AgriLife Extension experts: 2013 a good year for getting back to ‘backyard basics’

Programs focus on healthy living, self-reliance

SAN ANTONIO – Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts are offering opportunities for people in South Central Texas to learn more about getting back to “homegrown and homemade” basics through various Backyard Basics programs being offered in several counties this year, said program coordinators.

YouTube Preview Image

“Backyard Basics programs support healthy living through home-based food production, preparation and preservation,” said Dr. Connie Sheppard, AgriLife Extension agent for family and consumer sciences, Bexar County. “Bexar County personnel, working in cooperation with our counterparts in Atascosa, Comal, Guadalupe, Kendall and Wilson counties, have developed Backyard Basics programs related to homegrown  and homemade foods, canning and preserving, raising poultry, backyard cooking, rainwater harvesting and more.”

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service ‘Backyard Basics’ programs are focused on self-reliance through home-based food production, preparation and preservation. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service graphic)

Sheppard said the programs are offered at a nominal cost and their development came from a “growing statewide and national interest” from consumers to know more about where their food comes from and how it is prepared and preserved.

“Consumers are more interested in food safety and the manner in which their foods are grown and processed,” she said. “They are also showing greater interest in returning to some of those basics more often associated with rural living – many of which have been forgotten or overlooked in the hustle and bustle of today’s world.”

The programs are also a great way for people to reconnect with nature and to save money by recycling or conserving resources, including the water they use for their gardens and landscapes,” said David Rodriguez, AgriLife Extension agent for horticulture, Bexar County.

AgriLife Extension staff from participating counties present ‘Backyard Basics’ of poultry, vegetable gardening and food preservation at Pearl Farmers Market in San Antonio. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

“And by growing their own vegetables, people not only get enjoyment from the healthful outdoor activity of gardening, they also know where that food came from and how it was grown,” Rodriguez said.

Sheppard and Rodriguez said more information on Backyard Basics programs and how to register can be found at http://backyardbasics.tamu.edu.

Dates, topics and locations for Backyard Basics programs currently slated for 2013 are:

– Jan. 15 from 6:30-8:30 p.m., “Composting 101: Make Black Gold for Your Garden,” Suite 208, AgriLife Extension office for Bexar County, 3355 Cherry Ridge Drive, San Antonio. $10 per person. How to start and maintain a home composting program.

– Jan. 23 from 9-11 a.m., “Backyard Poultry Workshop,” Tractor Supply, 1530 South Main St., Boerne. $10 per person. Tending backyard poultry for egg production.

– Jan. 31 from 2-5 p.m., “Making Soft Cheeses at Home,” AgriLife Extension office for Comal County, 325 Resource Drive, New Braunfels. $20 per person. Techniques for making homemade soft cheeses.

– Feb. 19 from 6:30-8:30 p.m., “Rose is a Rose is a Rose is a Rose,” Suite 208, AgriLife Extension office for Bexar County, 3355 Cherry Ridge Drive, San Antonio. $10 per person. Selecting, planting and maintaining roses.

– March 8 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., “Preserving and Serving the Harvest,” Don Strange Ranch, 103 Waring Welfare Road, Boerne. $55 per person. The basics of canning and techniques for food preparation, plus food tastings.

– March 26 from 6:30-8 p.m., “What’s the Beef?,” Earl Abel’s Restaurant, 201 Austin Highway, San Antonio, $30 per person. AgriLife Extension meat specialist will discuss beef quality, cuts and kinds. Includes meat sampling plate.

–  March 26 from 6:30-8:30 p.m., “Let’s Grow Some Vegetables,” Suite 208, AgriLife Extension office for Bexar County, 3355 Cherry Ridge Drive, San Antonio. $10 per person. Starting and maintaining a successful spring vegetable garden.

– April 13 from 2-5 p.m., “You Can ‘Can It’,” AgriLife Extension office for Comal County, 325 Resource Drive, New Braunfels. $20 per person. Instruction on the use of canning equipment and the basic process of canning.

– April 13 from 9-11 a.m., “Fun with Chickens: A Workshop for Kids of All Ages,” Suite 208, AgriLife Extension office for Bexar County, 3355 Cherry Ridge Drive, San Antonio. $15 per person. Kids can learn about raising chickens, egg production, and the economic and nutritional value of eggs.

– April 23 from 6:30-8:30 p.m., “Growing a Lawn and Saving Water,” Suite 208, AgriLife Extension office for Bexar County, 3355 Cherry Ridge Drive, San Antonio. $10 per person. Information for the homeowner who wants to conserve water while maintaining a lush, green lawn.

– April 27 from 6:30-8:30 a.m. “Laying Hens 101,” Suite 208, AgriLife Extension office for Bexar County, 3355 Cherry Ridge Drive, San Antonio. $20 per person. Basics of keeping and caring for backyard laying hens for producing eggs.

–  May 3 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., “Preserving and Serving the Harvest,” Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard, 25195 Mathis Road, Elmendorf, $55 per person. Fast meal ideas using homegrown ingredients, perfect pickles and the wonders of olive oil.

– May 21 for 6:30-8:30 p.m., “How to Build a Raised-Bed Garden and Saving Water/Money through Drip Irrigation,” Suite 208, AgriLife Extension office for Bexar County, 3355 Cherry Ridge Drive, San Antonio. Techniques for building a raised-bed garden to produce successful plants and vegetables in difficult locations.

– May 30 from 2-5 p.m., “Pressure-Canner Canning,” AgriLife Extension office for Comal County, 325 Resource Drive, New Braunfels, $20 per person. Techniques for preserving foods using a pressure canner.

– July 26,  “Backyard Cooking and BBQ,” Big Red Barn, 390 Cordova Road, Seguin. Time and cost to be determined. Chefs will demonstrate many of the tricks of the trade involved in outstanding backyard grilling.

– Oct. 29 from 2-5 p.m., “Jams and Jellies for Christmas,” AgriLife Extension office for Comal County, 325 Resource Drive, New Braunfels. $20 per person. How to make jams and jellies to give as Christmas gifts.

-30-

Print Friendly
FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinteresttumblr