Friday, July 29, 2016

Food Protection Management Courses

The Food Protection Management Training Program seeks to reduce the risk of food borne illness.  Two classes pertaining to food safety will be offered by the Wise County Extension office during the month of August.
  • Food service employees and those who operate a cottage food business  can attend a two hour food handler’s class on August 17, 2016 from 2:00pm to 4:30pm at the Wise County Extension office in Decatur to learn more about good personal hygiene, cross contamination and time and temperature abuse. The registration fee is $20.00 and covers course materials and an official food handler card.
  • Food service managers can attend  a  one day certification training on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (training) followed by the State Exam at the Wise County Extension office in Decatur. The registration fee of $115 includes course book and ServeSafe exam.
Registration deadline is August 12, 2016 and is limited to the first 20 paid participants.
For questions concerning these classes please call 940/627-3341 or come by Texas A&M AgriLIfe Extension’s, Wise County Office, 206 S. State St., Decatur, Texas 76234. The class is taught in English, but Spanish handouts are available if requested in advance.
The Food Protection Management (FPM) Training Program is brought to you by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in cooperation with the Texas Department of State Health Services, and the County Commissioners Court Cooperating.

Antioxidants: Why are they important?

Antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells against the effects of free radicals — molecules produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to tobacco smoke and radiation. Free radicals may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases.
Antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, and carotenoids may help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Plant-based foods are the best sources. These include fruits, vegetables and their juices, whole-grain products, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices, and even chocolate.
What better time to increase your family’s consumption of fruits and vegetables? Summertime typically provides a constant source of seasonal produce.  I encourage you to try a new fruit or vegetable this week for the antioxidant benefit and a whole lot more.
Peaches, a sweet and juicy summer staple, are rich in vitamin A, which supports eye, immune, and skin health.  Lemonade and limeade are a seasonal favorite. Both lemons and limes are a good source of vitamin C, an essential vitamin that supports bone and immune health.
Summer berries come in a variety of colors and offer many healthful benefits. Cherries are rich in potassium, strawberries are full of vitamin C, and blueberries contain flavonoids, a type of antioxidant that supports total health.
We all know carrots are rich in vitamin A, but they’re also a good source of potassium. An essential nutrient, potassium helps keep cells functioning, as well as regulating the balance of body fluids. Take your pick of red, green, orange, and yellow—vibrant sweet peppers are a good source of potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin A.
Green beans are a great source of vitamin K, which helps blood clot. Cucumbers are a great source of magnesium, which, along with phosphorus, is required for bone mineral metabolism. Beefsteak, cherry, grape, yellow, and even green—with so many tomato varieties, there’s a favorite for everyone. Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin A, potassium, and vitamin K.
The following recipe (courtesy of What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl University of Maryland Extension) can be made with any flavor of cream cheese and any fruit you like! Enjoy!

Fruit Pizza to Go
1 English muffin
2 tablespoons whipped fat-free strawberry cream cheese
2 grapes, sliced
2 strawberries, sliced (optional)
2 slices of mandarin oranges

1.         Toast the English muffin until golden brown in a toaster or on a skillet. Spread cream cheese on toasted muffin.
2.         Arrange sliced strawberries, grapes, and mandarin oranges.
Nutrients: Per muffin: Total calories-179; Total Fat-1gram; Saturated Fat-1 gram;  Protein-10 grams; Carbohydrates-32grams; Dietary Fiber-3 grams; Sodium-466 mg.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

2016 Ranchers Gathering

Well, how humbling what a year can do to a cattle producer.  Calf prices average $400 per head cheaper than the last couple of years and it’s definitely now great for moral.  That being said, it is still better than 5-6 years ago.  We all knew prices wouldn’t stay that high, so we are just going to have manage differently.  So mark your calendars for the 2016 Ranchers Gathering which has been set for Thursday, August 11, 2016 at the First Baptist Church in Decatur.  Doors will open around 5:30 p.m. for everyone to visit booths at the trade show.  The trade show will feature over 20 agriculture related businesses offering the newest in technology for beef cattle producers.  Dinner is set for 6:00 p.m.  The $10.00 registration fee covers the meal and makes you eligible for one of the many door prizes given away during the program.

Dr. Ted McCollum, Professor and Extension Beef Cattle Specialist will speak on “Hot Topics for Beef Cattle Producers for 2016”. 
This year’s event is being sponsored by the Wise County Extension Livestock and Forage Committee.  The registration deadline is Tuesday, August 9, 2016.  To register, come by the Wise County Extension office at 206 S. State Street.  Checks can be made to:  Extension Livestock Committee.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Best Foods for Fiber

How much fiber should you eat in a day? According to the USDA Nutrient Database and Berkley Wellness, we should aim for 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories you consume—for example, 21 grams if you eat 1,500 calories a day and 35 grams if you eat 2,500 calories. People with diabetes should aim for even more fiber—15 to 25 grams per 1,000 calories. Consume a variety of foods to get a mix of fiber compounds. Choose whole grains over refined and whole fruits over juices. Compare food labels to find products with more fiber.

Following are the top ten food sources of fiber, in descending order of grams per serving.
1.      Raisin bran cereal, 1 cup- 8 grams
2.      Raspberries, fresh, 1 cup- 8 grams
3.      Beans, cooked, ½ cup- 7 grams
4.      Artichoke hearts, ½ cup- 7 grams
5.      Figs, dried, ½ cup- 7 grams
6.      Pasta, whole-wheat, cooked, 1 cup- 6 grams
7.      Pear, with skin- 6 grams
8.      Avocado, California, half- 5 grams
9.      Broccoli, cooked, 1 cup- 5 grams
10.  Oatmeal, instant, cooked, 1 cup- 4 grams

With beans listed as the number three source for fiber, I thought it a good opportunity to share the following Better Living for Texans Cowboy Salad recipe. The Decatur and Alvord Cares, summer nutrition program participants gave this recipe a huge thumbs up for taste, flavor and ease of preparation.

  • 2 (15 ounce) can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can corn (drained)
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 5 green onions thinly sliced
  •  3 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  •  1 tablespoon oil (canola or vegetable)
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar or lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
Makes (7) 1 cup servings
Combine the first six ingredients in a bowl. Mix oil, vinegar or lime juice, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Pour oil mixture over salad ingredients and toss lightly. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.
Calories 160, Calories from Fat 54, Total Fat 6g 10%, Saturated Fat 0g 0%, Sodium 610 mg 26%, Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%, Dietary Fiber 8g 32%, Protein 6g,

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Stocked Fish Ponds More Susceptible to Oxygen Depletion During Summer Months

Well it has become obvious that summer is here and here to stay.  After the last couple of weeks with temperatures above normal, landowners should watch for oxygen depletion in stock ponds as we enter the dog days of summer.  Last week I came across an article written by Dr. Billy Higginbotham, AgriLife Extension Service, Wildlife and Fisheries Specialist discussing landowners with stocked fish ponds should be aware of possible problems with oxygen depletion as hot, still days become more prevalent.
The summer months, between June and September, when the outside air is increasingly hot and pond water temperatures climb, is the time of year when oxygen depletions occur most for a variety of reasons.   Improper aquatic weed control, too many pounds of fish and the weather all contribute.
Typical ponds can sustain 1,000 pounds of fish per surface acre through summer months. When the environment is optimized and the pond owner stocks heavily, especially channel and blue catfish, and feeds heavily with floating fish rations, the density level can be easily met and exceeded.
Oxygen production via photosynthesis can slow or stop from several hot, still, cloudy days and fish continue to use oxygen until it falls below 3 parts per million gallons which stresses fish. Fish will begin swimming to the surface to try to obtain enough oxygen to survive at the air-water interface.
It is best to check the pond at daybreak when oxygen levels are at their lowest daily levels. The pond owner should act quickly if fish are surfacing for air.  Larger fish are affected by low oxygen levels more than smaller fish.  It’s almost as if they are gasping for air at the air-water interface.  That’s a clear sign of oxygen depletion and the pond owner should act quickly to avoid a complete die-off of their fish.
Pond owners can produce more oxygen for fish in various ways.  Backing a boat engine into the pond and circulating the water is one way to create more oxygen.  Pond owners can also place a water pump in a shallow portion of the pond and spray water along the surface to circulate water along the air-water interface. 
Once oxygen levels are restored, pond owners should investigate the pond conditions that contributed to the depletion.  Thinning fish populations to reduce the pounds of fish the pond supports going into the mid-summer months when hot, still cloudy days are prevalent. 
Controlling aquatic vegetation can also contribute to oxygen depletion.  Oxygen is removed from water as plant tissue decomposes, which can create a scenario where a die off might occur.  Weed control efforts should be done gradually, about 15-20 percent of the vegetation at a time and with a week break between treatments.  An aeration system is a good investment for landowners to avoid problems or prevent future problems.
Remember to watch very carefully as we enter these still, cloudy, and hot days of summer.  Also, be mindful of oxygen depletion and the possibility of losing fish populations.