DE 19901

UD Botanic Gardens to host annual spring plant sale

The University of Delaware Botanic Gardens will be holding its 24th annual benefit plant sale Friday, April 29 from 3:00-6:00 p.m. and Saturday, April 30 (Ag Day) from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  UDBG Friends members can enjoy an exclusive day to shop at the sale on Thursday, April28 from 3:00-6:00 p.m.

The UDBG’s primary focus is students and learning and the sale serves as the major source of UDBG funding each year.  This year’s featured plant is Aesculus, commonly known as buckeyes. Selections include shrub and tree forms, those with attractive flowers, and some with large seeds that are a food source to wildlife.  This year, the UDBG will also feature daylilies, which are virtually indestructible and require minimal maintenance. An amazing selection of short and tall, early and late, fragrant, and nearly all colors will be offered.   

Check out the UDBG Plant Sale Catalog on the website, .  To enjoy other exclusive member benefits, join the Friends online, or contact Melinda Zoehrer at (302) 831-0153 or

Winner of Delaware’s 2016 Junior Duck Stamp Competition Announced

Best of show - Irish Fang, Group II - age 11UDaily

Iris Fang’s entry “Joining the Flock” has been selected the winner of the 2016 Delaware Junior Duck Stamp competition.

‘Joining the Flock’

Winner of Delaware’s 2016 Junior Duck Stamp competition announced

11:53 a.m., April 5, 2016–The winning entry from Delaware for the Federal Junior Duck Stamp contest was selected on Tuesday, March 29, as artistic renderings of waterfowl and conservation messages from students in grades K-12 were judged at the New Castle County Cooperative Extension Building to determine which would represent the state in the national contest.

Participating competitors selected a waterfowl from a list of species on the official U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service webpage and drew a live portrayal of that species in its habitat demonstrating its natural behavior.

Iris Fang’s entry from the grades 4-6 division, an oil pastel rendering of a northern pintail duck titled “Joining the Flock,” was selected as the best in show and will move on to the national Federal Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest, where it will have the opportunity to be chosen as the Federal Junior Duck Stamp for 2016.

Rain Vasey’s conservation message — “a clean environment means clean wings over water” — was selected to move on to the national contest, as well. Vasey was also in the grades 4-6 division.

Autumn Starcher, Junior Duck Stamp Program state coordinator, said that there were 31 statewide entries this year spread out over four different age groups and that the competition was a great way to get students exposed to science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) curriculum.

“A lot of the coolest science stuff you can think of has a lot of art integrated in, and so integrating art into these science programs really helps foster creativity and innovation,” Starcher said. “It’s a good way to get kids who might not like science so much and are interested in art, or the kids who don’t like art and are interested in science, interested in other programs and see how they’re integrated together. I think that is probably my favorite part of the program.”

Starcher said those interested should participate next year.

“If you’re interested in getting your school or church group involved, you can reach out to me or the local 4-H office,” said Starcher.

The 4-H Junior Duck Stamp Program is an art and science based program that encourages wetland and waterfowl conservation through sharing and expression with art, and meets monthly in the fall and early winter.

For more information on the Delaware Junior Duck Stamp Program, visit the website or contact Starcher at

Division winners included:


Haley Holderman — grades K-3;

Iris Fang — grades 4-6 (best of show);

Dorothy McCormick — grades 7-9;

Grace Helen Mitchell Winston – grades 7-9; and

Daniel Bryant Mitchell Winston — grades 10-12.

Conservation Message

Mason Merritt — grades k-3;

Rain Vasey — grades 4-6 (best of show);

Iris Fang — grades 4-6;

Kyle Merritt — grades 7-9;

Grace Helen Mitchell Winston — grades 7-9; and

Grace Cords — grades 10-12.

Article by Adam Thomas

Photos by Wenbo Fan

The Skinny on Fad Diets

magsIt’s finally Spring, and you know what that means… beach season (and swimsuit season) will be here soon! To get in shape quick, many fall victim to Fad Diets. Don’t let one of them be you!

But what is a Fad Diet and how do you know if the diet you’re following is one?

A Fad Diet is a diet that enjoys temporary popularity and is usually extreme.

Warning signs of a Fad Diet are:

  • Promises of rapid weight loss and no need for exercise.
  • Unlimited quantities of a certain food (think Cabbage Soup Diet or Grapefruit Diet).
  • Strict limitations, like no carbohydrates.
  • Rigid menus that label foods as “good” or “bad”.
  • “Miracle foods” or weight loss supplements.
  • Claims that combining some foods, or not combining some foods is the key to weight loss.

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.  Most Fad Diets do not promote lifestyle change and are not sustainable, which can lead to regaining the lost weight. Some can even be dangerous if followed for longer period of time due to a lack of necessary nutrients.

But, what is a healthy way to lose weight, and keep it off when summertime is long gone?

A healthy diet should be in line with the dietary guidelines, include physical activity, fit into your lifestyle, promote slow weight loss, and include behavior change.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that a healthy diet should:

  • Be rich in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and fat-free or low fat dairy products.
  • Include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
  • Low in trans- and saturated fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugar.
  • Stay within caloric needs.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans state that adults should include 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity.  Resistance training should be included 2 or more times a week.

Check out our speaker bureau topics on nutrition at: