Northeast Region FCS Newsletter, February 2023

Quincy Vidrine, Russell, Markaye H., Stevens, Cecilia

Local Food Finds

by Cecilia Stevens

February brings a hint of spring to the air and fresh garden produce to our tables. Home gardeners are harvesting second plantings of cool-season greens while farmers markets are teeming with specialty spring items. Check out these local food finds.

Strawberries are the leading fruit crop produced in Louisiana. Local retailers and farmers markets are now beginning to promote Louisiana strawberries, and area 4-H Clubs will have their March strawberry sales soon. Look for labels that indicate that the strawberries are Louisiana grown for the freshest and tastiest produce.

Cruciferous vegetables, also called cole crops, thrive in Louisiana’s mild winters. Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and brussels sprouts are now being featured at many farmers markets. Select a healthy cooking method for your fresh winter vegetables to get the greatest benefit. Recipes are available at Farm to Table Recipes ( and at Recipes (

Food Safety: It's Especially Important for You with Diabetes

by Markaye Russell

As a person with diabetes, you must be extra careful when it comes to food safety. Diabetes can affect various organs and systems of your body, causing them not to function properly, and making you more susceptible to infection. Your immune system, when functioning properly, readily fights off harmful bacteria and other pathogens that cause infection. With diabetes, your immune system may not readily recognize harmful bacteria or other pathogens. This delay in the body’s natural response to foreign invasion places a person with diabetes at increased risk for infection. Some foods are riskier for you than others. In general, the foods that are most likely to contain harmful bacteria or viruses fall into two categories: uncooked and some animal products. Uncooked could be your fresh fruits and vegetables. Animal products are your unpasteurized milk, soft cheeses made with raw milk, raw or undercooked eggs, raw meat, raw poultry, raw fish, raw shellfish and their juices, and some deli-type salads prepared on-site in a deli-type establishment. Interestingly, the risk these foods may pose depends on the origin or source of the food and how the food is processed, stored, and prepared. Always follow your four basic steps to food safety. Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.

February is American Heart Month

"A time when all people can focus on their cardiovascular health"

(adapted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

by Brittney Newsome

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, causing one in four deaths each year. Uncontrolled high blood pressure raises this risk and unfortunately, the many people who have the condition are unaware that they have it. This Heart Month, the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention is expanding the reach of the Million Hearts and CDC Foundation’s “Live to the Beat” Campaign. Taking small steps to learn how to control your blood pressure by moving more, eating healthier, stressing less, among many other manageable factors is a sure way to prioritize focusing on your cardiovascular health. Let’s explore 4 heart health topics that will help you implement those small steps with ease.

Control Your Blood Pressure

  • Be sure to keep track of your numbers by checking your blood pressure regularly, no matter how you may be feeling. High blood pressure is often called “silent killer”.
  • Reduce your sodium intake by preparing meals at home and reading the nutrition facts label prior to purchasing foods items. Remember, salt tends to hide in products that may not taste very salty.
  • Become active to help your blood pressure get or stay within a healthy range. A small change can have a big impact on your health!

Eat Healthy

  • Flavor your food with herbs and spices in order to reduce your sodium intake.
  • Choose heart-healthy fats like olive and canola oil, low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt, and lean meats such as skinless chicken or turkey.
  • Consume whole fruits and water to decrease added sugar intake. Added sugars tend to add a lot of calories to your diet which can contribute to weight gain and your risk for developing heart disease and even type 2 diabetes.
  • Aim for balance and try to eat healthier most of the time and increase your fiber intake!

Stress Less

  • Although stress isn’t good for your mental health, it can also have negative effects on your physical health. It can cause headaches, upset stomach, and trouble sleeping which may lead to high blood pressure, providing a higher risk for heart attack and stroke.

Move to the Beat of Your own Drum

  • Think beyond the gym and get active around the house or even outdoors at a local park. You can walk, dance, or even do online workouts for however long you like. Do what you can and add more time as you go, every minute counts! (Sidenote: experts recommend 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of physical activity).
  • Plan and track your progress to stay encouraged and motivated.
  • Find activities that you enjoy, making your journey fun.

Upcoming Events


  • Power Up with Breakfast Workshop, Ages 9-12 - February 27th - 1 pm - 3 pm
  • Snack Attack Workshop, Ages 9-12 - March 27th - 1 pm - 3 pm


  • Break Up with Salt Nutrition Series, Richland Parish Library, Rayville Branch - February 3rd, February 10th, February 24th, and March 3rd - 12 pm - 1 pm
  • West Carroll Parish Advisory Leadership Council Meeting, WC Parish Extension Office - March 9th, 12 pm - 1:30 pm. Contact Brittney Newsome for more info.
  • Richland Parish Advisory Leadership Council Meeting, Richland Extension Office, March 14th, 11 am-12 pm. Contact Brittney Newsome for more info.
  • Fuel for the Future Workshop - March 17th, Delhi Library at 10 am, Rayville Library at 12 pm, Mangham Library at 2 pm.
  • Teen Cuisine Workshop, Grades 6-12, WC Parish Extension Office - March 22nd - March 24th, 9 am - 1 pm. Contact Brittney Newsome for more info.
  • Teen Cuisine Workshop, Grades 6-12, Richland Parish Extension Office - March 28th - March 30th, 9 am - 1 pm, Registration Required. Please contact Brittney Newsome for more information.

Turnip & Pork Fricassee

provided by Quincy Vidrine


  • 1½ lbs pork tenderloin, cut in 1” cubes
  • 1 tbsp Cajun Seasoning
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp butter, unsalted
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • ¼ cup diced green bell pepper
  • ¼ cup diced celery
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 lb turnips, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley


Toss pork with Cajun seasoning in a bowl and place in the refrigerator 1 hour. Heat oil and butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and brown evenly. When pork is browned, remove from skillet with slotted spoon and set aside. Add the flour to the oil and butter in the skillet. Stir constantly for 4 to 5 minutes, make a medium brown roux. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery and cook for 3 minutes. Season with salt and cayenne. Stir in the garlic. Return the pork to the skillet and cook, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes. Add the turnips and broth, stir to mix well. Bring to a boil, cover, then reduce to low and cook stirring occasionally, for 55 minutes or until the pork is tender. Stir in parsley and serve immediately.


  • Catahoula/Concordia Parishes, Ana Gouge, LSU AgCenter (318) 414-6055
  • CDC Food Systems Coordinator, Cecilia Stevens, LSU AgCenter (318) 435-2908
  • East Carroll/West Carroll Parishes, Carolyn Robinson, Southern University (318) 559-1459
  • East Carroll/Morehouse Parishes, Jocinda Jackson-Jones, LSU AgCenter (318) 559-1459
  • Franklin Parish/Caldwell Parishes, FCS Regional Coordinator, Quincy Vidrine, LSU AgCenter (318) 435-2903
  • Madison/Tensas Parishes, Joy Sims, LSU AgCenter (318) 574-2465
  • Morehouse/Union Parishes, Marianna Langston, Southern University (318) 368-9935
  • Ouachita/Morehouse Parishes, Kimberly Butcher, LSU AgCenter (318) 323-2251
  • Ouachita Parish, Cathy Agan, LSU AgCenter (318) 323-2251
  • Ouachita/Union Parish, Markaye Russell, LSU AgCenter (318) 323-2251
  • Richland/West Carroll Parishes, Brittney Newsome, LSU AgCenter (318) 728-3216
  • Northeast Region Social Media Liaison, Camryn Price, LSU AgCenter (318) 435-2157

2/28/2023 4:54:23 PM
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