Growing Chatham NC Cooperative Extension -- Chatham County -- February 2021

Tri-County 4-H Chicken Chain 2021 Interest Meeting

The Tri-County 4-H Chicken Chain is a multi-county (Alamance, Guilford, Chatham) chicken project where youth receive day-old Ameraucana or Buff Orpington chicks, then raise them to show at our event in October. Youth gain valuable skills in responsibility, life cycles, animal husbandry, and money and budget management.

Chatham County 4-H Achievement Night

More details coming soon!

Piedmont Landscape and Green Industry 2021 Webinar Series

In lieu of our annual, in-person conference, N.C. Cooperative Extension – Forsyth and Chatham County Centers are hosting a series of free, online webinars by NC State Extension faculty and staff, as well as industry experts. The webinars provide continuing education and re-certification credits for green industry professionals, including landscapers, grounds and turf managers, and greenhouse and nursery producers. Home gardeners and those that are involved in the management of HOA areas are also welcome to participate.

Planting Fruit Trees in the Home Landscape

Have you ever been at home and had a craving for crisp apples, sweet peaches or other fresh fruits? Maybe you want to make a pie, or maybe you want to savor the sweet taste of summer straight from the source, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could just stroll over to a veritable fruit factory in your own back yard?

Consider planting your own fruit trees at home so they are available anytime! Many fruit trees can be easy to grow and add an extra aesthetic to your home landscape. One particularly appealing benefit of growing your own fruit trees is that you can harvest the fruits at their peak freshness.

Local Restaurateur Donates Meals Every Week to Help Families

Chatham County restaurateur, Greg Lewis, has been donating meals every week since the Covid-19 pandemic began last March.

Local restaurateur Greg Lewis has been donating meals to families every week since last March! Greg is the president of YOLO Entertainment, the umbrella organization for several entities. Greg’s newest restaurant, The Sycamore, is a steakhouse slated to open soon at Chatham Mills in Pittsboro. Greg’s catering company, 39 West Catering, used to operate out of the Pittsboro Roadhouse, but he closed that restaurant last summer and now is building a new catering kitchen at Chatham Mills. Forest Hall is a beautiful event space at Chatham Mills.

When the Covid-19 pandemic shuttered restaurants last March, Greg’s wife Maria Parker-Lewis reached out to Panda Packs, a local program at Pittsboro Elementary School that provides backpacks full of food for kids at risk of hunger to take home on the weekends and during holidays. Since the Pittsboro Roadhouse was closed last spring due to the pandemic, Maria and Greg offered the restaurant space for storage and as a staging area to assemble the Panda Packs. Greg and Maria then partnered with other Chatham County schools and started preparing and donating meals for the students’ families. During the summer the meals went to the CORA Food Pantry to distribute to local families. At the peak they were donating 175-200 family meals a week. Local residents, organizations, and businesses helped with donations to purchase food. They started providing meals in March 2020 and have provided family meals every week since! On the day I visited Greg last December, they were cooking meals in The Sycamore’s kitchen which is being used until the new catering kitchen is finished. 39 West Catering staff members Marybeth and Zulema were preparing meals that included a protein, sides, salad, bread, and dessert, enough to feed a family. The meals often include food donated from local farms. The meals were going to Communities in Schools which distributes them to families through local schools. If you would like to support Greg in providing meals, you can donate through his Pass a Plate program.

Save the Dates for these 2021 ForestHer NC Webinars

Enjoying your Woods

February 11, 1 to 2:30 p.m. — Recreational Trails & Aesthetic Forestry

March 11, 1 to 2:30 p.m. — Enjoying Your Woods Safely & Citizen Science Projects

Protecting your Woods

April 8, 1 to 2:30 p.m. — Hunting Leases, Land Posting, & Trespassing Laws

May 13, 1 to 2:30 p.m. — Non-Timber Income & Agritourism

June 10, 1 to 2:30 p.m. — Forest Certification & Cost-Share Programs

July 8, 1 to 2:30 p.m. — Property Taxes & Estate Planning

Virtual Tours of Extension's Pollinator Paradise Garden Will Get You Fired Up for Spring!

Sometimes on these cold, wet, dreary winter days it feels like spring will never arrive! Why not brighten your day by looking at the videos Agriculture Agent Debbie Roos made last year of the Pollinator Paradise Garden in Pittsboro? These virtual tours feature many of the garden's 225 different species of plants and the pollinators and other beneficial insects and critters that depend on this habitat. You can learn about new species of plants to include in your garden!

Mark your calendars and plan ahead for these two events coming up in March

Horse Health Clinic

Piedmont Regional Beef Conference

This is a free webinar series on the topics of reproductive strategies, finishing beef cattle on forages, evaluation of carcass quality in live cattle, and warm season forage options and research.

When: Thursdays in March

Time: 7:00 pm

Location: Virtually on Zoom

Chatham Soil and Water Conservation District Announces Opportunity to Apply for Cost Share Programs

The Chatham Soil and Water Conservation District announces an opportunity to apply for cost-share through the North Carolina Ag Cost Share Program (ACSP), Ag Water Resources Assistance Program (AgWRAP), and Community Conservation Assistance Program (CCAP).

Emerald Ash Borer Fact Sheet

Debbie Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

Check out NC State Extension Forestry’s new fact sheet by Kelly Oten on the invasive forest pest, the emerald ash borer. The emerald ash borer is a devastating invasive beetle that has already killed millions of ash trees in the US. First detected in North Carolina in 2013, it has already spread to 61 of our 100 counties, making it one of the fastest spreading invasive forest pests our state has ever seen. Check out this fact sheet to learn more about the biology, identification, management, and more of emerald ash borer and save your ash.

2019 Income of North Carolina Timber Harvested and Delivered to Mills

In North Carolina, timberland is the main land use type covering 58% of the total land in the state, which supports a vibrant forest product industry. In 2019, the total stumpage value of timber harvest, the value that landowners received for their standing timber, was about $578 million, up 20% from a year ago. Moreover, the total value that mills paid (i.e., the delivered value) was about $1.17 billion, up 23% from 2018. For county-wide stumpage and delivered values of timber harvests, visit 2019 Timber Income Data compiled by Drs. Rajan Parajuli and Robert Bardon.

Eastern NC Forest Health Workshop

Date: Febuary 11, 2021

Time: 9:00 am-12:00 pm

This workshop will feature presentations on various topics of forest health by speakers from NC State Extension Forestry, US Forest Service, and NCDA&CS Plant Industry Division. Topics include invasive species, bark beetles, and forest health issues specific to the coastal plain, piedmont, and sandhills areas of NC.

Woodland Stewards Webinars Return in February

*Advanced registration is required*

Woodland Stewards: Woodland Management by Objectives - Taking Stock and Making Plans

Date: February 2, 2021

Time: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Before you can manage your woodlands, you have to have a good idea of what your land is like, what has been there before and what you want to do with it. In this presentation, learn how you can assess your woods, including past land use, current conditions and potential. Knowing what you have, will help you to explore what you can do with it, and determine your management objectives.

Woodland Stewards: The Digital Toolbox for the Woodland Owner There's an App for That!

Date: February 9, 2021

Time: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Woodland Stewards: Safety Tips for Working in Your Woods

Date: February 16, 2021

Time: 1:00pm - 2:00 pm

Woodland Stewards: Getting Started Managing Your Land

Date: February 23, 2021

Time: 1:00 pm -2:00 pm

2021 Farmers of Color Network Infrastructure Grant Fund Now Accepting Applications

Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA (RAFI-USA) is pleased to announce the second round of grants from its Farmers of Color Network Infrastructure Fund. RAFI-USA’s Farmers of Color Network Fund provides support to farmers for new and innovative agricultural projects and ideas that will increase farm viability, support community food sovereignty efforts, preserve traditional and cultural farming practices, as well as assist local food economies.

Upcoming Webinar

Building Resilience in Agricultural & Food Systems through Strategic Partnerships

Eat Well in 2021 with Med Instead of Meds

Extension professionals from across the North Central District of North Carolina have partnered to host a collaborative offering of Med Instead of Meds. The simple, delicious, and satisfying Med Way of eating will keep you coming back for more. It’s great tasting and good for you!

FREE 6-week Virtual Workshop Series

When: Mondays, February 1 – March 8, 2021

Time: 12:00 pm

Braised Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage

Red or purple cabbage is packed with vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Anthocyanins are responsible for the vibrant color and are linked to lower risk of heart disease when eaten regularly. This antioxidant is not only found in purple cabbage, but blackberries, plums, blueberries, eggplant and other purple/blue hued fruits have a great amount of this protective nutrient. So there are many delicious foods you can choose to help protect your heart.

Cabbage that is cooked, added to soups, or eaten raw in a tasty slaw can be an affordable way to add more vegetables to your meals. Enjoy!

Biden Administration Expands Pandemic Food Benefits Program

USDA Says SNAP Benefits Are Inadequate for Most Participants and Begins Process to Extend Emergency Allotments to States and Update Thrifty Food Plan Formula.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced several efforts to expand nutrition assistance to hard-hit families across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic. In support of President Biden’s call to action on hunger and with authorities provided by Congress, USDA is increasing the Pandemic-EBT benefit by approximately 15%, providing more money for low-income families and millions of children missing meals due to school closures. Separately, in response to this national emergency, USDA is looking at ways to increase Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to all participants, especially lowest-income households and those struggling to afford a healthy diet for their families.

Join Tara's Email List!

Our Family and Consumer Sciences Agents are working hard to bring programming to you virtually. Don't miss out on these programs, stay up to date! Send Tara an email and ask to join her mailing list today! She's eager to hear from you!

A Pantry Freeze Can Save You Money

Have you ever heard of a pantry freeze? We are a month into the new year and many of us have started to think of ways to save money; this is where a pantry freeze might be a great way to see some savings in your monthly grocery budget. You are probably asking what a is pantry freeze. It is a chance for you take the time to organize and inventory your pantry. Many of us go to the grocery store weekly and although we have a list, we might find ourselves buying extra items. Perhaps you found yourself buying some random ingredients for a recipe you saw online, but never actually got around to making the recipe, and now they are just left in your pantry.

You will be able to see what you have in your pantry, by taking the time to clean and organize it. We all have used the expression we have nothing to eat, but usually that means we just don’t have any true idea of what we are hungry for. So, I challenge you this month to really look at your pantry.

This process starts with:

• Decluttering your pantry and making a pantry inventory. That way when you are at the grocery store you will not pick up those items that you already have in the pantry.

• Putting items back in your pantry in an organized fashion will really help you keep your inventory updated. Here are a few categories that might work for you:





Prepared Side Dishes

Canned Goods

Breakfast Items

You can choose whatever works for you and your family. This will really help you with meal planning.

• If you have any outdated food that you will not be consuming, you can check with your local food pantry; many of them accept items that have expired. This is a great way to get your pantry in order (if the food doesn't fit into your meal plans) and can help fill someone else's pantry at that same time.

After your pantry is in order and you have taken inventory of what you have available, the pantry freeze process can begin. The best way to cut your grocery budget is to shop from your pantry first.

So, before you go to the grocery store, get yourself organized and make a meal plan by looking at what you have in the pantry to use for those meals first. That way you will have less items to purchase that week. If you need help with meal planning, there are apps that you can download that will help you with this. The app will allow you to list a few ingredients that you have in your pantry and it will come up with some new recipes that you can put in your meal plan. The more you practice this technique the more your weekly grocery spending will decrease, while not wasting items that you have already purchased.

Ham and Egg Show

When I came across this article about the Ham and Egg show, the first thing that popped in my mind was the children's classic book, "Green Eggs and Ham" by Dr. Seuss. This article was in the April 27, 1961 edition of the Chatham Record. According to the newspaper article, the first Ham and Egg show was held in 1960. Realizing the date of the first Egg and Ham show, the wheels in my head started to spin. Could this new event have been inspired by the book? Or could this just have been a coincidence? I'll probably never know the answer to that question, but Green Eggs and Ham was first published on August 12, 1960, the same year as the first Ham and Egg Show. Regardless of what the inspiration was for the Ham and Egg Show, this event grew very popular within the year's time. The first Egg and Ham show had thirty-eight hams and fourteen dozen eggs entered. By the second year the numbers grew to fifty hams entered and thirty-two dozen eggs. At this 1961 event fourteen blue ribbon hams were selected and eight dozen blue ribbon eggs. Two grand champions were chosen as well. James F. Baldwin of Route 1 Pittsboro, claimed the Grand Champion Ham and Laura L. Lee of Moncure claimed the Grand Champion Eggs. Cash prizes were awarded to the winners of this event. After the judging of the Ham and Eggs there were demonstrations presented by Extension Agents from NC State and NC A&T. Of course, the best part of this event was the fresh ham biscuits that were prepared and served by several Home Demonstration Clubs from the area.

I'm not sure how long this event continued to run, but if it should ever return I know that I will be the first one in line to get a hot ham biscuit! There's nothing better than a good, homemade, biscuit with country ham piled in between the sliced biscuit.

The article and photo below are from the Chatham Record. I colored the photo to bring it to life and for better viewing purposes. Do you know more about this event? If so, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to send me an email.

Celebrating Chatham County's 250th Birthday in 2021

On December 5, 1770, a bill to establish Chatham County was introduced at the Colonial Assembly held at New Berne. This bill was ratified on January 26, 1771, and became effective April 1, 1771, thus making 2021 the Semiquincentennial (e.g. 250th anniversary) of Chatham County. In this video, Gary Simpson portrays John Brooks, one of Chatham County’s first legislators, and presents a resolution to declare 2021 the Semiquincentennial of Chatham County.

N.C. Cooperative Extension prohibits discrimination and harassment regardless of age, color, disability, family and marital status, gender identity, national origin, political beliefs, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation and veteran status. NC State University, N.C. A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture and local governments cooperating.

Created By
Tiffany Hancock


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