UME Logo University of MD Extension Prince George's County Newsletter
February 2014  
In This Issue
New Associate Dean
Upcoming Events
Winter Farmer's Market
EFNEP Beet Hummus Recipe!
Small Steps to Health and Wealth
4-H Robotics
FSNE Partners with Community Partners Food Pantry
Master Gardener Tips
Nutrition Labels Getting an Update
This month we welcome a new Associate Dean and Director of UME, Dr. Stephen Wright!
Dr. Wright is a University of Maryland graduate with a wealth of experience in both the public and private sectors. We hope you will have the opportunity to meet him in the near future.    
Although it is hard to imagine, spring is really almost here! Start planning your garden now, whether in containers, your yard, on your balcony, or at a community garden. Remember that UME Master Gardeners are available to help you solve your garden problems at many locations around the county.

Think Spring!


Karol Dyson

Capitol Area Extension Director
University of MD Extension, Prince George's County
New UME Associate Dean and Associate Director
The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Maryland is pleased to announce Dr. Stephen Wright as the new Associate Dean/Associate Director of University of Maryland Extension (UME). Wright began his new post on January 30th.
Wright comes to Maryland from The Ohio State University where he held the position of Regional Director and Associate Department Chair of Extension. In this role, Wright had oversight of 29 counties, worked collaboratively with Extension employees, numerous advisory committee members, volunteer stakeholders, public officials and other community leaders.
In accepting this position, Wright is truly returning to his roots, both at the university and in the state of Maryland. A native of Baltimore, he earned an undergraduate degree in geography, a master's in urban studies and a Ph.D in agricultural and extension education from UMD.
"I had always hoped that someday I would make it back to my home state," says Wright. "To take the passion I have for Extension and to channel that energy and passion into improving programs in the state of Maryland is a feeling I can't express. It's a wonderful opportunity for me."

Upcoming Events:

March 8th:
Join Prince George's County 4-H Youth Development Program and have an Adventure in Science!  AiS will be held every Saturday for 6 weeks beginning on March 8th, from 9am-12pm on the University of Maryland College Park Campus.
Adventures in Science is a scientific based hands-on educational program designed for youth ages 11-14. The program is based on the principle that learning science is fun and exciting.  AiS strives to demonstrate the practicality of science and its role in everyday life while introducing youth to science career possibilities. Program flier and registration information at our website.   


The Farmers Market at Maryland: Winter Market

Brave the elements to support farmers and local food at a special 10-week long market
that started Wednesday, February 5th. The Winter Market will be held in the same time and same location as regular market - every Wednesday, 11am-3pm outside Cole Field House. 


The market will feature nearly all of your favorite regular season vendors, including McCleaf's Orchards, Happy Hens Barnyard, Country Vittles, Upper Crust Bakery, and Bonaparte Breads.

 Beet Hummus Recipe - Yum!    


Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) would like for you to try this colorful beet hummus made with cooked red beets, sesame seed tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and cumin. Makes 2 cups.


  • 1/2 pound beets (about 4 medium sized beets), scrubbed clean, cooked, peeled, and cubed*
  • 2 Tbsp tahini sesame seed paste
  • 5 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest (zest from approx. 2 lemons)
  • Generous pinch of sea salt or Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste

*To cook the beets, cut off any tops, scrub the roots clean, put them in a covered dish with about 1/4-inch of water in a 375�F oven, and cook until easily penetrated with a knife or fork. Alternatively, cover with water in a saucepan and simmer until tender, about 1/2 hour. Peel once they have cooled.


Place all ingredients in a food processor (or blender) and pulse until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings and ingredients as desired.


Chill and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for longer storage. Eat with pita chips, sliced cucumber or celery, or on crostini with goat cheese and shaved mint.


Source:  Simply Recipes Beet Hummus  


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Small Steps to Health and Wealth 


According to UME Personal Finance, every New Year's Eve, millions of Americans resolve to get healthier (quit smoking and lose weight) and wealthier (increase savings and reduce debt). This is not surprising because health and personal finance "issues" affect millions of Americans. Major societal problems that have been widely reported in recent years include an increasing incidence of diabetes, more overweight and obese adults and children, low household savings rates, and high household debt.  


Life doesn't have to be this way: living in fear of developing a catastrophic illness, experiencing financial hardship, or both.  Almost everyone can do something to improve their health and finances. So why don't we? One reason is that self-improvement goals often seem  insurmountable. For example, lose 50 pounds and save a million dollars for retirement. Who wouldn't be afraid to get started? That's where the "small steps" approach is so useful. Anything you do to improve your health and/or accumulate wealth is a step in the right direction.


Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Take charge of your health and your finances. The key to your future is in your hands: Small Steps to Health and Wealth is a program designed to provide you with information to help you take charge of your future and will provide you with tools to help you succeed.  


If you would like to learn more about this program please contact UME educator, Patricia Maynard at: or visit our website for more information.

4-H Youth Development


January was a busy month for our County's 4-H clubs.  January began with both of the younger robotics teams participating in programs  at the John's Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, MD. The day started with our Lego Pros 4-H Robotics team competing in the First Lego League qualifying competition.  At the end of their event, they received a participation certificate.  However, our Mechanical Lego 4-H Club participated in the Junior Lego League exhibition.


Later in the month, three of our senior level 4-H'ers participated in the National YouthHealthy Living Summit held at National 4-H Council in Chevy Chase, MD.  Along with three other Maryland 4-H'ers, Evelyn Burch, Adam Edwards & Gabrielle Parker participated in a four day intensive training with youth from 22 states throughout the country.  They attended workshops and seminars on topics including distracted driving, healthy social media usage, and how to determine the sugar content in certain foods and beverages. 

To demonstrate the skills and knowledge they acquired, the teens will work with a delegation of other 4-H'ers from Maryland to host two healthy living summits in the fall.  
FSNE Partners with Community Partners Food Pantry       

UME's Food Supplement Nutrition Education  (FSNE) partners monthly with the Community Partners Food Pantry at Charles Carroll Middle School. Family nutrition workshops are offered to give low-income families tips for eating healthy on a budget. A food demonstration is offered during each workshop and on January 25th the topic was "all forms count."

Participants received the "Add More Veggies to Your Day" Tip Sheet and sampled 3-can chili. The recipe was a hit and can be prepared for less than $3. Download the recipe here.
Master Gardener Tips      


February Monthly Tips for Food Gardeners

  • Set up florescent grow lights, and gather needed materials: pots, trays, soil-less mix if starting seeds indoors,.
  • Early in the month, start seeds of early crops, such as leeks, onions, shallots and artichokes indoors, under florescent lights.
  • Also start peppers- they are very slow growing.
  • Order seeds!
  • Later in the month, start seeds indoors of beets, turnips, Chinese cabbage, kale and other early crops. These will be ready to set out in the garden in 3-5 weeks. (Or, direct seed these crops in the garden as soon as soil can be worked.) 
  • Build a cold frame. Late in the month, add compost and good soil; sow spinach, lettuce, or a mesclun mix for early greens.
  • Start a compost pile if you don't have one

February Monthly Tips for Flower Gardeners

  • Use deicing salts with a calcium, rather than sodium, base on icy sidewalks and driveways.
  • Cut back the dead foliage from last year's perennials.
  • Cut back ornamental grass foliage to make way for newly emerging leaves
  • Fertilize tulips before they flower
  • Prune out suckers and water sprouts on trees and shrubs before they leaf out while they are easily visible.
  • Order plants and seeds
  • Plan the space for your plantings
Nutritional Labels Getting an Update
For the first time in over 20 years the Food and Drug Administration will update the nutrition label on our foods. Research on nutrition has evolved since the early 1990s and the FDA says that the labels need to  reflect this new knowledge. Initially the nutrition facts label focused on fat in the diet. The aim now is to focus on the calories to help people design a more sturdy diet.
Although the FDA has not announced how the nutrition facts will be changed, or the release date, nutritionists are hoping that the labels will be easier to understand and use.
Until the changes are made, here are some tips to reading current food labels:
The nutrition label provides information based on just one measured serving of the product. For example, using the label shown; the information in blue focuses on 1 cup of the food and there are about 2 servings in the whole package. So if you eat the entire box you would double all of the information found below.
The calories (orange area) reflect the amount of energy a serving will give you. Eating the whole package would give you about 500 calories.  As a rule food with less than 40 calories is considered to be low, 100 calories is moderate, and over 400 is high calorie.
The nutrient areas are highlighted in yellow and green. Items in yellow, although important to our diets, should be limited as they can increase your risk of certain chronic diseases. We tend to eat (sometimes unknowingly) too many of these nutrients. On the flip side, we tend not to get enough of the nutrients in the green area. These nutrients are beneficial to our health and may help reduce the risk of some diseases and conditions. 
The daily values in this area are listed in percentages.  When reading your food nutrition labels look for foods that have a daily value of less than 20% for the items highlighted in purple.  Remember that these values are based on just one serving of the food, so if you eat the whole package you would be eating 40% of the sodium your body needs for the day!
The area in gold is called the footnote and is standard on all packages. The information provided is the recommended amounts of all nutrients you need for just one day.  Most of us should strive for 2000 calories a day from all of our meals. The information found above for the food is based on 2000 calories. 
Sources: Dale Bowling, Program Assistant 4-H and EFNEP; Andrea Sifferlin, (; FDA
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