August 8th, 2012


From salsa to spaghetti sauce, from spicy tomato juice to tomato jam, home preserved tomatoes are versatile and tasty!  Learn the safest and most current tomato preservation methods for canning, freezing, drying, and making salsa.

Join us for Preserving Tomatoes and Salsa on Tuesday, August 14 from 2:30 – 4:00 pm and repeated from 6:30 – 8:00 pm at the Litchfield Senior High School in Room C110 (FACS Room).

Presenter will be Deb Botzek-Linn, University of Minnesota Extension Educator in Food Safety.

This class is sponsored by “One Vegetable, One Community” and the Statewide Health Improvement Program.  Attendance  is free, although pre-registration is requested by calling Meeker County Public Health at 320.693.5370.

Whether you are new to home food preservation or have been preserving tomatoes for years, this session is for you!




Swimming…Beat the Heat, and Be Active!

July 25th, 2012

Why Swimming???  Here are a few facts that highlight some of the benefits of choosing swimming as your choice of exercise!

  • An hour of vigorous swimming will burn up to 650 calories! More than walking or biking!
  • Swimming strengthens the heart and lungs and works the body’s major muscles
  • Swimming helps reduce stress
  • Water’s buoyancy makes swimming the ideal exercise for anyone seeking a low impact exercise
  • Swimming is a great cardio exercise because you are moving against the water’s resistance which is over ten times that of the air
  • Because it’s FUN!!!

One Vegetable, One Community Tomato Plant & Growing Kit Give Away

May 22nd, 2012

OVOC Tomato Plant Give Away attracts gardeners of all ages!!!

Grown out of the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) and inspired by the Duluth Community Garden Program’s initiative, the One Vegetable, One Community (OVOC) initiative aims to bring people together in the Litchfield area together around food, healthy eating and healthy communities.  The idea is to inspire and rally the community around growing and preparing a single vegetable. Through OVOC, we hope that people can grow together, cook together, eat together and learn together, and at the same time build a stronger local food system, increase access to healthy foods, and nuture a healthy community. 

Kick Off Event

Students from the Youth Energy Summit (YES) team at Litchfield High School planted 1200 tomato plants that were given away at the OVOC Community Kick Off Event on Monday, May 14th along with growing kits.  Five varieties of tomatoes were grown for community members to select from.  The growing kits included a tomato plant, growing tips, recipes, a community OVOC calendar and more. 

How Can You Get Involved?

Plant a tomato plant or plant many!  Share recipes, dig out out old recipes, create new ones, share cooking tips, take a class on canning, throw a salsa party, read up on the history of the tomato, attend a a community education event on tomatoes, try a new tomato dish at a local resaurant, have a tomato tasting event, take part in One Vegetable, One Community events.  We hope to see tomatoes all around the community – in hospital cafeterias, in day cares, in schools, in restaurants, in garden plots, in a pot on a front step, at potlucks, and at events throughout the year!


Eight Tips to Bike to Work Safely

May 21st, 2012

Here are eight tips offered by Pearl Izumi on how you can have more confidence and stay safe while biking to and from work in an urban setting:

1. Plan your route. 

Map out the safest and most enjoyable bike route from your home to work.  Your route should avoid cars, is well traveled by other bikers or runners, and offer easy access to gas stations in the event your bike breaks down or you encounter bad weather. Carefully observe your bike route to determine the high risk spots, such as intersections with heavy traffic or streets with lots of parked cars, and road hazards, such as grates, potholes, and spots with sand and loose debris. Talk to your local bike shop for bike route tips, buy a local map that shows designated bike routes and trails, and check out Google.com/Maps to map out a bike-friendly route.

2. Drive Your Bike, Be Seen, and Be Safe. 

Serious bikers know to drive-their-bike as if they were behind the wheel of a car and how critical it is to wear a bike helmet to prevent head injuries.  Equally important is to be seen and that means wearing bright colored jackets, jerseys or shorts, such as a screaming yellow P.R.O. Barrier lite jacket — especially in low light conditions such as early morning or dusk.  It’s vital to equip your bike with front and rear lights and reflectors, and always carry identification on you when you bike and put a card in your wallet with emergency phone numbers should you be injured while biking and are unable to call for help.

3. Bring clothes to work.

If you work in a more casual work setting, it may not matter as much, but if your workplace is slightly more formal, you may need to bring in a change of clothes when you drive into work.  Talk to your local bike store about getting a waterproof backpack or pannier to carry clothes and shoes to work wrinkle free.

4. Gear up. 

It’s important to be comfortable when you ride to work.  Arriving to work cold, wet or with a sore behind will take the fun out of biking to work really fast.  Start by investing in a pair of high quality bike shorts or pants that include anatomic 4D chamois  technology to make the ride on your behind more comfortable.    Be prepared for unexpected weather changes by packing a water-resistant jacket, arm and leg warmers, and sunglasses.

5. Bike for the streets.

Many bike manufacturers now make bikes specifically designed for urban commuting.  Serious riders who commute all year round, even in snow, change their tires to match road conditions.  Equip your bike with an extra tube for your tire, air pump and an easy-to-access tool set in the event you experience bike trouble.

6. Have a bail-out plan.

Expect drivers to act without seeing you.  If you see backup lights, expect them to back into your path; if you see drivers parked, expect them to open their doors into your path. Always try to make eye contact with a driver – especially at intersections.  Wave to a driver if you don’t think they see you.  If they don’t look at you, they’re probably not seeing you.  If they are texting, or gabbing on their cell phones, they won’t see you.

7. Road rage. 

If you bike frequently enough, eventually you’ll encounter an angry driver. In any road rage situation, the person on the bike is exposed and extremely vulnerable.  Do not challenge or confront enraged drivers, or drivers who are drunk, or high on drugs.  Apologize, go meekly away, and live to ride another day.

For more information about biking, visit http://www.pearlizumi.com.
Courtesy of ARA content

Source: www.havefunbiking.com

Why should you go to a Farmer’s Market?

May 14th, 2012

A visit to a local farmer’s market is a wonderful experience.There is a huge array of summer fruits, local grown vegetables, fresh herbs,flowers and more!

What a way to support local growers and revamp the creative juices in your kitchen! Start with simple items that you know like potatoes, corn and tomatoes. Make a selection of fruit for treats. And try something new!

Top 8 reasons to go to a farmer’s Market:

• A cheap family outing and fun event

• Some exercise and Vitamin D from walking around outside

• Learn more about produce

• Try new things

• Eat more fruits and vegetables

• Get items that are fresher, better tasting and naturally ripe

• Support local growers

• Great bargains on local seasonal produce

        • Here is what you should bring:

• Cash

• Hat/sunglasses

• Water – if it is hot outside you might get thirsty on your expedition

• Bug spray if there are mosquitoes near you

• A bag or box to carry your items home

• Cooler with ice in case you have other errands to run afterwards – some items like leafy lettuce and fresh herbs are more delicate and may not hold up that well in a hot car.

To find a farmer’s market near you, visit: http://www.localharvest.org