Food safety GAP/GHP trainings for produce growers, handlers

February 25, 2015 in Feature, Kent County Slideshow, New Castle County Slideshow

Delaware Cooperative Extension Announces Food Safety Trainings for 2015

A two track training on food safety practices that reduce the risk of foodborne illness when growing fruits and vegetables. The first session (3 hours) is for those farmers who only grow produce while the second track expands the principles learned in track one to include further processing such as washing and packing of the product for sale.

The class, taught by a team of Extension Agriculture and Family and Consumer Science Educators, offers farmers a Delaware Department of Agriculture certificate for completion of food safety training.

Click to register for GAP/GHP Food Safety courses

In 2015, three basic training opportunities will be offered for produce growers on food safety and good agricultural practices and good handling practices (GAP’s and GHP’s) by Delaware Cooperative Extension. Training covers microbial food contaminants, outbreaks associated with produce, how produce becomes contaminated, Good Agricultural Practices in the field (water sources; animals, manures, and compost; field sanitation; and worker hygiene) and Good Handling Practices from harvest to sales (packing area sanitation, worker hygiene, storage, handling, and shipping).

For growers who have attended previous trainings, we are having two update sessions which will provide the latest information on produce food safety science, industry actions, audit requirements, and the status of the upcoming FDA-FSMA produce regulations. A portion of the session will be spent on proposed water sampling requirements and irrigation water treatment options.

All Sessions will be held at University of Delaware County Extension Offices
New Castle: 461 Wyoming Road, Newark, DE 19716— Kent: 69 Transportation Circle Dover, DE 19901—
Sussex: 16483 County Seat Highway, Georgetown, DE 19947

Dates and Locations:

Basic and wholesale sessions for those who have not attended training in the past:

NEW CASTLE COUNTY – April 16, 6-9 p.m. basic session. Phone (302) 831-2667 to register. Register online.

KENT COUNTY – March 19, 9 a.m.-noon for the basic session with an additional 3 hours for those selling to wholesalers from 12:30-3:30 p.m. Phone (302) 730-4000 to register. Register online.

SUSSEX COUNTY – March 18, 6-9 p.m. for the basic session with an additional 3 hour session for those selling to wholesalers on March 30 from 6-9 p.m. Phone (302) 856-7303 to register. Register online.

Update sessions for those that have already attended trainings:

KENT COUNTY – March 20, 9 a.m.-noon. Phone (302) 730-4000 to register. Register online.

SUSSEX COUNTY – March 24, 6-9 p.m. Phone (302) 856-7303 to register. Register online.

For more information you may also contact Gordon Johnson via email or by calling 302-545-2397

For more information on farm food safety audits, click here >>

2015 Horticulture Short Courses

February 24, 2015 in Feature, Lawn and Garden

UD Cooperative Extension is offering a comprehensive line-up of courses throughout the year. Short courses are designed to give participants up-to-date information and skills that can be applied to what they see and do on the job.   Many classes also offer continuing education credits for Delaware pesticide and/or nutrient management recertification.

New for 2015 is the Landscape 101 series. This series is in direct response to green industry requests for assistance in providing basic information to landscape employees in areas such as:

  • Pruning
  • Plant Identification – Evergreens, Shrubs & Trees, Small Flowering Trees, Herbaceous Plants, Woody Shrubs, Shade Trees
  • Turf Maintenance
  • Soils
  • Weed Identification/Maintenance

Classes are one hour in length and are completely hands-on. Participants can sign-up for individual sessions or for the entire series.

Other short courses offered include:

  • Greenhouse Integrated Pest Management (IPM) – March 7th UD’s Fischer Greenhouse, Newark
  • Pest and Beneficial Insect Walks – June 17th at DE State Univ. in Dover and June 24th at the NCC Coop. Ext. Office in Newark
  • Disease and Insect Identification Workshop – July 8 at UD’s Townsend Hall, Newark
  • Pruning – March 25th at the Sussex Co. Coop Ext. Office in Georgetown, and Sept. 16th at the Kent Co. Coop. Ext. Office in Dover

For additional course and registration information  click here.

University of Delaware Extension Scholars Student Intern Program

February 9, 2015 in Cooperative Extension Scholars, Feature

Student Internship with University of Delaware (UD) Cooperative Extension

2014 extension scholarsDelaware Cooperative Extension connects the public with university knowledge, research and resources to address youth, family, community and agricultural needs.

The goal of Cooperative Extension is to help individuals, families and communities make informed decisions that can enhance their lives.  In so doing, the organization generates and disseminates research-based information, provides focused educational opportunities and builds relationships that create effective solutions.

Internship Purpose:

The Extension Scholars program is designed to follow the service learning model whereby interns will have an opportunity to become fully engaged in organizational service experiences that:

    • Are integrated into the academic curriculum
    • Meet the needs of a community
    • Provide structured time for reflection
    • Help foster civic responsibility

This internship will be awarded to recipients who will be interns during the Summer of 2015.

Application materials must be submitted online by February 27, 2015.

2015 New and Beginning Farmer Training Program

January 27, 2015 in Feature, Lawn and Garden

2014-06-23 10.15.59The new and beginning farmer training program is for new and beginning farmers working in small-scale vegetable and/or fruit production.  Through hands-on training, demonstrations, workshops, field trips and farm tours, as well as self–study, growers will spend an entire growing season learning and growing with Delaware Cooperative Extension, and other, invited agriculture industry professionals.  Although not limited to the following topics, this training will explore the fundamentals of soil fertility and health, basic crop production, integrated pest management, food safety, marketing, business planning and development, and provide an excellent networking opportunity.

This training program is scheduled for the entirety of the growing season.  REGISTER HERE

In New Castle County, meetings are scheduled for the third Monday evening of the month, 6-8 pm, February– May and September-November on February 16, March 16, April 20, May 18, June-July-August (dates to be determined at the start of the training program based on participants’ availability), September 21, October 19, and November 16.  Sessions will be held at the Extension Office, and on the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources campus and cooperating farms.  There will be additional evening and occasional Saturday sessions to accommodate field trips, hands-on activities and farm tours.

In Sussex County, meetings are scheduled for the fourth Monday evenings of the month, 6-8 pm on February 23, March 23, April 27, May 19 (due to the Memorial Day holiday), June-July-August (dates to be determined at the start of the training program based on participants’ availability), September 28, October 26 and November 23.  Sessions will be held at the Extension Office, Carvel Research and Education Center and cooperating farms.  There will be additional evening and occasional Saturday sessions to accommodate field trips, hands-on activities and farm tours.

2015 New and Beginning Farmer Training Program Registration Form

For more information contact Carrie Murphy  (302) 831-2667 or Tracy Wootten at (302) 856-7303.





Delaware 4-H alumni check in to win state $10K in STEM funds

January 20, 2015 in Feature, Kent County, Kent County Slideshow, New Castle County, New Castle County Slideshow

Delaware 4-H Invites Local Alumni to Check In, Help Youth Win $10,000 Science Sponsorship


Tell your friends on social media. Use #4HGrown

Tell your friends on social media. Use #4HGrown

UPDATE: Feb. 10, 2015. Delaware 4-H is currently leading the nation to win the $10,000 Science  Scholarship! Following in second place is West Virginia 4-H, and in third place is Maine 4-H.

January 20, 2015 – Delaware 4-H announced today they are competing in a national contest to win a $10,000 “Innovation Incubator” Science Sponsorship. Local 4-H alumni will determine the outcome.

The contest is part of the 4-H GROWN Alumni Campaign, sponsored by National 4-H Council and HughesNet. The interactive campaign invites the estimated 25 million 4-H alumni across the U.S. to help direct sponsorship funding by checking in, tagging friends and casting votes to bring more science innovation experiences to youth in their hometown communities.

When a local 4-H alum “checks-in” at, Delaware will get one vote closer to winning the $10,000 “Innovation Incubator” Science Sponsorship for the state. With the sponsorship, 4-H leaders will engage local youth in hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities, and will challenge them to design innovative solutions to solve a real community problem.

If Delaware wins a sponsorship, up to two local young innovators will also have a chance to receive an all-expenses paid trip to the flagship 4-H National Youth Science Day event in Washington, D.C., where they will participate in the world’s largest youth-led science experiment.

“We see every day the impact of 4-H in growing confident, caring and capable young people who are skilled for life today and prepared for careers tomorrow,” said Doug Crouse, interim 4-H project leader at Delaware 4-H. “This is an exciting chance for 4-H alumni who also understand the life-changing 4-H experience to help us reach more young people and show them that STEM can be rewarding and fun.”

Through 4-H GROWN, local alumni will also re-connect with the local 4-H that helped them succeed and with a network of millions of 4-Hers around the world.

National 4-H Council and HughesNet are offering this opportunity through their collaboration to spark more youth interest in STEM. The partnership brings hands-on STEM learning experiences to youth across the country, with a focus on small communities where resources for interactive STEM learning are limited.

To check in as a 4-H alum and help Delaware win an “Innovation Incubator” Science Sponsorship, visit


To learn more about the National 4-H Council and HughesNet partnership, visit


Connecting the Dots Through Heart Healthy Nutrition Education

January 18, 2015 in Family and Consumer Sciences, Feature

Xemanhdp Photos- Awesome Pictures Gallery

Xemanhdp Photos- Awesome Pictures Gallery

When I was young, creating connect-the-dot pictures was a fascinating pastime. Moving the pencil, pen, or crayon from dot to dot through space, creating various angles, curves, and character or location features, watching the image appear before my eyes seemed magical.

Investigators in the medical field continue transformational connect-the-dot understanding of the major chronic diseases of our time such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes mellitus. There is a lot of overlap between the risk factors for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, so taking positive action to prevent one condition means that you are also preventing another, connecting-the-dots.

Heart disease refers to coronary artery disease, heart attack, congestive heart failure, and congenital heart disease. The connection between heart disease and cancer is that heart problems can arise from chemotherapy, radiation, and hormone cancer treatment. Spasms of blood vessels or irregular heart rhythms may appear at the time of treatment, while atherosclerosis and heart failure can show up years after treatment is completed. Hormone therapy that effectively inhibits cancer growth can increase the risk of blood clots, heart attack, and diabetes. People with diabetes have a higher- than- average risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Positively, every step taken to keep ABC’s (A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol) in a target range will help lower this risk.

Connecting these intimidating facts to positive steps for prevention is the hallmark of nutrition education programs offered by the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension. Nutritionists, Master Food Educators, and paraprofessionals will be offering the Dining with Diabetes and Eating Heart Smart workshops this winter.

The next Dining with Diabetes workshop series will be held on Wednesday, February 11, 18, and 25 from 9-11am. The location will be the STAR Health Sciences complex (formerly the Chrysler Administration building) in Room 232, Plinth Lab, 540 S. College Avenue, Newark. Participants should be those with diabetes, their family members, caregivers, or support persons. There is a $45 fee, but a scholarship can be requested. Call (302) 831-1239 to request a registration form and further information.

Eating Heart Smart workshops will be provided at YMCA-Bear/Glasgow, 351 George Williams Way, Newark on Thursday, February 19 at 2 times- 12:30 and 6:00pm. Contact Lisa Still at 9302) 836-YMCA (9622) for additional information.

For more information about Cooperative Extension nutrition programs, please visit this link:

Cheryl D. Bush, MS,RDN,LDN

Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator

New Year, New You: How to Keep a Resolution

January 6, 2015 in Family and Consumer Sciences, Feature

2015Almost half of the United States population participates in the New Year tradition of setting a resolution. Unfortunately, studies have shown that only about 8% of these individuals actually follow through and achieve their goal. How can you increase your chances of becoming your “New You” in 2015? Here are a few tips to help your resolution become successful:

Make it Relevant and Reasonable
If your resolution is something that you want to keep, make sure you are actually ready to face it. The more you connect with your goal, the more likely you are to work toward it. Be sure to stay reasonable while setting goals for yourself. It may be more effective to start with smaller achievements and increase them as you become more confident. Take the time to sit and think about how this accomplishment can better yourself. Making a personal resolution that excites you is a key factor for staying focused on this goal.

Be Positive and Aware
Your resolutions should make you feel positive about yourself. To start on the right foot, begin your resolution with “I will…” instead of “I want to….” This simple change can create a more positive and achievable thought process during your planning. Don’t be afraid to change your resolution until you are completely satisfied. Once you are happy with what you have come up with, write it down and make sure you connect with it. It is not a bad idea to write your resolution in multiple places. Some good areas include your calendar, mirror, journal, or as a reminder in your phone. Sharing your resolution with others can make it more concrete and hold you accountable for your actions. Letting your friends and family know about your goals may also expand your social support throughout the process. Increasing yours and other’s awareness of your resolution can help you during the year.

Do Not Leave Room for Doubt

Those who develop clearly stated and detailed resolutions are 10 times more likely to reach their goals than those who do not. No matter what topic you decide to focus on, make sure that it is something you can narrow down to a specific and meaningful goal. Sometimes it helps to break down your established resolution into smaller, detailed steps. If you want to achieve your resolution by the end of the year, try to make smaller goals every 2 or 3 months. That way you can celebrate the smaller achievements, while keeping you positive and reminding you of your ultimate objective.

Looking for Programs?
University of Delaware’s Cooperative Extension may be able to help you achieve your resolution! Check out some of the programs that we offer throughout the year:

Help Spot Invasive Pests!

December 11, 2014 in Feature, Lawn and Garden

Adult spotted lanternfly courtesy of PA Dept. of Ag.

Adult spotted lanternfly courtesy of PA Dept. of Ag.

Invasive pests and plant diseases cause millions of dollars of damage to our food crops and landscape plants each year. Efforts of USDA APHIS, Customs and Border Patrol, and other inspections find and destroy many unwanted invasive or exotic pests, however, some do become established and cause problems for U.S. agriculture. Pests that are located in one area of the country may be spread to other regions by moving firewood or shipping plants or plant products. Home gardeners may be the first ones to see new pests.

One new insect pest is the spotted lanternfly, which may attack grapes, apples, tree of heaven (Ailanthus), and other hosts. Found recently in Berks County Pennsylvania, the inch long, black, red, and white insect is a plant hopper and a potentially harmful plant pest, but is not harmful to people. The spotted lanternfly is native to China, India, Japan and Vietnam, but has been an invasive species in Korea, where it has attacked 25 plant species which also grow in the United States. In the U.S. it has the potential to impact grape, fruit tree and logging industries. This time of year, look for grey egg masses on trees such as Ailanthus. Egg masses may look similar to chewing gum that has been smeared on a tree trunk or stone wall. Please take pictures and collect samples and report any suspect finds to your local Cooperative Extension office or Delaware Department of Agriculture.

Plant for nursery inspection for disease" N Gregory.

Plant for nursery inspection for disease” N Gregory.

This time of year, people bring firewood into homes and insects may emerge from the wood. Firewood should not be moved from state to state, due to the possibility of moving invasive insects. Unknown insects should be collected and sent to your local Cooperative Extension office or Delaware Department of Agriculture.

Plant diseases can also be spread from one area of the country to another. Home gardeners should be very careful, especially when ordering plants such as rhododendrons from home hobbyist growers. Ask whether plants have been inspected for diseases.

12/2/2014 NFG BAK



Delaware Ag Week – January 12-16, 2015

December 8, 2014 in Feature

Mark your calendars for the 10th Annual Delaware Agriculture Week, January 12-16, 2015.  This is an excellent educational opportunity for Delaware agriculture stakeholders to learn best practices and new technologies, meet vendors and network with other agricultural producers.  This year’s event will once again be located at the Delaware State Fairgrounds in Harrington.  Delaware Agriculture Week provides numerous sessions that cover a wide array of topics including small fruits, fresh market & processing vegetables, small flock & commercial poultry, grain marketing, grain crops, hay & pasture, beef cattle, irrigation, direct marketing, and much more.  Nutrient management, pesticide, and certified crop adviser continuing education credits will be offered.

Delaware Ag Week is sponsored by the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, Delaware State University Cooperative Extension and the Delaware Department of Agriculture. Agriculture is an $8 billion industry in Delaware according to a 2010 University of Delaware report which factors in agriculture jobs and related production, goods and services that support the largest industry in the First State.

“We are very excited to be celebrating the 10th year of DE Ag Week,” said Cory Whaley, University of Delaware agriculture Extension agent and Delaware Ag Week Chair. “Ag Week is great event where the ag community can come together for continuing education, to catch up with friends, and talk with local vendors.”

This year, Ag Week will begin on Monday evening with the Fruit session and Beef session.  Please take a look through the program book and make note of the new sessions for 2015 which  include:  Agriculture Best Management Practices- Financing, Weathering These Changing Times, Soil Health, and Growing Delaware’s Agriculture in Urban Communities.

The main meeting area will be located in the Exhibit Hall this year.  A trade show, with more than 8o exhibitors, will take place in the Dover Building.

There  is no fee to attend.  For more information, including an electronic version of the program booklet, be sure to visit the 2015 Delaware Agriculture Week website:

Tasty and Safety: Top Tips for Preparing Turkey

November 25, 2014 in Family and Consumer Sciences, Feature

Photo source: USDA Flickr

Photo source: USDA Flickr

As Thanksgiving approaches we all look forward to a joyful holiday feast with friends and family. However, good food hygiene and preparation is vital to avoid turning your happy celebration into a far less joyful nightmare. Food borne illnesses can cause serious health problems with symptoms of nausea, diarrhea and vomiting spoiling family plans and Black Friday shopping trips.

Food safety expert Kathleen Splane from the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension shares her top tips.

• Make sure you thaw your turkey thoroughly. The best way to do this is to thaw it in the refrigerator. A 15-pound bird can take 3-4 days so allow plenty of time.

• Never thaw a turkey on the kitchen counter or in the microwave. If you don’t have time to thaw the bird in the fridge, don’t panic – there is another method to use in an emergency – however this takes time and some work. Submerge the bird in cold water in a clean sink or pan and set a timer to change the cold water every 30 minutes. It will take around 30 minutes to thaw per pound of turkey using this method. A large bird could take up to 10 hours.

• Cross contamination is a big risk in the kitchen – raw and ready to eat food should be prepared on different cutting boards and separate areas of the counter and always make sure you wash you hands thoroughly.

• Wash fruit and vegetables with water and a brush – harmful bacteria can be found on the skins

• Buy a meat thermometer – never rely of the color of the juice to ensure your turkey is cooked. The thickest part of the bird should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

• If you stuff the turkey ensure that the stuffing reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If the stuffing has not reached that temperature but the rest of your bird is cooked – remove the stuffing and cook it separately until it reached 165 F.

• Planning a buffet? Don’t leave food out for too long and ensure you keep cold food cold and hot food hot. Put cold foods on ice and consider using a hot plate for hot foods.

• Never leave leftovers out for longer than 2 hours. Once you have finished – refrigerate it, freeze it or discard it.

• Lose the restroom hand towel and use disposables.

• Ice in cocktails can be problematic. Make sure that the bar person is not using their hands to scoop ice or has touched the rim of your glass.

• Lastly – throw a packet of dish cloths in your cart when you go to the grocery store. Cleaning cloths support the growth of harmful bacteria and can be a petri dish for harmful bacteria. Wash them daily or throw your scubbies in the dishwasher.