Building community and students of all ages!

This handsome young man was so taken with the open house, he was still sporting his Beaver tattoo two weeks later. 
OSU Washington County Extension encouraged community members to stop in at their Open House on Thursday, Oct. 20, welcoming young and old, newcomers and regulars alike to the new education center at 1815 N.W. 169th Place in Beaverton. More than 100 people toured the new facility, which offers resources for young people, families, schools and organizations looking for educational experiences and wellness opportunities as well as for small farmers, gardeners, food preservers, foresters and environmentalists. Attendees enjoyed Espresso Volare Coffee cart, nut truffles from Nicole Possert of Coley's, spicy meats from Portland's Don Felipe Products, and healthy snacks called Super Bites from Oregon Healthy Harvest. They also had a chance to chat with staff members about expanded OSU resources for students and adults, 4-H youth programs, boating and marine safety, the Master Naturalist and Master Gardener and Nutrition programs. Call the office at 503-821-1150 to connect with a staff member and learn more about incorporating the OSU Extension into your family, business or organization. More photos here

Free soil testing draws a crowd at new education center
OSU Extension Washington County Master Gardener Bob Falconer tested soil for those who dropped in for the free event. 
A free soil testing at the new OSU Washington County Extension Service Education Center revealed what toxins might be lurking in backyard garden soils Sunday, Oct. 16.
Extension soil scientist Pukhraj Deol also conducted a workshop on contaminants and building healthy soils.
Heavy metals found in soils used to grow food are potentially problematic because plants can absorb them, which humans then consume and digest. Soils with high levels of heavy metals could also be dangerous in play areas, where children could potentially ingest soil particles or track dirt into the home.
Because plants prefer not to take up pollutants -- cadmium, lead, zinc and arsenic, for example -- they are less likely to contain toxins when they are grown in well managed soil, Deol said. That's why it's particularly important to provide vegetables and fruits with the nutrients they thrive on. Plants can also uptake those nutrients most effectively when planted in a near neutral pH. Because Willamette Valley soils tend to be naturally acidic, Deol recommends adding lime each fall to neutralize the pH.
Heavy metals are usually found in high levels in soil near roadways, old sheds and homes, and where chemicals and lead paint were used. Those who've built raised beds with untreated wood and filled them with Organic Materials Review Institute-certified soil and compost shouldn't have much to worry about, Deol said, so those with high heavy metals levels in soil can resort to this technique. Children's play areas can be covered with weed cloth and three inches of mulch.
While garden soil is not the most concerning source of lead exposure for children -- that role belongs to lead paint in old homes and barns -- it's best to wash all produce and hands thoroughly, and keep dirty shoes and gloves outside the home.
Fruits that flower such as tomatoes are generally not too affected by heavy metals, especially if they are not in contact with the soil. For those with elevated levels of contaminants, hard-to-wash root crops such as turnips should be the first to go.
For a quick view of safe levels of metals, take a look at some charts.
Click here for more information on adding lime to garden soils.
Click here for more information on fertilizing tips and healthy gardens.
Click here for more information on reducing lead in soils.
Cookies for breakfast?

Check out our seasonal recipe for pumpkin breakfast cookies. They are not only delicious, but packed with extra nutrition with the addition of whole wheat flour, raisins and nuts. 
Make them with walnuts or hazelnuts -- or some of each! Feel to add some dried cranberries for extra antioxidants. 
It's a delicious treat any time of the day and makes use of delicious fall squash. 
Check out the recipe  here. Also be sure to check out a recipe for a fruit dip made out of pumpkin, spices and ricotta cheese, yogurt or low-fat cream cheese.
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Quick Links  

Check out Food Hero website, your go-to for quick, tasty, healthy recipes and helpful tips. Discover more about Food Hero and sign up for the Food Hero Monthly magazine.  

The OSU College of Business is holding an informational session for their bachelor's degree and MBA programs held on campus, online and in hybrid format. The session will be held at the OSU Extension Service Education Center, 1815 N.W. 169th Place, Suite 1000, Beaverton, OR 
97006. It will run 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8. Register here

Snip some stems from plants you love in your garden and have all new ones this spring. Check out our tips for simple propagation

The International Master Gardener Conference will be held in Portland in the summer of 2017. Click here for a sneak peak of the 44 session. Click here to register for the conference.