Fresh bites

The OSU Extension Service of Hood River and Wasco counties offers a series called “A La Carte Food Preservation Classes” from June through August. The classes rotate each week between Hood River and The Dalles and cover a variety of preserving methods, including drying, jams and jellies, pickling, fermenting, pressure canning, tomato preserving, freezing, and cheese making. Each class includes some theory and food safety information, and a lot of hands-on practice. Students taste and take something home from each class. “The schedule is varied and is timed to try and coincide with what is in season,” said Lauren Kraemer, family and community health instructor with the OSU Extension, who teaches the classes. “As we all grow more concerned about our food supply and where our food comes from,” Kraemer said, “doing things ourselves really does save money and improves our awareness of how and what we eat.” Classes cost $10, and scholarships are available. Hood River classes are held at FISH Food Bank and The Dalles classes are at Zion Lutheran Church (unless otherwise noted). For more information, call (541) 386-3343 or go to

Harvest Dinner

Gorge Grown Food Network hosts its annual Harvest Dinner at Mt. View Orchards in the Hood River Valley on Oct. 2, featuring a farm dinner prepared by Chef Ben Stenn of Celilo Restaurant and Bar. The menu will highlight seasonal produce and local meat grown in the Gorge. The event is a fundraiser for Gorge Grown Food Network, which works to build a thriving local food system in the Gorge. For more information, go to or call 541-490-6420.

Protecting bees from pesticides: there’s an app for that

By Gail Wells (

Protecting bees from pesticides just got easier with the release by Oregon State University of a smartphone app that farmers and beekeepers can use to consult a publication when they’re out in the field.

The smartphone app accompanies OSU Extensions’ 2013 publication, “How to Reduce Bee Poisoning from Pesticides, PNW 591.” Farmers and beekeepers can now remotely consult the publication’s pesticide tables on their phones or tablets. The popular guide lists 150 insecticides, fungicides, miticides, slug killers and growth disruptors — all of them now searchable by trade name or chemical name in the new app.

“How to Reduce Bee Poisoning” was first published in 2006. It was expanded in 2013 by coauthor Louisa Hooven, a toxicologist and bee expert in the College of Agricultural Sciences, with an extensive update of the pesticide information.

“We looked at the crops grown in the Northwest,” she said, “and then at all the products that are likely to be used when the crop is flowering — which is when the bees will be foraging. Those were the pesticides we included.” Products are sorted into three classes: highly toxic, toxic and “no bee precautionary statement on label.” The ratings are based on the cautions and restrictions

required by the Environmental Protection Agency and listed on the products’ labels, Hooven said. In addition, the guide estimates the “residual toxicity” for several of the products — that is, how long their harmful effects persist in the environment. The guide recommends best practices for managing pesticide applications to protect all bee species.

West Coast agriculture is critically dependent on pollinating insects, said Ramesh Sagili, lead author of the publication. “Crops in the Midwest, such as corn and soybeans, don’t require insects for pollination,” he said. “But with our diversity of crops, especially our fruit trees, berries and seed crops, we really need them.”

The best protection for bees, Sagili said, starts with good communication between grower and beekeeper. “Pesticide use and bee protection are not mutually exclusive,” he said. “There’s a balanced way to control pests and protect bees, both. We want this guide to be a useful tool for growers and beekeepers to make informed decisions together.”

The publication and accompanying app are

available from OSU Extension and Experiment Station Communications. For more information, go to

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