Monthly Archives: August 2014

Fairfax Master Food Volunteers Participate in National Farmers Market Week

Our Master Food Volunteers in Fairfax recently participated in National Farmers Market Week at the County Government Center Market.  Katie Strong, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent for Fairfax, and Mae Carroll, Farmers Market Coordinator for the Fairfax County Park Authority and a very active Master Food Volunteer, are featured in this YouTube video, which will air on the Fairfax County internal news station, Channel 16.  Our Master Food Volunteers provide food demonstrations at these markets to showcase recipes for using local produce and choosing healthier options for fruits and vegetables.

Way to go!  We appreciate the hard work of our Family and Consumer Sciences Agents and Master Food Volunteers!

For more information about the 15th annual National Farmers Market Week and how farmers markets around the country also celebrated this week-long celebration, visit the USDA’s blog site:


Master Food Volunteers participate in Master Gardener College 2014

In June 2014, our Master Food Volunteers had the opportunity to attend the Master Gardener College held at Virginia Tech.  We collaborated with Dave Close, the State Coordinator for the Master Gardeners, John Freeborn, Assistant Coordinator for the Master Gardeners, our Extension faculty, graduate students, and VT Dining Services staff to offer some workshops specific to food preparation and safety.  Following are some pictures and highlights of our time together.  We had a great time and are very appreciative of the hospitality from our Master Gardener colleagues.  Thank you!

Eric Bowen, our Area Specialized Food Safety Agent in the Central District presented on produce safety from the garden to the table.  He also focused on some basic methods of food preservation and safety.

Joell Eifert, our Area Specialized Food Safety Agent in the Southwest District presented an introduction to home vegetable fermentation.  Joell also emphasized how to follow scientifically-tested methods to ensure a safe product.

Alisha Farris, a Registered Dietician and graduate research assistant in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise provided a workshop on reducing sodium, sugar, and alternative sources of protein.  We also reviewed food labels of some of our favorite food products:

alisha_classroomChef Randy, Chef Mark, and Jordan from Virginia Tech’s Dining Services shared some “keep it simple solutions” through using specific cooking techniques to enhance the flavors of our food without having to add extra ingredients, such as salt or sugar.  We even participated in some really fun taste-testings:

Jordan_Mark_Randy2Chef Heather Petty, graduate research assistant in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, demonstrated ways we can “play with our food” to encourage more consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Heather discussed how to use the natural shapes of our fruits and vegetables to make fun “faces.”  Also included in this picture are some additional ideas for “edible art” for July 4, such as a watermelon basket and our United States flag using a variety of fresh fruits:

heather_display_veggies_fruit2Heather demonstrates how to carve the watermelon basket using safe knife skills:

heather_watermelon_basket2Dr. Molly Kelly, Enology Extension Specialist in our VT Department of Food Science, demonstrated some of the basics of enjoying winemaking at home as a hobby.  It was interesting to learn  about some of the different varieties of fruit that can be used to produce these wines:

Molly_demonstrates_winemakingWe had a wonderful time this year and look forward to more opportunities for continuing education in the coming year.

A special thanks to our instructors for their hard work and to the Master Gardeners and faculty for working with us on these workshops!

Following is a picture of our Master Food Volunteers and Family and Consumer Sciences Agents participating in one of our sessions:MFV_FST_classroom2Happy summer!

Melissa Chase, State Coordinator, Master Food Volunteer Program