Extension Center offers class on growing alternative crops

Harvesting the crops. // Photo by Orange County Extension

Home brewing is reaching a whole different level in Lake County.

Brewers who truly want to start from scratch can learn how to grow perennial flowers used in craft beer, as well as other “offbeat” crops, through the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension in Lake County.

The extension offers the Alternative Crops for Central Florida program from 8:30am-3:30pm Wednesday, May 9, at the Lake County Extension Center, 1951 Woodlea Road., Tavares, a news release states.

The course will show farmers not only how to grow and harvest the humulus lupulus plant (hops), but also crops such as tea, pomegranates, peaches, artichokes, blackberries, and lemons.

“With greening disease killing off citrus and dramatically increasing the cost of production and risk, many are looking for alternative crops,” Juanita Popenoe, a multi-county commercial fruit production agent, says in the release. “Although this class will be presented with commercial production in mind, the information is useful for anyone interested in trying some alternative crops in their landscape.”

Registration is available for $10 in advance at altfruit.eventbrite.com or $15 day-of, and lunch is sponsored by Farm Credit. Contact Juanita at jpopenoe@ufl.edu for more information.

Additional programs and events throughout the month of May include:

4-H Tropicana Speech Contest

May 8 at 6pm, Lake County Extension Center, 1951 Woodlea Road., Tavares.

Lake County fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-graders who won their school competition will compete.

The winners of the elementary and middle school divisions will earn a scholarship to 4-H Camp Cloverleaf in Lake Placid in July. For more information, contact Dallas Daniels at 352.343.4101, ext. 2724.


Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

May 16 from 10-11:30am, Cooper Memorial Library, 2525 Oakley Seaver Drive, Clermont.

Learn how to eat the Mediterranean way and discover the health benefits this lifestyle provides. Register for this free class at fcslake.eventbrite.com. For more information, contact Mia Wilchcombe, family and consumer science agent, at 352.343.4101, ext. 2721.

Keeping the Pressure Down, 4-week series

May 17, 24, and 31, and June 7 from 10am-noon, Lake County Extension Center, 1951 Woodlea Road., Tavares.

Whether you have high blood pressure or are at risk, this series will help you take steps to reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. Topics include: managing your risk factors, improving your diet, the DASH diet, important minerals, reading nutrition labels, revising your recipes, and stress management. The cost of the series is $15, and participants will receive program materials and recipes. Registration is required at fcslake.eventbrite.com by May 14. For more information, contact Mia Wilchcombe, family and consumer science agent, at 352.343.4101, ext. 2721.

Discovery Gardens

Lake County Extension Center, 1951 Woodlea Road., Tavares. Open from 9am-4pm Monday-Friday and the third Saturday of each month. The 3.5-acre property is home to 23 themed gardens and is free to visit.

People with food allergies should be aware that food items prepared or distributed as part of UF/IFAS Extension events may contain milk, egg, gluten, wheat, soybean, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish, and could be prepared in a facility that may be exposed to any of these ingredients.

For additional details about any of these events, contact the UF/IFAS Extension in Lake County at 352.343.4101 or visit sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/lake/.