We are excited to announce that Gayle Turk is the Lyon County 4H Leader of the Month for December!
Gayle has been a volunteer 4-H leader for 17 years,this year begins number 18. “Many years ago when my grandson Chris Turk joined 4-H there was a rabbit/cavy leader here in Fernley. They ended up moving to Pleasant Valley and left Fernley with no leader for rabbit club. We continued to attend Community Club meetings waiting for a leader to take over. After over a year of waiting it was apparent nobody wanted to volunteer. I decided if Chris was going to continue with rabbits I needed to step up and take over the club.” 6 years later the Fernley Little Critters 4H Club is still growing. Members learn the care, grooming, breeds and how to show rabbits and/or cavy. “I have made some wonderful friends from being a leader including leaders, parents and kids from several other county 4-H rabbit clubs.”
Gayle tells us that “the most rewarding part of being a 4-H leader is the relationships that have developed over the years.” Although many of her 4H kids have aged out of 4-H we are still very close and some of them as well as their parents continue to help and support club activities and fundraisers. Families spend countless hours with Gayle and the club planning their annual yard sale, and also help with hosting the club’s annual rabbit and cavy show. “I don’t know where I would be without their help and support.”
The Fernley Little Critters Club will be hosting their 14th annual in 2016. “4-H is one of the best programs available for our youth”. Youth who participate in livestock projects are learning the responsibility and commitment associated with the ownership of an animal. Youth who show animals are also required to complete project record books, which are a great learning tool for budgeting, income, and expenses. “Our youth are the future of our country and I can’t think of a better program than 4-H to help them on their path to success, I look forward to many more years as a 4-H leader”.
Lyon County 4H Program is thankful for all of Gayle’s hard work and dedication to the 4H program. It is the dedicated leaders that make such a good program, Gayle’s 4H club is one of the strongest Rabbit and Cavy clubs in Northern Nevada.
This week, the kids will get to try 3 things: Stokes purple sweet potato, purple cauliflower and a bonus of Fuyu variety persimmons.
The stokes variety is sweet potato is very unusual and is grown exclusively for freida’s. Their website has lots of interesting information, recipes and where you can purchase this unusual vegetable.
Persimmons are a delicious fruit that is best when it is almost over-ripe. There is a very narrow window of peak freshness for this fruit. Most often, stores have under-ripe fruits. Purchase firm fruits several weeks in advance, place them in a paper bag and place them somewhere in your house to ripen. They will be the sweetest once they are very soft to the touch. They will need to be cooked or eaten within a day or two, once they are ripe.
Purple cauliflower is like a lot of the other colored varieties of cauliflower that we have tried. It tastes like the white stuff, but it has slightly different vitamin profile due to the increase in pigmentation. Almost all the color will fade when cooked, especially if it is boiled or heavily steamed. If you want to preserve the color, gently cook it with a high roast for a short period of time, a short steam or a quick stir fry.
This week the kids will be trying kumquats and dates.
Kumquats are often very tart and slightly bitter when you first bite into them, but as you chew them they get sweeter and sweeter. I have found that describing it to kids as being like cry baby gum or war heads candy is a good analogy. It is painfully tart at first, but you chew through that tart burst and the sweet surprise is very worth it. You eat the entire kumquat, peel and all. Kumquats are so great fresh, that I have rarely had enough of them to cook with. I did use them chopped up into a mango salsa with mango, onion, chili and kumquat bits instead of lime juice. It was delicious over a grilled or baked fish fillet. Kumquats would also make excellent marmalade. Finely chop whole kumquats and substitute for the orange in your favorite recipe.
Dates are something that people relate to holiday baked goods and forget about the rest of the year. Dates are very sweet, almost like caramel bites. Dates can be chopped and added to cereal, oatmeal, cookies, cakes and other sweet baked goods. Dates can also be used in savory dishes where an accent of sweetness brings a nice contrast. Try a ham glaze of date puree, clove, cinnamon and allspice. Dates are a great substitute for more processed forms of sweetness. I have used pureed dates to make energy bars or in place of honey or sugar in recipes. It is more dense that sugar, so you might need to modify recipes to reflect that. No one will guess where the delicious caramel sweetness came from.
By Judy Halterman
As the cold weather approached the school garden at Yerington Elementary School, it was time to say good bye to the beautiful vegetable plants and winterize the garden. Over the course of the growing season, the garden produced around 525 pounds of fresh veggies that ended up on families tables that were in need, and also in the school cafeteria for the students to taste. The Kindergarteners and First Graders helped to plant the inside of the Hoop-House with green beans, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, beets, swiss chard, potatoes, watermelon, and red onions. Several boys and girls came down from the Boys and Girls club, twice a week during the summer months to help out with more plumbing, planting, harvesting, and weeding in both the hoop-house and outside growing area. Outside the kids planted winter squash, corn, more green beans, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, sunflowers that produced seeds, and of course, pumpkins. We even planted several pollinating wild flowers along the perimeter of the gardens to attract our bees.
Speaking of bees, we got to experience cross-pollination. There was a big zucchini-watermelon looking veggie/fruit. The bee had pollinated the watermelon, and then found its way to the zucchini, or so we thought! It turned out to be a pumpkin!!! The children and the extension office were in awe. The children learned where their food comes from by interacting in the school gardens. Some were very well educated before they came into the gardens by growing veggies with their families. It was refreshing to see these students explain things to their classmates. Yep, I wouldn’t have changed a thing!! Well…… maybe one thing! We had an intruder move into the hoop house underneath the tomato plants. Mr. Gopher was causing all kinds of tunnels to collapse! By the end of the growing season he had vanished!! Not sure what happened to him, and by the same token, didn’t ask! The students helped to harvest everything inside the hoop house. Next it was time to rototill and plant the fall ground cover crop to help enrich the soil for next year’s crops, and then close the doors for the winter.
This week, the kids will be trying green cauliflower and cara cara oranges.
Green cauliflower is a hybrid of broccoli and white cauliflower. Broccoli and cauliflower are the same species of plant, but due to selective breeding for agriculture and because humans like it. The various colors of cauliflower have slightly different vitamin composition, but nothing significant enough to make much nutritional difference. The colored varieties are becoming fairly common and can be most easily and are highest in quality in the spring or fall with other cabbage related crops. Cauliflower is high in fiber and low in carbohydrates. Steamed or roasted cauliflower can be substituted in may recipes for mashed or roasted potatoes to reduce calories. It is a very neutrally flavored vegetable and can be incorporated into sauces or soups when pureed for thickening and to add texture.
Cara cara oranges are a variety of navel orange that has red flesh that is less acidic and sweeter than the traditional cara cara oranges. Oranges are sweetest when they have a smooth, firm skin and no soft spots. In all citrus, you may notice some brown discoloration on the surface of the skin. One of the defense mechanisms of citrus plants to feeding on the fruit is to send additional sugars to the fruit. This “gums up” the mouth parts of the insects that are feeding on the fruit. If the skin discoloration is not associated softness, the fruit will be much sweeter. The fruit will dry out faster reducing the time it can sit on your table, but I have found the better flavor to be worth it.