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Turkey FUNdamentals: Planning for Thanksgiving

Cross posted from the FoodSafety.gov blog:

Okay, so it’s your turn to host the annual Thanksgiving feast. Aunt Sara has been cooking turkeys for 40 years, and Cousin Rachel is a gourmet cook. Can you tackle a turkey without being traumatized?

Yes you can!  Believe it or not, taking care of “Tom” isn’t that tough, and it can actually be FUN!  Just follow USDA’s “Turkey FUNdamentals” and your bird will turn out fine. The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline says that each November, both novice and experienced cooks have the same basic questions on preparing turkey. Here they are: Read more »

Meeting Tomorrow’s Ag Leaders at the FFA Convention

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack center with FFA award winners at the 84th Annual National Convention of the FFA on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2011, in Indianapolis, IN. Photo courtesy FFA.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack center with FFA award winners at the 84th Annual National Convention of the FFA on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2011, in Indianapolis, IN. Photo courtesy FFA.

Last week, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) representatives collaborated with bright, young agricultural leaders at the National FFA Convention. The event truly showcased talented youth from all over the country. Read more »

USDA Announces 2012 Commemoration of 150th Anniversary

Today, I accompanied Secretary Vilsack on a trip to the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois to announce USDA’s year-long celebration of the 150th anniversary of our founding in 1862.  It is quite fitting that we are marking this celebration in the hometown of our founder, President Abraham Lincoln, which just so happens to be my hometown as well.

During today’s festivities, Secretary Vilsack unveiled the official 150th anniversary graphic to help mark the occasion which you can view at the USDA 150th anniversary website. This graphic will be used throughout the year as the USDA community celebrates this landmark anniversary by commemorating important events, such as the signing of the legislation to establish the Department on May 15, 1862 by President Lincoln, and the July signing of the Morrill Act to establish our public land grant universities. Read more »

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 »