Eighth Annual Local Foods Expo Scheduled

LUSK - The Niobrara County Fairgrounds will be the scene of the eighth annual Local Foods Expo to be held on Wednesday, April 24th from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. The Expo is sponsored by the Niobrara County Extension Office and is designed to get everyone excited about gardening and all of the associated benefits of gardening and eating local foods. This year’s program promises to be of interest to local gardeners, local food producers and consumers.

Two educational workshops will be held at the Expo. The first is “Designing your garden space”. This workshop will run from 5:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Learn how to design a garden space that will provide enough vegetables and fruits for each growing season. Making a garden you love starts with a good plan of what you want and need. This will be provided by Brian Sebade, University of Wyoming Extension Educator. The second workshop is “Growing great tomatoes, cucumbers, corn and melons” from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Catherine Wissner, Laramie County Extension Horticulture Educator will share tips and tricks for growing great produce in your home garden.

The Expo will also feature a Kid’s Corner where kids can learn how to make easy, fun, quick and nutritious foods with Julie Balzan, University of Wyoming Extension Educator. These sessions will be 5:30-6:30 p.m. and 6:45-7:45 p.m.

Numerous educational and informational booths will also be available throughout the evening for Expo goers to visit. These booths will include:

 Pressure Canner Gauge Testing & Food Preservation

Denise Smith-University Extension Educator

Even though canning season is a few months away, bring your pressure canner gauge to be tested for free. Also get free research based information for all of your food preservation needs. The exciting “hot new” canning equipment will be demonstrated.

Niobrara County Cattle Women

         Besides serving delicious beef samples and having beef promotional information and recipes, the Cattlewomen will be sharing information on using local beef in the Niobrara County school lunch menus.

Soil Health- Blake Hauptman, University Extension Educator

         Learn the how and why of testing your soil’s health for optimum gardening yields.

Soil Test Kits and Water Test Kits- Niobrara County Extension Office

         Get your free test kits and find out what you need to do to have your soil ready for spring planting and also how your water measures up to acceptable standards

 Niobrara Bees and Honey— Kellie Chichester, Niobrara County 4-H Educator and Niobrara County 4-H members. Learn tips and tricks for making all things beeswax- lotion bars, chapstick, candles, greeting cards, food wrap and more!

Turbiville Custom Beef- Peggy Turbirville of Sundance, WY runs a family owned beef business started in 2012 specializing in home-grown beef. All meat is USDA inspected.  She sells individual retail packages as well as halves and wholes.  They have now branched out to sell in two retail locations and one food establishment.  “We want our customers to know us, we know them and the customers know how their beef is produced”.

  • University of Wyoming Branded Meats- Sierra Jepson, UW Cowboy Meats Coordinator and UW Meats Judging Coach. Purchase UW Cowboy snack sticks and summer sausages made at the UW Meats Lab and learn about the Cowboy Branded Meats enterprise.

Case Custom Meats- Paul Case, Yoder

                  If you are searching for high-quality meat, look no further than the local meat delivery services of Case Custom                Meats. They deliver delicious, humanely raised porklambchicken and beef to homes and businesses across Southeast Wyoming, the Nebraska Panhandle and Northern Colorado.

High Tunnel, Pollinator Garden and Bee Hives Tours- Kellie Chichester, Niobrara County 4-H Educator

                  See what’s “buzzing” and take an educational walking tour of the Niobrara County Extension High Tunnel, Pollinator Garden and Bee Hives.

Gardening Adaptations—Rick Geringer, Wyoming Agribility Project

                  Visit with Rick to learn about gardening tool adaptations for people with arthritis and other health related issues.

Niobrara County Soil Conservation District

            At each year’s Expo, Lisa and Heidi always bring the newest hot topic in the gardening world to share with us, so you will have to come to the Expo to see what they have in store for us this year.

Raising Freezer Beef-What Does It Really Cost?- Brian Lee, University of Wyoming SAREC

                  Before buying a steer, lamb or hog to raise for your freezer, first look into all of the associated costs to decide if                it financially worthwhile.

  • Grass Heads and Fruits vs. Vegetables Game - Becky Harris, Converse County Extension Horticulture Educator and Converse County Master Gardeners

                  Adults and kids will enjoy making their own personalized grass head. Learn the technical difference     between a fruit and vegetable by participating in a fun interactive game.

Box Elder Maple Syrup Production- Brian Sebade, University of Wyoming Extension Educator

                  Who knew that you could get syrup from Box Elder trees? Visit this booth to find out how.

Vineyards and Growing Grapes- Sally Sanchez, Vineyard owner and operator from Wheatland

                  Sally will share information on her vineyard experience including both the joys and the challenges.

Rawhide FFA Chapter

                  Visit with the local FFA members and FFA Advisor, Jason Hubbard about the exciting projects and activities that the Chapter has accomplished this year.

Lusk Community Garden Revitalization Project- Terry Bukowski, Project Coordinator

                  Come and visit with Terry and learn about the exciting upcoming upgrades to the Lusk Community Garden.

University of Wyoming Bulletin Display

                  Choose which horticulture and gardening bulletin you would like to have a copy of for FREE

AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer- Tim McAteer

                  Visit with Tim and learn about his project while at he is at UW of facilitating food sovereignty and how local communities can shape their food choices while considering sustainable and healthy food options that support local producers and consumers.

Lusk ROCS Committee- Revitalize Our Community Spirits – ROCS

                  We love our community and want to see it grow and prosper.  We are working on downtown improvements and revitalizing our community.  Lusk ROCS is a volunteer group working to create long range economic growth through improving the business atmosphere of the town, making it more attractive to new businesses, and more     profitable for existing businesses.  By coordinating with the Niobrara Enhancement Board, Niobrara Chamber of Commerce, local government entities, and other like-minded organizations, the ROCS group plans and executes promotions and activities while maintaining the historic character of the community.

The Expo is free of charge and everyone is invited and encouraged to attend. There will be door prizes, free Pollinator Garden seeds to all that attend the Expo, many other free items for participants, tasty food samples, lots of great information and sharing of ideas. Please plan to join us for an evening of learning and for a great start to spring and gardening season. Any questions, call the Niobrara County Extension Office at 334-3534.