Solutions in Your Community

Anne Arundel County UME Newsletter

January 2022

Dear Friends and Clients,

This may be turning into a winter to remember! In 2016 we had a really big snow around this time of the year, so that may be coming back to haunt us!

It's hard to believe that in less than 2 months we will see signs of new life and growth in our fields and gardens. 4-Hers will be working with their new project animals and even working on their entries for county fairs already, ranging from flowers to quilting to club displays. In the spring we always need extra volunteers to help teach skills to youth in almost everything. One of the most exciting projects continues to be Robotics along with Computer programming. We need volunteers for these activities so if you are looking for a new volunteer opportunity, call Gretchen in the 4-H office. and get involved!

We are also hoping to introduce several new staff members as we move into spring, so check your newsletter. Master Gardeners are working hard to expand their offerings as we move into spring as, of course, are the farmers. Spring brings the promise of new life and growth to all of us. 

Good luck with your spring projects and let us know how we can support you.

Best regards,

Karol Westelinck Dyson

Area Extension Director

We're still in business, but with some differences!!

For well over 100 years, University of Maryland Extension has fulfilled its mission of delivering science-based education to Maryland citizens and communities.

Our office resumed normal operations on Monday, July 19, 2021 and we welcome all clientele and stakeholders.

We understand that some people are still very cautious and we are always committed to meeting the needs of our clientele and stakeholders to ensure that you have the information and assistance you need to protect your families, farms, and communities.

  • Call or email us: We will continue to answer your questions and provide the resources you need.

  • Field visits: We will continue to conduct on-site field visits for diagnosis of production issues.

Mark Your Calendar!

Southern MD Vegetable & Fruit Production Meeting

February 10, 2022

8:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Baden Volunteer Fire Hall, Brandywine, MD

Click here for more information.

Office closures:

February 21: Washington's Birthday

Make the Most of Your Food Dollars!

LaTasha Coleman, MD SNAP-Ed Educator

Not all foods are required by law to give product-dating information. If you have a food at home that is past it's "use-by" date, you should not consume it due to safety reasons. Other dates, such as "sell by", "best if used by", and "expiration date" refer to food quality -- these foods should still be safe to eat past those dates if handled safely and kept refrigerated (at 40 degrees F or below) or frozen (0 degrees F or below). If food starts to have an off smell, flavor, or odd look, it is likely due to spoilage bacteria. While this bacteria may not make you sick, it won't taste very good and is a sign that it is time to get rid of it.

Storage tips:

  • Purchase food before the "use-by" date expires and follow handling instructions on the product.

  • Once a fresh product such as meat is purchased, take the food home immediately and refrigerate it. Make sure your refrigerator temperature is set to 40 degrees or below.

  • Once a fresh product such as chicken is frozen, it does not matter if the date expires because foods kept frozen will last from 4 to 12 months.

Meaning of the product- date:

  • Best if used by (or before) - this date is recommended for best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date. Food is safe past the "best if used by" date.

  • Expiration date - states the shelf life or the last day product should be used for the best quality.

  • Sell by date - this date tells the store how long to display the product for sale. You should buy the product before the date expires. Cook or freeze the food by the stated date.

  • Use by - this date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. This date has been determined by the manufacturer of the product. When the used by date has passed, throw the food away.

  • Did you know that there is an app to check if leftovers are still good? The Foodkeeper app from USDA allows you to check to see if the food in your refrigerator or pantry is still good. Look for Foodkeeper in the Apple or Google Play stores.

Like us on Facebook! Turn on notifications for more money saving and wellness ideas:

Good Morning Farmer!

The University of Maryland Extension will host Good Morning, Farmer! an online gathering place where farmers can discuss topics of interest, learn from experts and provide support through community fellowship.

GMF Winter/Spring Sessions 8:00-9:00 a.m. in ZOOM:

  • February 16, 2022 – The No-Tillage Revolution: A history lesson still relevant today?
  • March 16, 2022 – GMO Agriculture: Where are we going?
  • April 13, 2022 – IPM: How to make it work on your farm?

More sessions are being planned, stay tuned!


Join Anne Arundel County 4-H

Did you visit the Anne Arundel County Fair this year? Did you wonder what in the world 4-H is all about? Do you have children between 8 and 18 or know someone who does? If so, it's easy to learn more! Visit our website or email the the Anne Arundel County 4-H office at"4-H makes the best better!"

Become an Anne Arundel County Master Gardener

Interested in becoming a Master Gardener? Master Gardeners are a group of gardening enthusiasts who are passionate about gardening, education, and volunteering in their community. The curriculum is presented by University of Maryland Extension faculty and trained Master Gardeners.

Click here for more information.

Our Agronomy Experts are Here to Help

When our offices are closed, we are still working to provide assistance.

  • Call or email us: We continue to answer questions and conduct field research to deliver the resources you need.

  • Field visits: If needed and following social distancing protocol, we continue to conduct on-site field visits for diagnosis of production issues.

  • Online Resources: We are expanding online learning available at the websites below. Find online pesticide and nutrient voucher recertification here: Upcoming programs

We are here to help you. Contact any of your Southern Maryland Agriculture Agents:

Alan Leslie


Ben Beale


Dave Myers


Healthy Eating - Winter Harvest Soup

2 Tablespoons olive oil or other cooking oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

1 pound acorn squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into small chunks

1 bunch kale (3/4 pound), ribs removed, and leaves torn

5 1/2 cups (43.5 ounces) low-sodium chicken broth

1 can (14 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed

3 sprigs thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

Grated parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

In a large heavy pot, heat oil over medium. Cook onion and garlic for about 3 minutes.

Add squash and kale and cook until kale is wilted, about 3 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add broth, beans, and thyme. Bring to a simmer and cook until squash and kale are tender, about 12 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste and serve with parmesan cheese, if desired.


Area Extension Director

Karol Dyson, AED or 410-222-3900

Agriculture & Natural Resources

Dave Myers, Principal Agent or 410-222-3906

Nutrient Management

Catherine Oberfield, Nutrient Management Advisor or 410-222-3906

Master Gardener Program

Nancy Allred, Interim Master Gardener Coordinator or 410-222-3906

4-H Youth Development

Gretchen Sumbrum, Agent or 410-222-3900

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-Ed)

LaTasha Coleman, Principal Agent Associate or 410-222-3903

University of Maryland Extension

Anne Arundel County Office

97 Dairy Lane, Gambrills, MD 21054