Monday, August 31, 2015

Small Ruminant Field Day at VSU September 18

Check out information on this Small Ruminant Field day being held on September 18 at Virginia State University in Petersburg.  It's not too late to register!

Friday, August 28, 2015


As a reminder, all record books must be into the office NO LATER THAN 5 p.m. on September 1st (which is Tuesday.)  As the long standing 4-H policy states, anyone who does not have their record book in by that time will not be eligible to show at the Orange County Fair next year.  

If you need help filling out your record book, use this record book guide for guidance.  We still have many record books that have not been turned in!

If you have questions, please feel free to let the Extension office know.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Farm to Table Camp Closes with Big Foodie Projects

Thursday marked the final day of the 2015 Farm to Table Camp, and participants questioned at the end why we can't have this camp all the time! In the evaluations, youth remarked that they liked learning new recipes and all participants said they would be willing to re-create some of the camp recipes at home with their families. We call that a success! 

Day 3 started with canning peach jam. Participants had to first peel and chop the peaches, and then they were cooked on the stove. Each camper filled his/her own jar and then we processed them in a water bath for ten minutes so the lids would seal. 

FCS Agent Clare Lillard provided leadership for the canning project.

It was camp, after all, so there had to be games for the downtime.

Then it was time for chocolate squash bread. Remember how much the campers loved it the day before? So now they had a chance to make their own. Flour, sugar, chocolate, and the normal ingredients, plus several cups of grated yellow squash. It was delicious and each camper took home a mini loaf.

We stressed the importance of accurate measurements and talked about precision in baking versus creativity and wiggle room in other recipes.

Then it was time to make sausage. We started with a 15 lbs. Boston Butt graciously donated by Papa Weaver's Pork. All participants helped chop it into bite size pieces and then we seasoned it with 4-H Agent Kaci's great-grandmother's recipe. Of course, her recipe was for 50 lbs. of meat, and her recipe used ounces, so we did some math to convert to Tablespoons and only 15 lbs. of pork!

We learned that meat is a very different texture than the vegetables we had previously been chopping, so different knife techniques were needed.

After coating the meat pieces with a mixture of salt, sage, black pepper, and red pepper, it was time to grind -- first with the large screen and then a finer screen.

Then the youth cooked up a couple pounds and used it to make homemade pizzas for lunch. Additionally, each youth received fresh sausage to take home and prepare it how they liked.

The pizzas used a lot of "leftover" ingredients from earlier in the week. DIY pizzas are great for cleaning out the fridge!

Then it was time for thank you notes. There were so many families and local businesses who helped make this camp possible. Culpeper Cheese Company and Jeffery Mitchell gave us a great workshop about cheesemaking and let us sample several varieties. Jim and Terri Elgin of J-TEAM Dairy allowed us to visit their farm and see how milk is harvested. Vibeke Ober taught us how to make cheese straw snacks and gave us buckets of fresh herbs to cook with and experiment. The Madison Extension Office let us use their wonderful teaching kitchen since we do not have those facilities in Orange. Rodney Lillard of Mill Valley BBQ gave us a tour of his kitchen and provided delicious BBQ sandwiches to all. Kristin Rider and family of 5 Riders Farm on Twyman's Mill Road donated a huge bag of corn, tomatoes, zucchini, and super fresh eggs to use in our recipes, after a tour of their place. Tom and Tina Weaver of Papa Weaver's Pork donated the Boston Butt from which we made sausage.

Upon conclusion of the camp, youth were asked to evaluate the program. One participant said, "We learned we could experiment and not be scared." Another said, "we should have this every year!" All participants said their cooking skills improved because of the camp -- 38% said "a lot" and 62% said "some". All but one camper said they would repeat a recipe at home, and the chocolate squash bread seemed to be the crowd favorite. Of the knowledge gained, participants named bacteria, food safety, knife skills, and exposure to new recipes. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Meat and Veggies are the Focus of Day 2 of Farm to Table Camp

We started our day with a visit to 5 Riders Farm on Twyman's Mill Road near Woodberry Forest. The family raises a variety of vegetables and markets them through an on-farm stand, roadside set-ups in Madison, and weekly deliveries of a CSA to the Town of Orange. 

Kendall Rider provided a tour of the farm, including meat rabbits, goats, chickens, ducks, guineas and vegetables, plus they run beef cattle. The ducks pictured were hatched by the family and will begin laying eggs soon.

This load of sweet corn was freshly picked and brought to the house while we were visiting. The Riders donated an entire bag to our camp!!! We were surprised and so grateful. In fact, they also donated tomatoes and peppers for our fresh salsa, and a dozen eggs that we used in the meat loaf for lunch. We couldn't have gotten any fresher eggs; they were collected while we waited!

Though they're still picking plenty of summer vegetables, they're also planning for their fall crops and cooler weather. Here Kendall shows us broccoli, cabbage, and lettuce plants, to name a few.

After the farm, we traveled to the Madison Extension Office because they have a large teaching kitchen, and the campers worked on making lunch. Meat loaf was first, so that it could bake while we worked. Mixing was hard work!

No summer meal would be complete without fresh corn on the cob, so shucking and silking were next on the agenda.

Then the crew returned to make herbed butters to go with the corn. Here, they're chopping the fresh herbs. One group made a horseradish and chive butter, another used oregano for an Italian butter, and the third group used fresh dill. All three were yummy on the hot corn.

Then it was time for fresh salsas -- one tomato and one peach. Not only did we learn to read recipes, but we had to do math and make sure our fractions were correctly added as we doubled and tripled recipes. Whew!

Both recipes used fresh jalapenos, so we discussed the safety concerns of handling hot peppers, removing the membrane and seeds, wearing gloves, washing hands, and not touching our eyes!!! Looks like this happy camper didn't mind his hot job.

Then it was time to eat!!! The meat loaf was hot out of the oven, the corn and butters were tasty, and the salsas were delicious. To top it off, FCS agent Clare surprised everyone with chocolate squash bread. The campers scarfed it down, realizing only later that it was made with grated yellow squash. Yum!

After cleaning up the kitchen, we headed to Mill Valley BBQ to find out how they cook their pork. Owner Rodney Lillard shows the start with boneless Boston pork butts.

Then we headed outside to the cooker and saw where the magic happens. The campers were very interested in this process and they were able to correctly answer how Mr. Lillard knows when the meat is done -- by using a meat thermometer!

Even though we had just finished lunch, this bunch sure did not turn down the offer of BBQ sandwiches from Mill Valley. Everyone said the BBQ was delicious, but their favorites varied for the three types of sauces offered.

Back at the Extension office, we divided up the extra corn and camp families will have a special treat tonight for dinner.

We're having a great time and are so grateful to the local farm businesses and restaurants who have welcomed us thus far!!!

Farm to Table Camp Gets Off to a Dairy Good Start on Tuesday

Farm to Table Camp started Tuesday, and things got off to a "dairy" good time. First, we visited the Culpeper Cheese Company on Davis Street. Proprietor Jeffery Mitchell was excited to see us and put together a great program on how cheese is made and what the differences are in cheeses. Well, he gave us an overview anyway -- there's so much to know about cheese!!! 

Here he helps campers understand the process of acidification and how water is squeezed out. 

Mitchell and his staff put together a professional tasting session for our campers with four cheeses, ranging from soft to very hard. Opinions varied as the youth described their favorite sample. Some liked the soft goat cheese, some chose Brie, others liked the Fontina, and many liked the Parmesan Reggiano. We laughed that real Parmesan is not what comes from the green can!

CCC's cheese monger was super helpful as she taught us about many of the cheeses in their case. We sampled a couple of other products, and the super sharp cheddar that had aged for five years definitely gave us that squeaky feeling in the back of our mouth. We purchased a smoked Chipotle gouda and Appalachian Cheddar, a cheese that is made in Galax, VA.

Finally, we passed around this wheel of cheese in an attempt to guess how much it weighed. It ended up being just over 27 pounds, which means 270 gallons of milk (that's the daily production of 34 cows!). Yes, we made the campers do math while still on their summer vacation.

Next, we visited the ladies of J-TEAM Dairy to see how milk is harvested. Their Holstein beauties were just headed into the parlor for their second milking of the day. Yuta, our 4-H LABO exchange from Japan, got a chance to visit with the cows. 

4-H member and farm employee Marlaina Johnson (right) explains how the cows are prepped for milking, how the units are attached, and how the milk is harvested. It was a great connection piece after seeing the products that can be made from milk.

Then we returned to the Extension office to make lunch: grilled cheese sandwiches, of course! We had muenster, cheddar, provolone, American (made with real milk!), Brie, and the two cheeses we bought at the cheese shop. Plus, youth could add apples, tomatoes, or ham to their sandwiches. There were choices of breads, and there were three cooking appliances from which to choose: panini press (shown), waffle iron, or electric skillet. Only real butter, not margarine, was used in the making of theses sandwiches!

After lunch, longtime 4-H volunteer Mrs. Vibeke Ober joined us to teach the art of making her Danish family's secret recipe for cheese straws. As is the case with most excellent cooks, Mrs. Ober's written recipe and her actual steps were not quite the same! :)

Here she instructs two campers on how to mix the dough by hand. (See the samples on the left?!?)

Then it was time for everyone to roll the dough into logs and cut them in order to bake. Learning by DOING was our mantra all day! Believe it or not, there wasn't too much of a flour mess on the floor!

We closed out the day by teaching knife skills and allowing youth to cut up vegetables for Wednesday's pasta salad. We recommend standing to chop, but these puppies were t-i-r-e-d!

Carrots, cucumbers, celery, green onions and tomatoes all present different challenges when chopping.

Finally, it was time to wash our materials and clean up before heading home. 

Stay tuned for more Farm to Table adventures. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Montpelier Invites Interested Families to Bring Animal Exhibits to Constitution Day

Montpelier is looking for animal exhibits to add to their Constitution Day celebration on Saturday, September 19, at the mansion. If you have animals you would be willing to take, please let us know and we'll get you in contact with the right person at Montpelier. Thanks!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Bryington Family Hosts a Foreign Exchange Student from Japan

article submitted by Gini Bryington, 4-H Member and Host Sister

We have a foreign exchange student. His name is Yuta Yamamura. He is 13 years old. He lives in Takatsu, Japan. He has eaten many American foods such as pizza and Mac and Cheese. He has two sisters, a mother, and a father. He plays soccer and swims. He loves our  dog, Laya.

I have given him a horseback riding lesson. We have gone to a trampoline place, we jumped until we were very tired. We go swimming a lot. He is a very good swimmer. The boys went fishing. Yuta does not like worms or frogs. This weekend we are going to go camping. We will go to water country next week.
Over all he is doing very well. He is very athletic and has morphed into our family. I look forward to the rest of his time here. He will stay with us until August 22nd .

Monday, August 10, 2015

Looking for Recipes for a 4-H Cookbook to Benefit Airfield 4-H Center

Airfield 4-H center is pleased and excited to announce that they are creating a Cookbook with all proceeds benefiting the center for youth development and making memories.

Their goal is to receive 2 recipes from at least 250 different people from 4-H members, parents, Grandparents, 4-H cabinet members, Board members of 4-H centers, Extension agents, Sponsors, and donors of 4 H from the state of Virginia that know 4-H can change a youth's life and make a difference!

The categories will be 
Entrees/ Main dishes, 
vegetables/side dishes            
Salads/ Soups, 
Breads and Rolls
Miscellaneous - gluten free & others

Please help them achieve their goal. 
Please send recipes either by email to Equisapiens[at]
Or mail them to:
Susan Lampert
1004 Head of River Rd
Chesapeake VA 23322

There will be pages of advertising to help with the cost of the printing and testimonials of 4-H members on what 4-H has meant to them. Please contact Susan if you are interested in advertising, whether it's a business card or a full page.

They would like to receive these recipes by August 30.

Mountains of Melons: The Fauquier Education Farm Workshop Series

The Fauquier Education Farm would like to invite you to attend their workshop, Mountains of Melons.  They planted a field trial of 15 different types of melons, watermelons, cantaloupe, muskmelons, and two kinds of Crenshaw melons.  They will take the time to discuss each variety planted and how they performed at the farm.  It was a hugely successful crop this year, and they would like you to join them so you can also learn how to grow melons.
The workshop will be held August 19th from 6 pm - 8 pm at the Fauquier Education Farm, 8428 Meetze Road, Warrenton, VA.
For more information, contact Jim Hankins, Coordinator of the Fauquier Education Farm, at (804)892-4492.

Southeast District Teen Camp- August 23-25

The Southeast 4-H District is hosting a Teen Camp for teens all across Virginia on August 23-25 at Jamestown 4-H center.  This is an opportunity for teens after working hard all summer and being role models to all of the campers that come to camp, this is the time to be campers themselves!
Campers must be 14-19 years of age.  The Jamestown 4-H Center is located on the James River, just one mile from Jamestown Island and five miles from Colonial Williamsburg.  Teens will arrive at 7 pm on Sunday, August 23 and would depart at 9:30 on Tuesday, August 25.  Teens will have the opportunity to take classes, participate in a service project, have campfire, and all of the things that are normally done at camp!
If you are interested in attending this camp, please contact the Extension office for more information.


As a reminder, all youth planning on showing at the State Fair of Virginia MUST be Youth Meat Quality Assured (YMQA) certified by August 15, 2015.
The State Office is offering a "last chance" YMQA Training on Thursday, August 13th, at 2 pm in the Botetourt County Extension office in Fincastle, Va.  If you are interested in attending, please let either katherine Carter (carterke[at] or Joi Saville (joi.saville[at] know by Wednesday, August 12, at 5 pm.

Monday, August 3, 2015

State Fair Youth Livestock Entries- DUE AUGUST 15

The 2015 State Fair of Virginia Youth Livestock Shows will be held October 2 – 4, 2015 at the Meadow Event Park in Doswell, VA. Exhibitor information, rules, and entry forms can be found at on the youth livestock web site.

Entries for the 2015 State Fair are now being accepted. The State 4-H office is working with the State Fair and utilizing ShowWorks to capture entries this year. You will be able to go back into the system to make any changes to your entry up until entry deadline.

All entries must be completed online. Entry receipts must be printed and signed by your Extension Agent or FFA Advisor, and returned to Joi Saville at the address below.

There is a $5 per head entry fee for all non-nominated animalsThis includes all registered animals (beef sheep and goats), feeder steers, and non-nominated commercial heifers. Your entry will be considered incomplete until we receive the entry receipt and payment.

Entries are due August 15, 2015. All entry receipts need to be postmarked by August 20, 2015. CHECKS NEED TO BE MADE PAYABLE TO: Virginia 4-H Foundation.

Exhibitor information, rules and entry information can be found at the following link:

If you have any issues with the entry system, please contact Stuart Sanders at

Citizenship Washington Focus Delegate Jessica Pedersen Reports on Her Experience

In July, local 4-H member Jessica Pedersen was sponsored by the Virginia 4-H Foundation to attend Citizenship Washington Focus, a national 4-H program held at the National 4-H Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland. See below for her report on that experience.


I am Jessica Pedersen, one of the lucky citizens of Orange to be enabled to attend the 2015 Citizenship Washington Focus thanks to the Virginia 4-H Foundation Board.  I would like to take a moment to share my gratitude.  I am so appreciative that it was made possible for me to go and partake in everything that CWF is.  I was granted a wonderful leadership experience on top of the opportunity to make friends and memories. 

During the week I spent at CWF at the 4-H Youth Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland, I had the chance to tour all over the area alongside other 4-H youth from all over the country.  We toured monuments and memorials such as the Korean Memorial, the MLK Memorial, the Jefferson Monument, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Iwo Jima Memorial and the Pentagon Memorial.  My delegation’s chaperone was actually able to get us a tour of the Pentagon.  I really enjoyed the Lincoln Memorial; we went there for a night view of the area, and reached the steps leading up to Lincoln just as the sun was setting. 

We spent one of the days touring the Capitol building, where most of the delegations had the opportunity to meet with their state’s representatives.  This was extremely interesting for me.  I am very keen on the thought that I could be so closely involved with preservation of the United States Constitution.  I think I would enjoy caucusing and debating bills.

I actually had the opportunity to sample that on a much smaller scale.  All of the delegates at CWF were divided up into different committees or groups.  Lucky me, I was a part of the Government Committee, where we were then divided up again to discuss different national issues.  Every day, we would meet and learn about the process of composing bills.  By the end of the week, we had discussed, debated, critiqued and composed a bill of our own on Unmanned Aerial Systems, a.k.a. drones.  We had to present the newly formed bill to the entirety of the CWF, where it would be debated, yet again.  The rest of the CWF delegates could either vote for or against the passage of the bill.  My group’s bill was the only, out of four topics, to be passed.

I am so glad that I was able to get a taste of what that occupation would be like.  As I enter into college this fall, positive experiences such as the ones granted to me through the Citizenship Washington Focus serve as wonderful, eye-opening tools.  I know those experiences will guide me as I complete my college degree and enter into the workforce.