Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Farmers market season and food security

Jasmine Sanborn
WSDA Food Assistance & Regional Markets

As the sun stays out longer and the days get warmer, it can only mean one thing – farmers market season is once again upon us.

Washington state is known for growing a wide variety of products – from apples (generating nearly 64 percent of the nation’s supply) to potatoes and hops. Wherever you go in Washington, you can always find a diverse variety of fresh and delicious produce grown right here at home.

Washington State Department of Agriculture’s (WSDA) Food Assistance programs are also supporting efforts for low-income families to receive fresh and nutritious foods at food pantries and farmers markets in collaboration with the state Department of Health’s USDA Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives (FINI) grant.

Through this program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) shoppers are able to stretch their benefits by using their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards at various farmers markets throughout the state. Each farmers market offers different benefits, so it is best to check your specific market before visiting. Some markets offer a dollar-for-dollar program where for every $5 spent with EBT, you receive another $5 in “bonus tokens” to be used on fresh produce.

One in six residents in Washington relies on food pantries that are supported by WSDA resources to put food on the table each month. In 2016, a total of 1,223,244 people received an average of 16.9 pounds of food per visit to their local food pantry. This level of use shows the value of the FINI grant in expanding options for low-income residents to obtain fresh produce.

The farmers markets listed below are participating in the FINI program. Be sure to visit www.doh.wa.gov/CompleteEats for a complete list of markets offering bonus tokens this summer.

Benton 
Historic Downtown Kennewick Farmers Market
Prosser Farmers Market

Chelan 
Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market

Clallam 
Port Angeles Farmers Market

Clark 
Camas Farmers Market
Salmon Creek Farmers Market
Vancouver Farmers Market

Franklin 
Pasco Farmers Market

Jefferson 
Port Townsend Wednesday Farmers Market
Port Townsend Saturday Farmers Market
Chimacum Farmers Market

King 
Auburn Farmers Market
Ballard Farmers Market
Bellevue Farmers Market
Burien Farmers Market
Capitol Hill Broadway Farmers Market
Carnation Farmers Market
Central Area Farm Stand
Columbia City Farmers Market
Des Moines Waterfront Farmers Market
Duvall Farmers Market
Federal Way Farmers Market
Harborview Farm Stand
High Point Farm Stand
Lake City Farmers Market
Lake Forest Park Farmers Market
Madrona Farmers Market
Magnolia Farmers Market
New Holly Farm Stand
Phinney Farmers Market
Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market Express- City Hall
Pike Place Market Express - Denny Regrade
Pike Place Market Express – First Hill
Pike Place Market Express - South Lake Union
Queen Anne Farmers Market
Rainier Beach Farm Stand
Renton Farmers Market
Shoreline Farmers Market
University District Farmers Market
Vashon Farmers Market
Wallingford Farmers Market
West Seattle Farmers Market

Kitsap 
Bainbridge Island Farmers Market
Bremerton Farmers Market
Port Orchard Farmers Market
Poulsbo Farmers Market
Suquamish Famers Market

Mason 
Belfair Farmers Market
Shelton Farmers Market

Okanogan 
Okanogan Valley Farmers Market
Okanogan Valley Farmers Market - Omak
Tonasket Farmers Market

Pierce 
Broadway Farmers Market
Eastside Farmers Market
Fife Farmers Market
Orting Farmers Market
Proctor Farmers Market
Puyallup Farmers Market
South Tacoma Farmers Market
Steilacoom Farmers Market
Waterfront Farmers Market of Gig Harbor

Skagit 
Anacortes Farmers Market
Bow Farmers Market
Mount Vernon Farmers Market
Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market

Spokane 
Emerson-Garfield Farmers Market
Fairwood Farmers Market
Hillyard Farmers Market
Kendall Yards Night Market
Millwood Farmers Market
South Perry Thursday Market
Spokane Farmers Market

Stevens 
Chewelah Farmers Market
N.E.W. (Northeast Washington) Farmers Market

Walla Walla 
Downtown Farmers Market (Walla Walla)

Whitman 
Pullman Farmers Market

Yakima
Yakima Farmers Market

Monday, May 22, 2017

Exotic moth trapping gets underway

Susan Brush
Pest Program


We are quickly approaching the time of year when insect pests begin to emerge from their cozy winter state to enjoy the beautiful summers here in the Pacific Northwest.

Our exotic moth surveillance team is gearing up to begin installation of traps specifically targeted to detect three moth species of great concern: the Siberian moth, Nun moth and the Rosy moth.

WSDA trapper hanging delta trap
Unlike the European and Asian Gypsy moth, Washington State has never detected any of these three moth species. But established populations in Asia and Russia have devastated large swaths of evergreen forests. Since we have vast evergreen forests here in the Pacific Northwest these pests could devastate our environment should they make an international voyage to Washington’s shores.

The main way these pests arrive is through commercial shipping from infested areas. In order to intercept any moths that may have hitched a ride, the exotics team will be monitoring for the presence of these species at all 11 marine freight ports in our state.

Each species of moth surveyed uses a different type of moth trap coupled with a species-specific female pheromone to lure reproductive males to the moth trap.

Traps start to appear in the port areas at the end of May. The traps will be monitored throughout the summer and will be removed at the end of September.

If you see a trap in your area, please don’t disturb it while it’s performing the important task of protecting the beautiful forests here in Washington State. If you see one on the ground, we would love for you to let us know. Please contact us at gypsymoth@agr.wa.gov or call our hotline at 1–800-443-6684 if your find a trap on the ground or have any questions about the program.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Director Sandison recognizes FFA for fostering next generation

Kathy Davis
Communications


WSDA Director Derek Sandison greets
FFA State President Alyssa McGee 
For nearly 90 years, FFA has supported the rich tradition of agriculture. By promoting leadership, personal growth and career success, the organization prepares young people to work in the agriculture sector and related industries. 

That’s why WSDA Director Derek Sandison presented a Director’s Citation Award to the Washington State FFA at the organization’s 87th annual conference at the WSU campus in Pullman.

Sandison said that in determining who to recognize with this award, it seemed like a “no-brainer” to honor an organization that is “providing the skilled leadership training that gives young people the tools to take the reins of Washington state agriculture.” 
  
The FFA was once known as Future Farmers of America but changed to simply the FFA to better reflect the great diversity of careers in the agriculture industry that include everything from scientists and researchers to communication specialists and educators. 

Washington FFA has more than 10,000 members in chapters throughout the state.

Watch the presentation below!


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

WSDA fruit tree certification gets state-of-the-art greenhouse

Karla Salp
Communications

Director Sandison cuts greenhouse ribbon with project partners
WSDA Director Derek Sandison had the rare opportunity to dedicate a new greenhouse for the agency’s Fruit Tree Certification program on May 11.

For decades, WSDA has been renting space from Washington State University at their Prosser research station. There, WSDA conducted tests on new nursery stock to ensure that the plant materials entering our state’s nurseries were free of disease.

However, the increasing demand for disease-free plant materials for Washington’s booming fruit tree industry and the limitations of the existing greenhouse meant that it was time for WSDA to have a greenhouse of its own.

Building the greenhouse has taken several years and was the result of a remarkable partnership between WSDA, WSU, and the tree fruit industry. About 35 people attended the dedication ceremony – an indication both of the strong partnerships involved in building the greenhouse as well as the importance of the certification program to Washington’s fruit tree industry.

Dedication attendees get a greenhouse tour
Attendees at the dedication were treated to a tour, which included the three separate greenhouse bays. The newly dedicated 5,000 square foot state-of-the-art greenhouse is fully automated, featuring improved temperature and irrigation controls. Each growing bay is computer-controlled to maintain temperature ranges at which different fruit tree pathogens thrive.

The increased space and advances in the greenhouse technology enable WSDA fruit tree certification specialists to test trees at a greater rate than they have been able to in the past.

By screening for these fruit tree diseases, WSDA can ensure that Washington fruit tree nursery stock remains disease-free. This promotes not only the health of Washington orchards but ensures that Washington fruit trees can also be exported anywhere in the world.

Wish you could have been there? If you missed the dedication ceremony, you can still watch it on Facebook!


Monday, April 17, 2017

Farm to Kids

Ele Watts
WSDA Regional Markets

What if you could improve a person’s health for their lifetime through early education and positive experiences with healthy eating? At WSDA, our Regional Markets Team is promoting Farm to Early Care and Education (ECE) to make that vision a reality.

Attendees making salad with Washington grown produce.
Farm to ECE has three main components:

  • Education
  • Experiential learning
  • Local food procurement

Farm to ECE enhances life-long health and wellness of children, their families and caregivers by exposing them to positive food experiences and improving access to local, healthy foods.

During the last week in March, WSDA hosted a series of workshops for childcare and early education providers across the state. The workshops provided in-depth, hands-on training on Harvest for Healthy Kids, an innovative free curriculum for young children focused on fruits and vegetables which includes:
Harvest to Healthy Kids trainer conducts interactive workshop.

  • lesson plans
  • activities
  • recipes
  • vocabulary lists
  • family newsletters
  • art projects 

Attendees learned songs about berries; learned to prepare a simple cabbage, apple, and carrot salad and discussed age-appropriate food exploration activities for children from birth to five years old. The workshop also included training on how to purchase and use Washington grown fruits and vegetables from local food outlets (i.e. farmers markets and food hubs) in early learning facilities.

The workshops were a collaboration between WSDA, the Washington State Department of Early Learning, and trainers from the Mount Hood Community College Head Start and Early Head Start Programs and was funded through a Specialty Crop Block Grant. For more information about Farm to ECE, contact Ele Watts.