All About Peanuts: 48th Annual Santa Rosa Farm Tour Held

September 19, 2014

The 48th Annual Santa Rosa Farm Tour was held Thursday.

Participants had the opportunity to watch a peanut digging demonstration at the Roy Ward Farm in Chumuckla and learn about the science of peanut farming at the UF/IFAS West Florida Research and Education Center in Jay.

The day’s events also included visits to the Golden Peanut Company in Jay and Holland Farms for boiled peanuts.

Pictured: Participants in the 48th Annual Santa Rosa Farm Tour enjoy boiled peanuts at Holland Farms. Courtesy photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Escambia, Santa Rosa Farm Bureaus Complete 1.5 Ton Peanut Butter Donation To Manna

September 18, 2014

The Florida Peanut Producers and the Farm Bureau in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties has completed their donation of one and a half tons of peanut butter to the Manna Food Bank.

After discussing the flood that damaged the Manna warehouse and food supply, the Escambia County Farm Bureau voted to spend $1,000 to buy peanut butter, Manna’s most needed item. The Santa Rosa County Farm Bureau board then voted to donate $1,001 toward the peanut butter donation.

When notified of the purchase of peanut butter, the board of directors of Florida Peanut Producers and Ken Barton, executive director and agreed to match the purchase and donated a pallet of peanut butter.

With the two counties cooperation and the match from the Florida Peanut Producers, 2,880 jars of peanut butter were donated. The first pallet was donated back in August, and the second pallet of  Peanut Proud peanut butter was donated last week.

File photos.

Ernest Ward Middle Names September Students Of The Month

September 17, 2014

Ernest Ward Middle School has named September Students of the Month. They are Libby Pugh (pictured left), sixth grade; Bailey  Van Pelt (pictured right), seventh grade; and Aurora McCann (not pictured), eighth. Photo for Northscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Marvel Comics Creates New ‘Captain Citrus’ For Struggling Industry

September 17, 2014

Florida’s homegrown superhero, Captain Citrus, has undergone a $1 million head-to-toe makeover with the help of comic-book giant Marvel Entertainment.

The muscled-up Captain Citrus, powered by the sun and intended to help boost Florida citrus sales while fighting evil, was unveiled Tuesday by the Department of Citrus at a comic-book store in Tampa.

“Raising awareness of the amazing nutritional benefits of Florida citrus, especially among families, is a priority,” department Executive Director Doug Ackerman said in a prepared statement.

Through the work of Marvel, Captain Citrus is no longer a rotund creature — basically an animated orange — from the Planet Orange as first designed by the state agency to be an educational tool to help the struggling citrus industry in 2011.

Now he’s John Polk, empowered by mysterious solar pods found growing in his family’s Central Florida citrus grove. In a debut issue of a digital comic, Polk joins members of the Avengers — Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and Black Widow — to battle a “gamma enhanced evil genius” known as the Leader whose minions have attacked Orlando.

Oh, and clad in a muscle-skimming citrus-hued suit Captain Citrus is still spreading the message of the nutritional value of orange juice.

In the inaugural issue, just before Polk answers the call to help the Avengers, he advises his sister on the need to drink her orange juice as she is soon off to a cheerleading tryout.

The state agency is also providing a teacher’s guide to offers lesson plans that highlight making smarter nutritional choices.

“Captain Citrus will show readers that while they may not be able to fly or shoot solar blasts, they can make healthy choices in their everyday lives and unleash the hero within,” Bill Rosemann, who oversaw the development of Captain Citrus as Marvel Entertainment’s creative director and editor, said in a statement.

Two additional digital chapters are planned. All will be available at CaptainCitrus.com.

The new face of orange juice comes as sales have declined due to increased costs and a shift in the eating habits of Americans.

Numbers published by the state department found that during a four week period in June and July, 36.11 million gallons of orange juice were purchased. The total represented an 8.3 percent decline in sales from the same period a year earlier.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that Florida, which is the top source of U.S. orange juice, earlier this year completed its smallest harvest in 29 years, with the industry suffering from the spread of an incurable plant disease called citrus greening.

The forecast for the coming year, which isn’t expected to show any turnaround, is due in October.

The state agency finalized the contract with the Disney-owned Marvel this summer, using marketing dollars that were freed up as the department halted longer, high-volume TV time for ads, a move expected to free up about $13 million for branding and marketing programs.

The department’s funding mostly comes from a tax on the sale of oranges and other citrus.

by Jim Turner, The News Service of Florida

Cobb Graduates From Basic Military Training

September 15, 2014

Air Force Airman 1st Class Avery N. Cobb graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.

The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.

Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

Cobb earned distinction as an honor graduate.

Cobb is the daughter of Timothy and Kathy Cobb of Pensacola She earned a diploma in 2010 from Tate High School in Cantonment and a bachelor’s degree in 2014 from Auburn University.

Northview Schedules Homecoming Parade; Entries Accepted Now

September 15, 2014

The sixth annual Northview High School Homecoming Parade has been scheduled for Friday, October 3.

The parade will line up at noon and travel from Bratt Elementary School to Northview High.  Entries are being accepted now; there is no cost to enter. For a printable entry form, click here. Entries are due by Tuesday, September 30.

Contact Perry Byars at (850) 327-6681 ext. 248 for more information.

The Northview Chief’s homecoming game will kickoff at 7 p.m. on October 3 against the Jay Royals.

Pictured: The 2013 Northview High School Homecoming Parade. NorthEscambia.com file photos, click to enlarge.

Florida’s Oldest: Barrineau Park 4-H Club Celebrates 100 Years

September 14, 2014

A 100th birthday celebration was held Saturday for the Barrineau Park 4-H Club, the oldest continuously operating 4-H Club in Florida and perhaps in the country.

4-H members past and present shared memories of 4-H — everything from Corn Clubs of days log ago,  to raising hogs, to public speaking to photographs on Instagram and Facebook.

“Early Extension agents were having a hard time working with the adults and helping them understand new technologies and new practices for growing corn and tomatoes and livestock,” Dr. Nick Place, dean of the University of Florida/IFAS Extension program, said while explaining why 4-H clubs were formed 100 years ago. “We were able to really work with the kids and help them understand these new technologies, and they would take that home and then their parents would adopt it.”

The club was presented with numerous honors and awards, including a special message from Congressman Jeff Miller that will be read into the Congressional Record on Monday on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

For a photo gallery, click here.

There are currently 23 students involved in the Barrineau Park 4-H Club who are active in everything from leadership, citizenship, livestock, horses, food and nutrition, environmental education, marine science, shooting sports and public speaking and the club has become known for raising and showing prize-winning hogs.

The club is also celebrating in true 4-H fashion by helping others. Members have been busy performing 100 hours of community service, gathering magazines to donate to nursing homes, collecting shoes for needy families and food for area food banks, baking cookies and cupcakes to give to the local fire department and writing thank you cards to military personnel.

For an earlier story, click here for more of history of the Barrineau Park 4-H Club.

Pictured top: Members, alumni and supporters of the Barrineau Park 4-H Club gather for a 100th birthday photo Saturday outside the Barrineau Park Community Center. Pictured inset: Dr. Nick Place, dean of the University of Florida/IFAS Extension program. Pictured below: Commissioner Steven Barry presents an Escambia County proclamation to the Barrineau Park 4-H Club. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Northview Tribal Beat Performs At Troy Band Day

September 14, 2014

Nearly 2,000 middle and high school band members — including the Northview High School Tribal Beat –  performed alongside the Troy University Sound of the South Saturday night during the college’s annual Band Day.

The students were from over 30 schools from Alabama, Florida and Georgia and performed at halftime during the Troy Trojan’s loss to Abilene Christian University.

Northview’ s Tribal Beat and the other bands took part in a rehearsal Saturday morning with the Sound of the South. The bands then took part in the Trojan Victory Parade and the team’s Trojan Walk.

Photos by Connie Brook for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Church Back To School Splash Benefits Molino Park Elementary

September 14, 2014

Aldersgate United  Methodist Church in Molino held a Back to School Splash for the community Saturday afternoon.  Everything was free, but attendees were encouraged to bring a ream or two of copy paper for Molino Park Elementary School. Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Weekend Gardening: It’s Easy To Attract Hummingbirds

September 13, 2014

by Santa Rosa County Extension

Few sights are more thrilling in the garden than rapidly moving hummingbirds darting among colorful flowers. Hummingbirds, also known as hummers, are always a wonder to see, and it’s easy to attract them to your garden.

In Florida, we see three different types of hummingbirds, but the most common is the ruby-throated. This feathered jewel is only about three inches long and weighs as little as a single penny.

For their size, hummingbirds have among the largest appetites in the bird world. They feed every 10 or 15 minutes from dawn until dusk. During this period, they eat more than half their weight in food and 8 times their weight in water.

If you’re fascinated by hummingbirds, you probably hang out a feeder or two in the summer to provide them with sugar water. Artificial feeders will attract hummingbirds.

However, feeders should not be the sole source of food provided. The sugar solution may appeal to the hummingbirds’ sweet tooth, but it provides little nourishment. Nectar is much more vital to the hummingbird than just water and sugar. By planting certain flowers and shrubs, home gardeners can provide food and habitat for hummingbirds.

Typical hummingbird flowers are red, have a tubular shape and have no strong scent. But there are several notable exceptions to this general rule. Many plants with red flowers don’t contain very much nectar. Roses, petunias, geraniums and zinnias have brilliant colors but little nectar.

Plants that produce an abundance of flowers over an extended period of time and those that require little care are good choices. Native plants can “fill the bill” where nectar-seekers are concerned and should be used whenever possible.

Perennials that are recommended as nectar sources include butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa), red basil (Calamintha coccinea), shrimp plant (Justicia brandegeana), cigar plant (Cuphea ignea), firespike (Odontonema stricta), red star hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus), and obedient plant (Physostegia spp.).

It’s also important to plant a mixture of nectar producing trees, vines and shrubs that have overlapping blooming seasons. This will insure that a continuous source of nectar will be available to hummingbirds throughout the growing season. Some of the species recommended include red buckeye, bottlebrush, firebush (Hamelia patens), wild azalea, trumpet vine, and coral honeysuckle.

Contrary to popular belief, hummingbirds are not strictly nectar feeders. Insects and other invertebrates are the primary source of protein for adult hummingbirds and their young. An adult female can consume up to 2,000 insects per day. Small invertebrates including mosquitoes, gnats, small bees, fruit flies, spiders, caterpillars, aphids, and insects eggs make up the hummingbirds diet. So keep your plants free of pesticides. Pesticides destroy the insect food base vital to hummingbirds and their offspring, and may also contaminate the nectar they drink.

And if you do use artificial feeders, remember that the sugar solutions must be kept fresh. Florida’s hot weather can cause rapid bacterial growth in these feeders and birds that drink contaminated water could die. To avoid this, change the solution every 3 to 5 days. Clean the feeders with hot water and white vinegar. Do not use soap or chlorine bleach.

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