Season\'s Greetings from UCCE Central Sierra!

As 2022 comes to a close, I'm reminded just how wonderful our community of staff, clients, and supporters is. It’s humbling to see how much passion and dedication they give to the communities they serve, truly just trying to make a difference. In that spirit, I hope your December and holiday season is filled with giving, caring, and making a difference.

Wondering what to do for your home landscape and garden in December? Check out the Master Gardeners December Gardening Tips! Please note our offices will be closed December 23, 2022 through January 2, 2023.

Wishing you the joy of family, the gift of friends, and the best of everything in 2023.

JoLynn Miller
University of California
Cooperative Extension
Central Sierra Nevada
Multi-County Partnership (MCP)
Forests and woodlands in the Central Sierra Nevada are beautiful, extensive, diverse and owned by both public and private landowners. Active management is needed to reduce forest density and to help forests recover after wildfire. The goal of the Central Sierra forestry program is to empower landowners to overcome these challenges.
Forest Stewardship Education Program Wins Outstanding Comprehensive Educational Program to Improve Management of Family Owned Forests Award

Each year, National Woodland Owners Association and the National Association of University Forest Resources Program (NAUFRP) jointly sponsor an awards program that recognizes the best individual educational project and the best comprehensive educational program conducted by a NAUFRP member university. There are 80 universities in the organization which was formed in 1981. The comprehensive family forest education program is one that includes a broad educational effort to address a diverse array of family forest issues and problems using a wide range of educational approaches and programs.

The Comprehensive Program award was presented to University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) for their Forest Stewardship Education Initiative. The Initiative, developed in 2019, was focused on educating private forest landowners to “better understand, manage and protect their forests by developing a forest management plan, engaging with natural resource professionals, and taking advantage of cost-share opportunities that can help them meet their management goals.” The program was implemented using three-day workshops prior to COVID and a virtual flipped classroom construct involving self-study in advance of on-line sessions with resource educators during the pandemic. Currently the program involves 9 weekly online sessions and one in-person field day. Completion of the workshop series entitles participants to an initial site visit by a resource professional. In total 335 individuals attended, with 98% indicating improvement in the understanding of forest management planning, 89% planning to consult with a professional, and through May of 2022, 49 had site visits from professionals using the programs $800 stipend that supported the visit. 

Evaluator’s comments included:
 “Excellent submission and programming. Highly complementary that personnel follow-up with participants AFTER the program to determine impacts cited.” 

“Also impressed with recognition in the narrative that program managers would like to reach more private landowners about participating in the program with a benefit/barrier assessment.” 

“This is a very high quality program. It easily rates very high in each of the criteria categories. The nomination package was thorough and it is evident that those involved in the development and delivery of these workshops are knowledgeable and passionate about landowner and professional education. Kudos to California!”
Forest Stewardship Community Education Specialist

The University of California is recruiting for a Forest Stewardship Community Education Specialist to assist forest landowners to better understand, manage and protect their forests by developing a forest management plan, engage with natural resource professionals, and take advantage of cost-share opportunities that can help them meet their management goals. This position is located in Tuolumne County.

Forest Stewardship Community Education Specialists will use professional community educational program concepts to deliver standardized educational workshops to private forest landowners throughout California and apply established procedures and programs to address landowner needs via the Forest Stewardship Education Program. First application review is December 13, 2022. More Information
The 4-H Youth Development Program offers educational opportunities for children, teens, families, and adults. 4-H helps young people to reach their full potential as competent, confident, leaders of character who contribute and are connected to their communities.
Central Sierra 4-H Director Receives National Recognition

At the National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals annual conference, UC ANR 4-H was recognized. Fe Moncloa, 4-H advisor for Santa Clara County, and Schmitt-McQuitty received awards for 25 years of service to the organization. Miller received the distinguished service award for 7-15 years of service to NAE4-HYDP. Barrett received an achievement-is-service award for serving 3 to 7 years. Congratulations!
From left: Stephanie Barrett, 4-H Community Education Supervisor for Southern California; JoLynn Miller, 4-H Youth Development Advisor for Central Sierra; and Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty, Statewide 4-H Youth Development Director.
4-H Member Spotlight: Amador County Royalty
The studying and preparation began many months ago for the 2022 American Rabbit Breeders Association’s (ARBA) National Convention and Rabbit Royalty competition. Adult and youth exhibitors from every part of the United States and Canada convened this past week in Reno, Nevada to help showcase some 15,000 rabbits and cavies (guinea pigs), and attend conference sessions, visits a variety of booths to learn about breed clubs, equipment, and care products. During this week-long event there were ample opportunities to network with rabbit and cavy enthusiasts, learn from experts, and enjoy the company of friends from across the continent. 

For the Youth Royalty contestants, the preparation began way back, in the heat of the summer months, with contestants submitting a detailed application explaining their involvement with, management of, and general knowledge of rabbits and/or cavies. During the week of convention, they each completed contests that involved breed identification and classification, skilled judging of classes of rabbits and cavies, a written knowledge exam, and finally a contestant interview. The points were tallied for each age group: Lord and Lady (5-8), Prince and Princess (9-11), Duke and Duchess (12-14), and King and Queen (15-18) and the winners were announced during the Youth Awards Banquet on November 1st, 2022. 
Amador County was very well represented in these competitions by 4-H youth members Scott Williams, Lexi Himmel, Lily Himmel, Jacie Bell, Kaya Bell, and Leah Bell. Lexi had placings in the top of the classes for her American cavies and was able to secure a new breeding pair of Netherland Dwarfs to expand her rabbit program. Lily and Jacie worked as part of the California team and won the Intermediate Breed Identification contest and placed as 1st runner up team for the Intermediate Judging competition. Both Jacie and Kaya won their respective Achievement categories, Leah took 5th place in the Lady Royalty category, and together the Bell sisters’ rabbits took many top placings in the Mini Rex and Thrianta breeds. Scott enjoyed big wins with his Rex rabbits earning two Best Opposite Sex of Variety placings.
Beating out all the other national competition in the Royalty Duchess category was Amador County’s own, Lily Himmel. Lily is a member of Blue Ribbon 4-H Club, a teen leader for the rabbit, poultry, and dairy goat projects, Teen Ambassador for Amador County 4-H, community volunteer, and a student at Mountain Oaks School. Earlier this year, Lily also represented Amador County very well at the California State Fair earning the title of top Rabbit Exhibitor in the state and placing 4th overall in Small Animal Showmanship.
The teamwork, dedication, learning, and communication skills that these young people have demonstrated embody the values and goals of 4-H programs across the globe. 

Congratulations to everyone that worked so hard, made it to this competition, and represented the values of our community so well!
If you are interested in joining a 4-H project like this or others, or if you are interested in volunteering to help the 4-H youth grow and achieve, please contact your local 4-H Office or email
Enroll NOW for the 2022-2023 Program Year!
UCCE Master Gardeners are community members who have been trained under the direction of the University of California Cooperative Extension. Each volunteer has completed more than 50 hours of formal classroom training to provide practical scientific gardening information to the home gardeners.
Master Gardener Program Restorative Justice Garden Project Celebrates Two Years of Partnership in El Dorado County 

Master Gardeners’ mission to educate the community on local sustainable food systems is a perfect fit for a unique multi-partner restorative justice project in El Dorado County. 

In the winter of 2020, Master Gardeners were asked to partner with county and government agencies to create an environment of education and community at a local El Dorado County Office of Education (EDCOE) facility. This partnership includes El Dorado County (EDC) Probation Department, Northern California Construction Training Program (NCCT), EDCOE and UC Master Gardeners of El Dorado County.

EDC Probation Department in conjunction with EDCOE brought in the NCCT Program to offer vocational construction (plumbing, carpentry and electrical training) to individuals who have been referred by their probation officers. As part of the vocational training, the students created a garden area with raised beds, a pergola, and potting bench with a water source. 

Master Gardeners were asked to “help put life into the garden area,” to be consulting partners for clients and staff, as well as offer the students experiential education on growing activities. Through the magic of taking a seed to harvest in the restorative justice garden, clients learn soft skills such as interacting with community members as well as concrete skills of maintaining a food garden. Building these skills in clients are the program goals, as the vision of EDC Probation is to create “safer communities through changed lives.” 
Throughout the last two years, Master Gardeners have helped, supported, and educated on topics such as irrigation and drip lines, seasonal veggie/flower planting and maintenance, improving practices around growing edible plants, learning about fruit tree pruning, insect and disease identification as well as monitoring for appropriate water use, composting (they built three compost bins out of scrap lumber) and weed control. 

Planning for the upcoming project year includes efforts to help the NCCT, Probation, and EDCOE partners with ideas to get their students into the garden and learn new skills that dovetail with the lessons taught in their construction pre-apprenticeship workshops. In 2023, the NCCT program is building a garden shed, rebuilding their raised beds with improved irrigation, weeding, and applying new decomposed granite. Clients also will continue to enjoy the bounty from the garden by harvesting and taking fresh food home for their families and kitchens. 

Master Gardeners and project members meet weekly depending on weather and garden activities. EDCOE believes “the environment enhances their students’ ability to learn.” Master Gardeners are happy to be part of this collaborative partnership while we support California communities and the people, places, and plants that make them unique.
by Carolyn Shaw, UCCE Master Gardeners of El Dorado County
Enjoy First Saturday Garden Tours at the Sherwood Demonstration Garden
December 3, January 7, and February 4 | 9:00AM
6699 Campus Dr., Placerville

Even in the winter months, there are still a lot of interesting things “growing on” in the garden. Bring a travel cup of hot coffee and meet our Master Gardener at the garden gates for a tour of the 16 gardens every First Saturday through the winter. Here’s the thing: Tours start at 9 a.m. sharp. If no visitors show up, the docent will leave at 9:15 a.m. And if you would prefer to tour the garden on your own, we are open between 9 a.m. and noon. Email or check the calendar for more information.
Questions about your home garden or landscape?
Interested in upcoming classes and events?
UCCE Master Gardeners are available to answer your questions!
The UCCE Master Food Preserver program trains dedicated volunteers to assist the county UC Cooperative Extension staff provide up-to-date food preservation information. Our current program is active in El Dorado, Amador, Tuolumne, and Calaveras counties.
Applications Due: December 4, 2022

If you or someone you know has more than a passing fondness for food preservation, you may want to sign up for the next cohort of the UC Master Food Preserver Training. Interviews will happen before the end of the year. Classes for accepted applicants begin in January. 
If you missed the training information meetings in October and November, please submit a request to receive a recording. Pass it on! 
Is your Pressure Canner Ready for Turkey Stock Season?

It’s the time of year when canners use leftover Thanksgiving turkey bits and pieces to make broth. If you have a Presto Pressure canner, when was the last time you had the gauge accuracy confirmed? It needs to be tested annually to ensure you’re processing your turkey stock (and soups) at the right pressure. The pressure needs to reach 240°F to destroy any Clostridium Botulinum bacteria. These microscopic buggers can thrive and grow in canned jars of low-acid food – like turkey broth or vegetable-based soups. If they grow, they create a toxin that gets people sick with botulism when eaten. The only way to destroy these nasty bacteria when canning is to use an accurate pressure canner. If your gauge is off, your canner may not be getting hot enough to destroy the Clostridium Botulinum bacteria.

What to do? Call any of our UCCE Central Sierra offices to arrange a time to drop off your Presto dial-gauge pressure canner. We’ll have a UC Master Food Preserver volunteer come in to test the accuracy of your gauge so you can pressure can with confidence.

What if you have an All American or a T-Fal canner with a dial gauge on it? Those are considered weighted-gauge canners and the dial is to let you know when the canner has depressurized. So they don’t need to be tested. However, if you have an old All American pressure canner that has a petcock (see above photo) instead of a removable weight, it needs to have the dial gauge tested, too.

Do you freeze your broth instead of canning it? If so, you don’t need to worry about the risk of getting botulism from the thawed broth. Clostridium botulinum only grows in the following conditions: low acid food, room temperature, moisture, no oxygen. Freezing temperatures are too cold for it to grow, and when you thaw it, there’s air involved. You’ve got double protection.
Holiday Gift Ideas - Great for Hosts!

Sales of these campus-produced products are an integral contributor to the self-supporting efforts of the UC Davis Olive Center and UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center. Their goal is to support the vision of the Robert Mondavi Institute by providing research and education to students, industry leaders and consumers.
The UC Davis Olive Center offers globally recognized, campus-grown Extra Virgin olive oil, as well as skin-care and gift products. SHOP NOW
The UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center offers varietal honeys produced in California, as well as pollinator merchandise. SHOP NOW
Ask a UC Master Food Preserver online, any time! Plus sign up to get e-news, event updates and free class schedules delivered to your inbox each month. Subscribe Here
Through the CalFresh Healthy Living (CFHL) UCCE Central Sierra program, we teach free classes in local schools, community centers, libraries, and other public locations. Our classes show people how to choose, grow, cook, and enjoy affordable healthy foods, and how to make physical activity a regular and fun part of life. We also work to create environments where it’s easier for people to make healthy choices, by supporting school wellness policies, community and school gardens, walking clubs, and more.
December Harvest of the Month: Cabbage

The harvest of the month for December is cabbage. Mmmm, cabbage. The stuff that cole slaw is made of. Ever wondered why it is called cole slaw? Because cabbage is known as a cole vegetable.

From the Gardening Know How website: “Cole crops, at a basic level, are plants that belong to the mustard (Brassica) family and are all descendants of wild cabbage. As a group, these plants grow better in cool weather. This leads many people to think that the word “cole” is a variation of the word “cold” and they may even refer to these plants as cold crops. Actually, the word “cole” is a variation of a Latin word that means stem.”

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collards, kale are all in the same family. Besides slaw, cabbage is the primary ingredient in kimchi, a staple of Korean food, in sauerkraut, a national dish of Germany, called chukrut when it’s on a Chilean completo.

An international delicacy, full of Vitamin C!

Here is a video featuring the journey of cabbage from the Far East to California - a production of UCCE Cal Fresh Healthy Living.
"This recipe is quick to make and adaptable to your own taste! You could make it vegetarian by removing the chicken or add some extra crunch by using crunchy peanut butter."
The Central Sierra foothill region produces a wide variety of agriculture commodities. The University of California brings research and outreach to area farms to assist with growing and cultural practices, pest and disease management, and more!
Third Grade Students Return to Amador County Fairgrounds for 2022 Farm Day

Farm Day is a national effort to educate school-aged youth about the importance of agriculture in their everyday lives. On September 29th, Amador County hosted its annual event at the Amador County Fairgrounds in Plymouth. The event is open to all the third-graders in the county and is FREE of charge to the kids and the school.  

Students spent the day learning about farms, ranches, and how food gets to the table. They also learned about the biodiversity of Amador’s regions, from timber forests to croplands. There are over 24 interactive stations that align with state curriculum standards, demonstrating to the children how agriculture gets from the farm to their forks.

Local farmers and ranchers are an essential component of Farm Day. Many of them bring equipment and animals to the event and are speakers sharing their passion and love for farming and ranching with the youth. Several local organizations and businesses contribute financially helping to make this event free for all participating schools.

Amador Farm Day is led by a group of individuals representing federal, state and county government organizations, local farming and ranching organizations, local farmers and ranchers, teachers, and a number of interested community members. The event is organized by the University of California Cooperative Extension, in cooperation and support with Farms of Amador, Amador County Farm Bureau, California Ag in the Classroom, Amador Resource Conservation District, Amador County FFA, Amador County Fairgrounds, Amador County Agriculture Department, Spinetta Winery, and Cooper Vineyards. 

Many children, who do not come from farming families, are wide-eyed and thrilled to learn about the crops, farms and animals they see around their community and how important those things are to them personally in their everyday lives. From the paper and pencils, they use in the classroom to the homes they live in, Farm Day gives kids an opportunity to not only learn about the diversity of agriculture commodities grown in Amador County, but learn firsthand from the people that grow and raise these wonderful agricultural products. Farm Day gives kids a whole new appreciation for our local farmers and the hard work it takes to get food to the table. 

For questions about Farm Day, or to add your support for this and other cooperative events in the county, contact Scott Oneto with the University of California, at 223-6834 or
SAVE THE DATE! Next year's Amador Farm Day event will be held September 26th, 2023.
CUSP Drought Funding Available

Through CARCD, California Small and Underserved Producers (CUSP) is stepping in to offer direct financial support to farmers who have faced increased costs due to drought. Grant amounts will be $1,000 min and $20,000 max...

Read more
More UCCE Central Sierra Programs
California is reopening all activities statewide, but it is important to remember that the pandemic is not over and COVID-19 remains a health threat. As we plan and implement a return to in-person ANR programs, we should stay informed about COVID-19 trends statewide and in our communities. Here are a few resources from the CDPH and other trusted sources.
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