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A Day with the NC Cooperative Extension

Posted May 23 2011 9:41am

Good morning!

I wanted to share some of the fun stuff I’ve been involved in so far at my dietetic internship, since I’ve gotten a lot of questions about it! I’m interning with two local NC Cooperative Extension county offices. Cooperative extensions are basically local county organizations dedicated to educating and helping their community, including nutrition, health, and wellness related outreach. My classmate/co-intern Diana and I will be bouncing between two of their offices (because the RD we’re working with does, too), so after spending the beginning of last week in one county, on Thursday we headed out to the other county for the first time! It was SUCH a fun day I just have to share.

First up was a tour of the office’s community garden!

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The cooperative extension offices are in the same building as all the county environmental organizations, so they have a number of agricultural experts around. They were happy to give us a tour when we expressed interest in seeing the garden! They’re going to teach us about gardening this summer, too :)

It was a GORGEOUS day and really fun to see all the stuff they have growing.

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Look – the beginning of grapes!

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Blackberries!

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But the real highlight was checking out the vegetable gardens!

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Check out this gorgeous swiss chard!

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Carrots, still growing! He gave us these to eat and they were SO delicious and flavorful :)

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And potatoes! We got to take these home :)

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When the staff saw how excited we were about all the fresh veggies growing, they offered to let us help pick some greens that were ready to go – and let us keep what we picked, too!

Check out all that spinach!

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We spent a solid hour exploring the garden and picking greens in the sunshine – it was so fun :)

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How cute is my classmate and co-intern, Diana? :) She’s from Ghana! It’s been really fun getting to know her and hearing about life in Africa. She just moved here last August for this program!

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After the garden extravaganza, we headed into the big office kitchen to make some recipes for taste-testing purposes! The RD we’re working with was asked to write a gluten-free tips and recipe article for a local newspaper, and asked Diana and I to find a couple gluten-free recipes to try out in their kitchen for a taste test. Whichever recipe everyone liked best would be included in the article, and the other would be held for later!

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After some debate, we decided to make two recipes: my Turkey, Veggie, and Barley Chili (but with brown rice instead of barley so it was gluten free) and some Yogurt Chicken Enchiladas, adapted from a recipe I found online. We had already picked up groceries first thing in the morning so we were ready to rock! Diana made my chili and I made the enchiladas. :)

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It was really fun to spend the afternoon leisurely cooking (something I haven’t had time to do in way too long!) and once the kitchen started to smell amazing, staff starting sticking their heads in to see what was going on. They were very excited when it was time to taste-test!

Here’s the chili ready for taste-testing:

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And the final enchiladas!

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Pretty, huh?

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Everyone agreed that both recipes were delicious, but my chili was the clear winner with the majority of the votes. Woohoo! :) Stay tuned – I’ll be sharing the recipe for the enchiladas tomorrow! They were awesome and healthy. Mmmm.

I can’t believe it’s Monday already – this weekend FLEW by! My flight out of DC last night was delayed and I didn’t get home to Chapel Hill until 1 a.m., bah! I have class all day today and will be trying to stay awake :)

Have a great day!

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