Northeast Region FCS Newsletter - July 2022

Quincy L. Cheek, Seay, Brittney, Russell, Markaye H., Butcher, Kimberly, Gouge, Ana-Alicia, Stevens, Cecilia

National Blueberry Month

by Brittney Newsome

July is the best time to harvest blueberries and is the peak season for this fruit, which is why it is the perfect time to celebrate National Blueberry Month in July. Blueberries are nutritious and provide a great source of Vitamins C and K and ½ cup contains only 43 calories! The blueberry color comes from anthocyanin, a compound that helps to reduce the risk of heart disease. Blueberries, whether fresh, frozen, or canned, are a real taste treat. You can simply wash and enjoy them in their fresh state or prepare them in your cereal, salads, muffins, and pancakes. Be sure to visit for more information and recipes.

Healthy Recipe Box: Blueberry and Watermelon Salad with Marinated Feta


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/3 cup cubed feta cheese
  • Pinch of hot pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 cups cubed seedless watermelon
  • 1/4 cup loose, thinly sliced fresh basil


Toss together feta, red onion, oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and hot pepper flakes. Let stand for 10 minutes. Toss together watermelon, blueberries, cucumber, and basil; transfer to a small serving platter. Top with feta mixture.

Activity Corner

by Ana Gouge

  • Yoga: No equipment necessary. There are plenty of free online Yoga videos for all levels!
  • Dancing: No equipment necessary. Dancing burns 250-500 calories per hour! Host a family dance-off!
  • Use the Stairs: If you have stairs in your home try going up and down a few times! You can also spice things up by doing a step aerobic workout. Step up and down from the landing to the first step, trying to see how quickly you can go. Mix things up by turning to one side or the other as you step up and down.
  • Follow the Leader (Fitness Style): Play this as a family to show off your skills. Try planking for 1 minute!
  • Indoor Obstacle Course - Obstacle courses always prove to be a blast, and setting up an indoor one is sure to be a hit with your kids. The key is to spread the course over a large area and include variety with activities such as jumping, balancing, crawling, rolling, hopping, and more. You can have them jump through hula hoops, hop between pillows on the floor, crawl under tables…you get the idea!

Local Food Finds: Farmers Markets Update

by Cecilia Stevens

The LSU AgCenter announces August 7-13 as National Farmers Market Week celebrating the impact of farmers markets on local communities.

Farmers markets don’t just happen—a strong partnership between local leaders, market volunteers, and customers must exist to make a market flourish. When that mix occurs, great things can happen within a community.

Farmers markets are community hubs sparking entrepreneurship. Many small towns are experiencing a rejuvenation due to the impact of a weekly farmers market. Mayor-elect Hannah Cummings Springer of Columbia, Louisiana, says, “Our Columbia Farmers Market helped people re-discover downtown. This has led to increased investment and community pride.”

Randy Williams, manager of the Second Saturday Farmers Market in Bastrop, echoes those sentiments. “Our community center sponsored this market not just to bring more fresh produce to the neighborhood but also to help engage the community. I love seeing people, especially youth, bring vegetables they grew or crafts or cottage foods to sell.”

As stakeholders work together to promote farmers markets, diversity in both patrons and vendors increases. This can bring added unity to the community. The Farmers Market Coalition, a non-profit group promoting best practices in market promotion and operation, states, “We fundamentally believe that farmers markets are for everyone and seek to support efforts to make farmers markets safe, inviting, and accessible for all.” Such efforts include reducing physical barriers to access, implementing programs to accept SNAP and senior benefits, and coordinating kid-friendly programming.

The LSU AgCenter is proud to partner with farmers markets by offering programs to strengthen local food access. Makenzie Miller, a food systems specialist with the AgCenter, says, “ The LSU AgCenter supports farmers markets by providing technical assistance related to farmers market development, SNAP/EBT acceptance, and vendor recruitment, as well as offering nutrition education resources and/or demonstrations at farmers markets.” For more information on farmers markets, contact your parish’s LSU AgCenter Extension office.

Celebrate National Farmers Market Week by visiting a local market. And be sure to give a “thank you” to the vendors, volunteers, and local leaders who make these markets possible.

Kid Stuff

by Kimberly Butcher

Did you know that JULY is National Ice Cream Month in the USA? A great way to celebrate is to make homemade ice cream with your family. This fun summer activity is great for kids!


  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: to make chocolate ice cream, add 1 1/2 Tablespoons chocolate syrup


  • 1 gallon Ziploc bag
  • 1 quart Ziploc bag
  • Ice
  • 1/2 cup rock salt


Add sugar, half and half, vanilla extract, and chocolate syrup to a quart-sized freezer bag and seal tightly. Fill gallon freezer bag halfway with ice. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of rock salt over the ice. Place your quart-sized bag inside the gallon bag and seal. Double-check your bags to make sure they're well sealed. Shake bags vigorously until ice cream forms. Enjoy!

Recipe made available by:

July is National Grilling Month

by Markaye Russell

Summertime is known for its outdoor cooking, so it’s not a surprise that July is National Grilling Month. With more Americans lighting their grills than ever before, it’s important to remember that a fun barbecue is a safe barbecue.

When the warmer weather hits, there’s nothing better than the smell of food on the grill. Don’t let incorrectly prepared food ruin your summer. Always remember the steps for food preparation: clean, separate, cook, and chill. Foodborne illness tends to increase during the hot summer months because germs grow faster in warmer, more humid weather.

Foodborne illness is preventable by simply following food safety guidelines. When cooking outside, most times you don’t have the convenience of soap and running water like you do in your kitchen. Use these tips to grill this summer.

  • Wash your hands. If clean water is not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Make sure there are plenty of clean utensils and dishes.
  • Keep food cold until you are ready to put them on the grill. Letting them sit allows bacteria to grow.
  • Stay out of the temperature "Danger Zone." Hot food should be kept at 140°F or warmer and cold food should be kept at 40°F or colder. 0°F is the best temperature for frozen foods.
  • Use a food thermometer to ensure the meat is cooked to safe internal temperature.
  • Keep hot food warm to at least 140°F until ready to be placed in cooler with ice or refrigerate to prevent bacteria growth.
  • Follow the one-hour rule on hot days. When the temperature outside is about 90°F, perishable food such as meat, poultry, dips, cold salads, fruit, and vegetables are only safe to sit out on the table for one hour.
  • Don't mix raw and cooked foods. Once cooked, use a clean plate. Bacteria from the raw food will contaminate the freshly cooked meal.

Upcoming Events

Small Changes, Healthy Habits Nutrition Series (in-person and virtual) Richland and West Carroll Parishes Contact Brittney Newsome for more information.

Home Food Preservation Training Franklin Parish Please contact Quincy L. Vidrine at 318-623-5217 for more information.

Work-out Wednesdays (virtual) Ouachita Parish Please contact Cathy Agan for more information.

Health Resource Expo 2022 (in-person) Franklin Parish On September 28, 2022, from 10 am to 2 pm, the Jack Hammond Community Center in Winnsboro. Contact Quincy Vidrine for more information.


Catahoula/Concordia Parishes, Ana Gouge, (318) 414-6055

East Carroll/Morehouse Parishes, Jocinda Jackson-Jones, (318) 559-1459

Franklin Parish/Caldwell Parishes/FCS Regional Coordinator, Quincy Vidrine, (318) 435-2903

CDC Food Systems Coordinator, Cecilia Stevens, (318) 435-2908

Madison/Tensas Parishes, Joy Sims, (318) 574-2465

Ouachita Parish, Cathy Agan, (318) 323-2251

Ouachita/Morehouse Parishes, Kimberly Butcher, (318) 323-2251

Ouachita/Union Parish, Markaye Russell, (318) 323-2251

Richland/West Carroll Parishes, Brittney Newsome, (318) 281-5741

7/20/2022 3:23:17 PM
Rate This Article:

Have a question or comment about the information on this page?

Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture