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Our annual spring teaser — which usually appears in late January or early February — didn’t disappoint this year. It was celebrated with a flurry of outdoor activity. Gardeners flexed semi-hibernating muscles by pruning and weeding, the perfect excuse to get out to enjoy the sun. We knew it wouldn’t last, but are always grateful for the reminder of longer days to come. Although winter can be dreary, I pity people who live in perpetual sunshine with no seasons to look forward to. Soon enough, summer will exhaust us, and we’ll look forward to the slower, cozier pace of winter. Honest.

Soil vitamins

Another annual spring-is-coming marker is the fertilizer sale by the Corvallis Tilth Organic Gardening Club. It runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the first three Saturdays in March, near the recycling area at the First Alternative Natural Foods Co-op south store at 1007 S.E. Third St. Buy organic soil amendments in bulk at discounted prices and get advice from experienced gardeners. Proceeds are plowed back into growing projects in the community, often geared to teaching young people how to grow food.

Examples are the Lincoln school garden and the Corvallis Environmental Center’s Starker Arts Garden Education (SAGE) program, the Sharing Garden in Monroe and the Garden Guide published by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition. They’ve also supported campaigns opposing spraying in the Coast Range and opposing growing canola and genetically-modified crops in the valley. You can bring your own bags for bulk amendments and sign up for next year’s pre-sale at the event. For more information, call 541-829-1071.

Jammin’ for the Hungry

For more than four years, Sara Power and volunteers of all ages — from students to senior citizens — have met at the First United Methodist Church kitchen every Monday evening to make low-sugar fruit spreads for local food banks. Using donated fresh and frozen fruits, they create treats rarely found in food pantries. They partner with Linn-Benton Food Share to get fruits and with the Philomath Food Bank to freeze excess so it can be processed year-round. The church provides the commercial kitchen, license and bulk pectin. In December, the team filled its 10,000th jar of jam.

Now Jammin’ for the Hungry needs a different ingredient to help identify their work and attract grants: a logo. Trouble is, money and artistic talent are scarce, even among this exceptionally creative group.

If you are artistic and would like to help, contact Sara at 541-231-6772 or sarapower@gmail.com. Sara will gladly discuss the project and logo ideas with anyone willing to donate their artistic skills. Their reward: a jar of homemade jam, of course! And the delicious satisfaction of contributing to a worthy effort. Submissions will be accepted until March 15.

Save the date

The fourth annual Chefs’ Show-Off will have some big changes this year from 2 to 5 p.m. April 7 at Linn-Benton Community College’s Albany campus. See chefs up close, ask questions and sample their dishes. Enjoy other new learning opportunities too. Details to come next time.

Fresh Sheet alerts readers to seasonal foods and food-related events and activities in the mid-Willamette Valley. You can contact Chris Peterson at localfoods@peak.org.

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