We Grow Ashe County NC Cooperative Extension, Ashe County Center

November 2019

We Grow Youth

Our Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, Amanda Butalla, visited 4-H Afterschool to deliver her Sweet vs. Savory program. 4-H’ers participated in smelling spices for a guessing contest. They worked together to identify the spices and decide whether they were “sweet” or “savory.” Afterwards, they were able to sample two snack mixes baked with each of the spice combinations. This program allowed 4-H'ers to learn about the use of spices as healthy, flavorful substitutes for sugar and salt.

On November 15, students from Mrs. Davis’ 8th grade agriculture classes had the opportunity to learn about raising sheep and the issues sheep farmers face. They learned about the gestation period of ewes and had hands on experience with hoof trimming. The highlight was to cuddling with a newborn lamb.

The 4-H Agriculture Club is designed for youth, 5-9 years of age, interested in learning more about agriculture. On November 18, Ag Club volunteers, Shelley McNeill and Judy Bare, taught participants about Christmas Tree production in Ashe County. The children were thrilled to make a tiny Christmas Tree to take home.

2020 4-H Shooting Sports Club Officers (L to R): Jeffrey E., President, Hunter S., Vice President, Evan L., Historian, Daniel T., Safety Officer. Not pictured: Gabby H., Secretary and Emma R., Treasurer

Afterschool 4-H’ers have been busy this past month creating ornaments for their 4-H Afterschool Fundraiser! A lot of hard work, creativity and love has gone into each one of these homemade ornaments. All ornaments are currently on display at the Goss Christmas Tree lot in Raleigh and all proceeds are going directly back to the 4-H Afterschool Program!

We Grow Community

ASU Sociology students drop off donations for the Migrant Education Program.

Michelle Pelayo, Migrant Education Program Coordinator, reached out to the ASU Sociology Department at the beginning of the semester about a service project. They decided on a coat drive for the migrant families arriving for Christmas Tree harvest season. The students ran the drive on campus and delivered the coats they collected.

We Grow Agriculture

Jeff Owen and Brad Edwards test needle retention on different species of fir and spruce. This project is also looking at the use of 1-mcp and improved genetics to extend quality.

Christms tree Postharvest Quality Research is a critical piece ensuring growers retain customers through a positive experience displaying their real tree. This work includes looking at trunk cracking, exploring treatments for extending needle retention for trees and greenery, helping growers with harvest timing, debunking Christmas tree additives, palletizing, heat of respiration, and utilizing improved genetics. Brad Edwards, IPM Program Assistant, works extensively with Jeff Owen, Area Extension Specialist for Christmas Trees, and the NCSU Christmas tree genetics program to carry out these projects. The projects wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of the staff at the Upper Mountain Research Station and our grower partners. This year we want to especially thank Smokey Holler Tree Farm and Severts Tree Farm for their contributions.

Ashe, Avery and Watauga County Cooperative Extension have joined together to form the High Country region in the Visit NC Farms App. The Visit NC Farms App connects the dots in communities across North Carolina and the High Country. Using cell phone technology, residents and visitors can find farms closest to them with products and activities that interest them. Visitors can use the app to explore farms, farmers markets and local restaurants that are off the beaten path and unique to each community. In November, this app has been a one stop shop for visitors seeking Choose and Cut Christmas tree farms in the High Country. This resource is free to farms and businesses because of the generosity of our sponsors. https://visitncfarmstoday.com/highcountry

Staff Highlights

Ashe County Extension Staff created individual profile videos. To get to know the rest of our staff please visit the Meet Our Staff page at ashe.ces.ncsu.edu

Rhonda Church, EFNEP Program Associate, attended the Let's Talk Volunteers training.

Employee Spotlight

Jamie Davis

Office Assistant

Growing up on a farm in Watauga County, Jamie has always had a love for agriculture and animals. She now resides in Ashe County with her husband and son where they operate a Christmas Tree farm.

Jamie began her career with Cooperative Extension in September 2017. She is the first face you see or talk to when you visit or call our office. Her smile and positive attitude are contagious. She is always willing to help and often goes above and beyond to make sure everyone visiting our office has a positive experience.

Cooperative Extension believes in enriching the lives of citizens and Jamie exemplifies this with her passion for helping others.

NC State University and N.C. A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity and prohibit discrimination and harassment regardless of age, color, disability, family and marital status, genetic information, national origin, political beliefs, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), gender identity, sexual orientation and veteran status. NC State, N.C. A&T, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.

Created By
Jessica Ham


John Lambeth, NC Farm Bureau and NC Cooperative Extension, Ashe County Center Staff