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Florida School Celebrates Farm to School with 11 Pumpkin Dishes and a Lesson From a Chef

Deputy Under Secretary Janey Thornton (center right) and American Culinary Federation Chef David S. Bearl (center left) pose with RB Hunt Elementary first graders from Christine Skipp’s and Lori Hall’s class as they show off pumpkins. Thornton and Bearl visited the school located in St. Augustine, Fla., on Oct 18, to celebrate Farm to School Month and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Chefs Move to Schools initiative. The pumpkins were harvested from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural farm, Hastings, Fla., and were also used in the school’s lunch for the day. (Photo by Lanna Kirk)

Deputy Under Secretary Janey Thornton (center right) and American Culinary Federation Chef David S. Bearl (center left) pose with RB Hunt Elementary first graders from Christine Skipp’s and Lori Hall’s class as they show off pumpkins. Thornton and Bearl visited the school located in St. Augustine, Fla., on Oct 18, to celebrate Farm to School Month and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Chefs Move to Schools initiative. The pumpkins were harvested from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural farm, Hastings, Fla., and were also used in the school’s lunch for the day. (Photo by Lanna Kirk)

Nothing says autumn like pumpkins fresh from the farm! And since it’s Farm to School month, It’s fitting that I joined Christine Skipp, Lori Hall and their first grade class at RB Hunt Elementary School, in St. Augustine, Fla.  to sample 11 different varieties of pumpkins.  We took advantage of this fall’s harvest from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences farm in Hastings, Fla. Read more »

Living the Dream on the San Bernardino National Forest

As a little girl, actress Betty White dreamed of becoming one. Gary Locke, U.S. ambassador to China, also shared this childhood dream.

What makes Jana Desrocher different is that she is living this dream.

Since May, Desrocher of Hemet, Calif. has been doing many of the duties of a forest ranger on the San Bernardino National Forest. In fact, she loves it so much that she does it for free. Desrocher is a volunteer ranger. Read more »

Spooky, Crafty, and Just Plain Creative We Asked and you Delivered… Pumpkins, That Is

Photo coutesy of Greg Horner, @DeepRunFarms

Photo coutesy of Greg Horner, @DeepRunFarms

Every year, American farmers work to ensure that everyone can have a pumpkin in their home to carve, eat, or decorate their tables. This year we asked you to show us how YOU used a pumpkin this season, and we were overwhelmed with the response! We just wanted to take the time to thank you for letting us in on your artistic, and in some cases culinary talents, and to share a few of our favorites. Read more »

The Science of Autumn Colors

Fothergilla leaves make the transition from green to red in the National Herb Garden at the U.S. National Arboretum. (Photo credit U.S. National Arboretum)

Fothergilla leaves make the transition from green to red in the National Herb Garden at the U.S. National Arboretum. (Photo credit U.S. National Arboretum)

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

Like a lot of people, I remember being taught when I was young that the brilliant autumn foliage of deciduous trees was caused by the cold temperatures of autumn frosts.  I believed this until I became a horticulturist, studying the intricate system that plants use to prepare for winter’s harsh weather.  Where I work, at the U.S. National Arboretum, we grow about 10,000 different kinds of trees and shrubs and have an overwhelming variety of fall color right now. Read more »