Tag Archives: AREC

International experience inspires student to focus on household water quality issues in Virginia

Jacob Cantor (right) presents a poster to Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands (left), Provost Mark McNamee (center), and Erin Ling (background), coordinator of the Virginia Household Water Quality Program, illustrating the results of his outreach on the Eastern Shore.

Jacob Cantor (right) presents a poster to Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands (left), Provost Mark McNamee (center), and Erin Ling (background), coordinator of the Virginia Household Water Quality Program, illustrating the results of his outreach on the Eastern Shore.

BLACKSBURG, Va., Feb. 10, 2015 – Jacob Cantor’s path to educating residents on Virginia’s Eastern Shore about household water quality started in faraway Oaxaca, Mexico.

A senior from Fairfax, Virginia, majoring in biological systems engineering in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cantor became interested in how his academic training could benefit international development projects. So he volunteered south of the border at the Hunger Project working with clean cookstoves and water quality issues in a small village.

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Wine industry workforce center could boost economic development, Virginia Tech study shows

Research vineyard at the Alson H. Smith Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Winchester, Virginia.

Research vineyard at the Alson H. Smith Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Winchester, Virginia.

BLACKSBURG, Va., Feb. 2, 2015 – A workforce education center would give a needed boost to the wine industry in Loudoun County, near Washington, D.C., a Virginia Tech study confirms.

The Virginia Tech team surveyed owners and managers of more than 100 wineries and vineyards in Northern Virginia who identified a need for better marketing acumen to promote the industry. The industry representatives also wanted to see improved quality of grapes to boost Virginia wines’ appeal to aficionados beyond the commonwealth.

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Inside the ARECs: Hampton Roads AREC hosts Farm to Fork event

The Agricultural Research and Extension Centers are a network of 11 research centers located throughout the state that emphasize the close working relationship between the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station and Virginia Cooperative Extension. “Inside the ARECs” highlights the work and accomplishments of these 11 centers and will appear in every Insights.

On Sept. 21, the Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center partnered with Buy Fresh Buy Local Hampton Roads to host the fourth annual “Farm to Fork” local food celebration.

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Buy Fresh Buy Local is a grassroots organization dedicated to connecting consumers to locally grown foods and products.

Fourteen of the area’s best chefs each worked with a local producer to create tasting dishes using fresh, seasonal ingredients from the farms and waters of Hampton Roads. Some of the highlights were Terrapin Restaurant’s black pepper cantaloupe sorbet, made with Mattawoman Creek Farm melons, and pulled pork supplied by Rainbow’s End Farm and prepared by Country Boys BBQ.

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Virginia Seafood, Validated and Ready for Market

Crabmeat is measured into one-pound cans for pasteurization. ©Jenn Armstrong/VASG

Crabmeat is measured into one-pound cans for pasteurization. ©Jenn Armstrong/VASG

By Julia Robins, Virginia Sea Grant Staff Writer

Since its inception, Virginia Sea Grant (VASG) Extension at Virginia Tech (VT) has been helping Virginia seafood companies ensure they are producing safe products. Bob Lane, VT Seafood Engineer and Extension Specialist affiliated with VASG, regularly validates local seafood companies’ pasteurization processes.

During a visit to a local seafood company this fall, Lane began by placing temperature sensors, called thermocouples, into empty cans. He then added a pound of refrigerated crabmeat to each and sealed them. These cans are distributed to ensure accurate readings of the heating and cooling profiles of the crabmeat during pasteurization. Lane then connects the thermocouples to a data logger, to create a permanent record of the time and temperatures achieved during the pasteurization process.

As the temperature increases during pasteurization, the meat gets hot enough to destroy harmful microorganisms that can cause consumer illness. Eliminating bacteria also increases the refrigerated shelf life of the crabmeat, making it safer to ship and sell crabmeat at retail locations.

That’s “the basic premise,” says Lane. “To extend shelf life and to protect the consumer from harmful types of bacteria.”

Lane’s role is to review the pasteurization process, make sure the necessary equipment is working properly, calculate the heat distribution, verify that the product has achieved a safe extended shelf life and provide documented evidence to the seafood processor that its process meets the requirements.

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