Field Days, Workshops, and Programs

  • Persimmon Workshop and U-Pick

    Oct 21, 2019

    Would you like to pick your own half-bushel of persimmon from one of our 50+ varieties and learn about the hoshigaki method of drying persimmon into delectable, sugary treats? Join us on Saturday, November 23rd!

    For more information go to:


    By Tammy Majcherek
    Author - Community Educator II
  • Urban Living Education Expo - Sept. 28, 2019

    Sep 19, 2019


    Urban Living Education Exp Flyer - Sept. 28th 9am - 2pm

    By Tammy Majcherek
    Author - Community Educator II
  • Too much summer squash? Want to preserve that tasty summer corn?

    Aug 13, 2019
    Preserving the Season's Summer Crops

    Attached Files:

    By Tammy Majcherek
    Author - Community Educator II
  • Bon Appetit - Making Smoothies

    Aug 7, 2019

    Harvesting vegetables
    UCCE EFNEP and REC Staff welcomed the energetic youth visiting from the Ocean View School District FLY Summer Program guiding them through a fun morning filled with activities linking to the program's theme for the week - ‘Bon Appetit'.

    Upon arrival, the students checked on the pumpkins and sunflowers planted during their visit two weeks prior and were happy to see the seeds had sprouted and were several inches tall. Each of them will receive (1) free pumpkin during the REC's U-pick harvest event. Taking advantage of the cool morning and keeping with the weeks theme, they were encouraged to harvest tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, peppers, and green beans growing nearby to take home.

    Next, it was off to the air-conditioned sanctuary of the conference room to kick off the first of several hands-on lessons planned for this outing starting with learning about hidden sugars in everyday foods and how to calculate the number of teaspoons in their favorite sugary drink while exploring alternative choices.

    Watching yeast multiply just like germs.
    The group then conducted an experiment using yeast, sugar and water to visually connect how germs grow. Selected students were then chosen to wash their hands using water, soap, sanitizer, and wipes after Glo Germ lotion was applied to their hands demonstrating the residue left behind after washing and to investigate which products work best. Using a black light, youth and adults alike were grossed out at the amount under their nails and in the cracks and crevasses of their palms and amazed how some products spread the “germs”. Following the demonstrations, all participants were instructed on safe food handling with an interactive hand washing lesson.

    Thumbs up for this smoothie recipe!
    Now with clean hands, everyone was eager to create their own smoothie drink recipe experimenting with different fruit (fresh, frozen, canned) and base (milk, yogurt, orange juice, crushed ice) options that are common in most households, to encourage incorporating fruit into the diet for a healthier snack. The youth enjoyed exploring the flavor variability and discussing the favorable to not so favorable outcomes. The basic consensus was that too much of any one thing was not necessarily better - especially orange juice.

    Jeopardy, the game, made reviewing the information learned from both field trip visits to the South Coast REC a fun and friendly team competition.

    All teams received an educational incentive from the game to take home in addition to the fruit and vegetables they picked upon arrival along with the fruit leather they made earlier in the month and were anxiously waiting to sample. 

    Many thanks to our special guests for visiting, and to our partners, the UCCE Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program for their collaboration.                

    By Tammy Majcherek
    Author - Community Educator II
  • Our everyday super hero - the honey bee

    Jul 18, 2019

    UC ANR South Coast REC hosted middle school students participating in the FLY summer enrichment program focusing on our everyday super hero, the honey bee.

    Staff and OC Master Gardeners/Food Preservers volunteers guided the youth through a fun morning collecting pollen, making fruit leather, planting seeds, sampling honey varieties, in addition to learning fascinating facts about honey bees, observing the hive and bee parts, and investigating the components of a compound flower.

    Honey Samples
    One of the most enjoyable activities for the youth was tasting different varieties of honey distinguishing the different characteristics - color, flavor, sweetness, crystallization, etc., of the available samples - avocado, orange blossom, cactus, and generic store brand. The hands down favorite  was the cactus.

    Kudos to our UCCE Master Gardeners and Master Food Preservers!

    Exploring bees and distinguishing differences.
    Prepping ingredients for fruit leather.
    Observing the hive.

    Collecting pollen.

    Investigating the components of a sunflower.

    Planting Seeds

    By Tammy Majcherek
    Author - Community Educator II
  • Design elements for today's lifestyle...

    Jun 25, 2019

    How to put your design plans together.
    UC ANR South Coast Research and Extension Center, University of California Cooperative Extension, Orange County and Irvine Ranch Water District hosted a three-part landscape design basics workshop for homeowners seeking to make landscape improvements and take advantage of rebates from their local water purveyor.

    The three-part Garden Design workshop series provides participants with the basic tool kit to create a water conserving landscape whether on their own or with the help of a contractor. Major focus of the workshop centered on how irrigation, plants and growth, and living space come together.


    By Tammy Majcherek
    Author - Community Educator II
  • Fun with Spuds

    Jun 10, 2019

    Bringing in the bounty.
    Our first Potato U-Pick experiment was a success thanks to the potatoes originally planted for the youth GROW program and the deluge of rain this spring which had other plans and delayed their availability. Luckily, this happy accident led to a wonderful morning and may lead to an annual event. 

     Filling up two separate sessions, community participants of all ages were out to enjoy the bright sunshine and learn how this tasty staple is grown while harvesting a bag or two to take home for their favorite recipe.

    Groups of all ages harvesting together.
    The variety of most intrigue to all was the Kennebec, a white jacket potato whose claim to fame is being the chosen one used for the In-N-Out French fry because of its smooth white skin, shallow eyes and its reputation as one of the finest baking potatoes. Other types available were the red thumb fingerling used for roasting and potato salad that is typically harvested in 80-100 days; short season varieties included Yukon gold – a yellow potato with a creamy texture and Red Pontiac known for its mild, creamy flavor.

    Learning about tool safety and safe harvesting practices
    UCCE Master Gardeners assisted with instructing and educating attendees about tool safety, safe harvest practices, and growing vegetables such as potatoes in small spaces, even apartment patios.







    Attached Files:

    By Tammy Majcherek
    Author - Community Educator II
  • Local High School Students Visit South Coast REC

    May 14, 2019

    Learning about careers related to K-9 Training
    Hosted by UC ANR South Coast REC, Cooperative Extension, and the Orange County Farm Bureau, programs that provide agricultural education to an increasingly urban population, local high school students participated in workshops at the South Coast REC that were designed to acquaint the students with ag research techniques, careers in agriculture, and the importance of urban ag and water conservation in their daily lives.

    UCCE Master Gardener volunteers assisted UC staff rotating the Students and teachers between workshops focusing on K-9 training and related careers; crop rotation strategies and hands on potato harvest, vertebrate pest management and gopher trapping demonstration; in addition to plant pathology and strawberry research.

    Harvesting berries
    The students especially liked the opportunity to take home bags of the strawberries and potatoes they harvested.

    Following the morning of interactive activities, a barbeque lunch was prepared by staff, UCCE Master Food Preserver and Master Gardener volunteers. 



    Attached Images:

    By Tammy Majcherek
    Author - Community Educator II
  • FFA Students visit South Coast REC

    May 7, 2019

    FFA students visit South Coast REC.
    On April 26th, UC ANR South Coast REC hosted students from the FFA Statewide Conference visiting from across the state.

    South Coast REC staff, assisted by UCCE Master Gardener volunteers, provide a tour of the Center followed by a walk through the citrus trees for a talk and taste.

    Enjoying the many citrus varieties.
    The youth learned about ACP/HLB, uses, sports and variety crosses, citrus origins, rootstocks, and marketability.

     The group had a great time giving their taste buds a real workout with the varying degrees of sour to sweet notes while tasting several varieties such as sweet lime, kumquats, blood orange, lemons, grapefruit, and pumelo.

    By Tammy Majcherek
    Author - Community Educator II
  • South Coast REC and ASICS Corp. contribute to local food bank...

    Apr 25, 2019

    IMG 4425
    In collaboration with Second Harvest Food Bank, (13) ASICS Corp. employess came to UC ANR South Coast REC as part of their team building exercises during Earth Week.  Tammy Majcherek, welcomed the group talking about the REC System including a brief overview of harvest instructions and information about the ACP/HLB issues, also explained how rare and important it is for food banks to receive and  provide those in need with fresh fruits and vegetables. The fruits collected today will be washed and distributed across the county to the hungry.

    Pairing up with Second Harvest and ASICS creates a very unique situation: Second Harvest seeks opportunities to provide for the hungry, ASICS employees are willing to donate time to harvest orchards, especially those where the fruit may otherwise go to waste;
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    UC ANR South Coast REC is able to provide a nutritious food source for the less fortunate in the community through it's extension project largely maintained by volunteers which is used to educate the public through workshops and tours. Bringing these groups together benefits the community by assisting the REC with additional man power to properly glean the citrus, important to the health of the trees, and provides Second Harvest with fresh produce to distribute at the affiliated food banks.

     Led by Center staff and UCCE Master Gardeners – Orange County,  the group from ASICS gleaned the valencia oranges located at the Center. While harvesting the citrus, the Master Gardener volunteers educated the teams about the various citrus varieties, safe and proper pruning techniques, issues surrounding the Asian Citrus Psyllid and HLB.

    Though it was a small crew, a final tally of the gleaned fruit was 4,259 lbs. The volunteers were very proud of their contribution to such a worthy cause.

    IMG 4420

    By Tammy Majcherek
    Author - Community Educator II
  • A wonderful morning for planting..

    Apr 11, 2019

    UC ANR South Coast REC had some youth visitors this morning from one of the local high schools. Working with Dr. Hagop Atamian, Chapman University, the students planted their seedlings started during a prior class. A little fresh air, digging in the dirt - how can you not have fun?


    Attached Images:

    By Tammy Majcherek
    Author - Community Educator II
  • Never Too Young To Learn About Plants and Insects

    Mar 28, 2019

    Local Orange County Kindergarten students along with their two teachers and parent chaperones visited the South Coast REC Youth Garden for the classes' first field trip. After setting their own rules of conduct for the morning, the excited children were split up into groups to participate in the activities conducted by UCCE Master Gardener – Orange County volunteers. Teachers, parents, and children alike enjoyed learning about insects in the garden and plant anatomy. All the students were sent home with ‘Good Bugs in the Garden' coloring books, and their painted lady bug rock.


    Playing with worms.
    Taking time to smell the herbs.
    Creating lady beetles.
    Demonstrating how plants grow.
    Learning about plant parts.

    By Tammy Majcherek
    Author - Community Educator II
  • Fun with Citrus

    Mar 27, 2019

    Home to over (100) citrus varieties, the South Coast REC and UCCE Master Food Preservers, Orange County, hosted a group of (24) for the first ever Rare and Exotic Citrus U-Pick and Preservation Workshop.

     Attendees enjoyed a full morning of harvesting fruit from the REC's demonstration orchard led by UCCE Master Gardener volunteers and staff, followed by pickling mandarins and salting lemons with the Master Food Preserver volunteers.

     In addition to tasting the many varieties of citrus right off the tree, participants also learned about ACP/HLB best management guidelines for citrus as suggested by CDFA and UC researchers.

    Learning best management guidelines.
    Bringing in the bounty for preserving.

    Preserving the harvest.
    Pickling spices
    Pickled mandarins - the finished product.

    By Tammy Majcherek
    Author - Community Educator II
  • Practical Composting Basics for Small Spaces

    Mar 4, 2019

    ‘Practical Composting for Small Spaces'

    Learning about legislation
    Eager to learn how one might create ‘black gold', workshop participants gave their full attention to presenter Shaye Shayegani, UCCE Orange County Master Gardener, as he provided them with the knowledge to create the perfect compost set-up for their landscape – big or small. The group learned all of the basics: why compost, how to make a bin, what materials to use, bin maintenance, site placement, and the best uses for finished compost.


    Hands-on practice
    Following the presentation, all were led outdoors to the South Coast REC Compost Demonstration Site for a tour and hands on activities which included learning how to properly turn a bin to maximize consistent temperatures and trying out various tools used for composting and vermiculture.


    Making worm bins.
    The highlight of the morning was learning how to make a DIY worm bin to take home. Participants were given all the materials to start their own vermiculture set-up – 10gal plastic storage tub w/lid and holes drilled, paper shred, optional worms and lettuce.







    By Tammy Majcherek
    Author - Community Educator II
  • 2019 Cherimoya Top Three

    Feb 4, 2019

    South Coast Research and Extension Center Cherimoya Tasting 2019

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    The South Coast Research and Extension Center hosted visitors coming from all over Southern California attending the annual Cherimoya Tasting on January 18, 2019. Through an open tasting, evaluators were asked to rate the (9) varieties using a basic one to five scale based on texture, flavor, and overall performance.


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    The cherimoya collection at the South Coast REC contains various cultivars that are not widely available and sought after by avid fans of this fruit. The varieties that were evaluated included ‘Booth', ‘Concha Lisa', ‘Knight', ‘Lucida', ‘Orton', ‘Oxhart', ‘Pierce', ‘Santa Rosa', and 36-10.

    Like the last couple of years, the harvest at the time of the tasting was limited due to the cold nights, rain and winds in late December and early January.

    Bumping Deliciosa, Pierce was the clear winner this year.

    South Coast REC 2019 Cherimoya Tasting Top Three Varieties


















    Thank you to everyone for supporting this event. A special kudos to our fabulous UCCE Master Gardener, Orange County volunteers and Center staff for all their hard work.

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    By Tammy Majcherek
    Author - Community Educator II