Friday, March 21, 2014

Join a CSA for ultra-fresh, locally grown food

 Looking forward to spring and the growing season, I just joined a Community Supported Agriculture program, or CSA for the first time. Most of the time, joining requires making a deposit now and full payment before receiving any product. But in general, farmers are probably the hardest working, most honest people I’ve ever come across. Paying at the beginning of growing season enables them to purchase seed and start production without having to take out a loan. Then for 20 weeks, I’ll get a share of just harvested, seasonal produce, and the challenge of cooking and consuming all of it. I look forward to that challenge, but most growers help out by providing recipes along with the abundance.
Shopping at a farmers’ market is often a social time and a great way to get to know who grows your food. Some CSA programs deliver at the market, but also offer another delivery option. If you find shopping on Saturday morning inconvenient, joining a CSA may be a better way to get your nutrition through ultra-fresh, locally grown food.
Creeksong Farm
Lasts for 20 weeks, beginning in early June. Tuesday pickups will begin June 3rd, 2014 and end October 14th at the Agricultural Conference Center loading dock or at the farm in Creston. Another option for pick up is at the Watauga farmers’ market on Saturdays. 
Pay a 50% deposit as soon as possible to reserve a space, with the total cost due by May 1st.
Full shares cost $500.00 and receive $25.00 worth of food each week.
Half shares cost $300.00 and receive $15.00 worth of food each week.
Vegetarian shares are available. On weeks when beef and/or eggs are included, vegetarian shares will get more produce to make up the difference in cost. Participants are allowed a one week vacation credit for produce at the farmers’ market.
Jeff and Betty Thomas,, (336)385-6302

High Country CSA
This multi-farm CSA deliverers on Wednesdays in Boone from June 4th through October 15th . Total payment is due by June 1st. There are several options:
Garden Share, $300- contains 4-6 vegetables for small single households.              
Full Harvest Share, $600- contains 7-10 seasonal produce items, including herbs. Appropriate for large households, or small households that rely on produce for a significant portion of their diet. 
Variety Share, $600- includes a garden share plus special items like free-range eggs, breads, chevre, molasses, jams, and more.

Lively Up Farm
Delivery will be at the Watauga County farmers’ market, with another option being considered, starting mid to late May and lasting for 20 weeks. Every share will contain at least 4 to 5 varieties of vegetables. Full shares cost $500 and receive $25 of vegetables weekly. A $300 share is also available, with $15 of vegetables weekly.
Matt Cooper,, 828-773-5893

North Fork Farm
Participants receive a monthly delivery of different cuts of beef, pork and chicken at the Agricultural Conference Center in Boone beginning April 14th through August 11th.  Half share members receive approximately a 10 lb. box monthly at a cost of $350 for the contract period, working well for single persons, couples or small family. Full share members receive approximately a 20 lb. box monthly at a cost of $600, working well for families of 3 or more.
Jimmy or Shelia Greene,, 828-297-5755.

Octopus garden
Participants receive produce every other week beginning May 20th through October 21st delivered on Tuesday nights near downtown Boone. The price for membership is $250, and includes at least $25 worth of produce in the box each delivery. Options for installments are available for those who are interested but can’t pay $250 all at once. Carolina Hampton,

Springhouse farm
This year they are using "Eating on the Wild Side" by Jo Robinson to select the most
nutritious varieties of vegetables that can be grown.
Half Share: Approximately $15 worth of vegetables each week, $300.
Full Share: Approximately $25 worth of vegetables each week, $500.
Saturday shares begin May 25th at the Watauga County farmers’ market and Tuesday shares begin May 28th to be picked up at the farm in Vilas between 2 and 6.

Wild Pilgrim Homestead
The CSA box includes a variety of what they grow on their farm as well as other locally and regionally sourced fruits and veggies. No up front payment is required, and you can place orders weekly as you need them. The CSA is year round, delivering Thursdays at noon at Bare Essentials. $25 per week. Bonnie or Jason Lewis, (828) 455-7808,

4-H Fruit Plant Sale

Growing your own fruits and berries is lots of fun!  Order your plants and benefit Watauga County 4-H

The fruit plant sale order form is available at the Extension office at 971 West King Street, 264-3061 or can be downloaded HERE
Orders are due by Friday, March 28.   The plants will be available for pick up Friday, April 11, 12:00-6:00 and Saturday, April 12, 9:30-12:30

Ways to have fun with fruits and berries:
Grow strawberries in a creative container. The Albion variety does well in containers
Make an edible landscape with blueberry bushes.  Have fun making blueberry pies, pancakes, muffins and more!
Make something crazy in the kitchen.  Invent a recipe, experiment- add raspberries to your salad.  Make a raspberry vinegar.
Want to cool down?  Pop a frozen berry in your mouth.   
Blackberries make great dyes.  Experiment with plant dyes from your garden. 
Apples connect us with our heritage.   Carve dried apple faces with your extra apples. 
Explore fruit drying.  Make your own solar food dehydrator.

So many fun and tasty things to learn and do in the garden!  

Where is Your Teen?

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While adolescence is a time of growing autonomy for teens, they still need their parents.  Parents may be challenged to find the right balance of connection and involvement and control and/or appropriate loosening of control.   Some research shows that parental monitoring is a crucial component of parenting.    Higher parental monitoring created more intrinsic motivation in one study and decreased school trouble and increased school self-esteem. 

Supervision is a protective act involving knowing where the teen is, what they are doing and who they are with.

Here are some examples of teens who receive parental monitoring:
 (a) My parents know where I am after school,
(b) If I am going to be home later, I am expected to call my parents to let them know,
(c) I tell my parents who I am going to be with before I go out,
(d) When I go out at night, my parents know where I am,
(e) I talk with my parents about the plans I have with my friends, and
(f) When I go out, my parents ask me where I am going.

These resources can be helpful in sharpening our parental monitoring skills:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Household water well owners encouraged to use help hotline

Household well owners with questions about their water well system, water quality, or well construction can contact an information hotline operated by the National Ground Water Association at 855-420-9355 (855-H20-WELL).

The hotline is part of a package of information resources offered by NGWA with support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The purpose of the Private Well Owner Hotline is to answer basic water well-related questions. When it comes to specific issues regarding a person’s well system or water quality, the hotline can help guide well owners to the assistance they need.

“Ideally, every well owner should have a trusted relationship with a water well contractor who can answer questions and provide service when necessary,” said NGWA Public Awareness Director Cliff Treyens. “If that is not the case, the hotline can guide well owners to the information or assistance they require.”

The Private Well Owner Hotline operating hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.Eastern Time, except national holidays.

Among the other information resources being offered through the NGWA website,, are free online well owner lessons and webinars.

Protect Your Private Well Webinar Opportunities

Groundwater Protection: How You Can Protect Your Well Water Quality
April 2nd, 1 p.m. Easter Time

Presenter: Tom Christopherson is the program manager for Nebraska’s Water Well Standards and Contractors’ Licensing Program for the Department of Health and Human Services. A licensed water well drilling and pump installation contractor, he has more than 25 years of hands-on field experience, complemented by his 12 years in water regulation enforcement and inspection.

In this webinar, you will learn about some of the common causes of preventable groundwater contamination and actions you can take to protect your groundwater-supplied drinking water from contamination.

Water Well Maintenance: Where Do You Begin?
April 9th, 1 p.m. Eastern Time

Registration link:

Presenter: Gary Hix is a registered geologist, certified well driller and pump installer, and immediate past president of the Arizona Water Well Association.

Water wells are expertly engineered systems that sometimes require maintenance. Learn how to stay on top of maintenance needs to protect water quality.

Water Well Flooding: What Do You Do?
April 17th, 1 p.m. Eastern Time
Registration link:

Presenter: Michael Schnieders is a professional geologist and hydrologist, and senior consultant for Water Systems Engineering in Ottawa, Kansas.

In this Webinar, you will learn what to do and not to do if your well is infiltrated by flood waters. You will learn how best to restore your water quality and the functioning of your water well system.