August 3, 2005 | By: Terri McLean

Sheila Decker, Ohio County EFNEP assistant, shares a sample of oven-fried squash with Kathie Hunt of Paducah.

A gentle aroma wafted through the University of Kentucky Research and Education Center, beckoning visitors with the promise of something delectable.

The “Kentucky Garden Basket Taste Testing” exhibit, sponsored by the Cooperative Extension Service’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), fulfilled that promise by offering samples of fresh-from-the-garden treats.

“What we're doing here is trying to promote fruits and vegetables that are grown locally in this area to help people learn new ways to prepare nutritious foods for their families,” said Rita May, Extension associate with Kentucky Nutrition Education Programs.

That task came easy for May and others on hand to prepare the taste samples for guests at the biennial UKREC field day. The Kentucky Nutrition Education Programs, which include the Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program as well as EFNEP, teach food resource management, dietary quality, food safety and food security to limited resource families. Promoting a “fresher is better” attitude is one of the hallmarks of the programs.

“If you can grow it and eat it or preserve it right away, you’re holding in more nutrients, more nutrition,” said May, adding that the recipes used were from Kentucky Garden Basket recipes created by Extension and made available at farmers markets throughout Kentucky each year. 

Broccoli salad supreme, featuring Kentucky-grown broccoli and containing only 100 calories and 6 grams of fat per serving, appeared to be a crowd favorite. Sue Parrent, Crittenden County EFNEP assistant, said the salad received rave reviews all day.

“I had a lot of people tell me they didn’t care for broccoli,” said Parrent, who collaborated with Livingston County EFNEP assistant Detra Coley in preparing the salad. “But they would taste it and like it. It sits all night and you let the flavors marinate. It gives it a wonderful taste. Even the kids liked it.”

Another favorite was the zucchini and corn sauté with corn, zucchini, and green and red peppers. It has 62 calories per serving, with only 3 grams of fat. 

“We tried some recipes that maybe they haven’t tried before so they could find new ways of preparing foods,” May said.

In addition to good taste and good nutrition, each of the recipes available in the exhibit – and promoted regularly through EFNEP and the Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program – take little time to prepare.

“For the stir fry, for example, you chop some vegetables and stir fry in olive oil for a few minutes. That’s it,” May said.

For information about the recipes available at the UKREC field day, or for general information about EFNEP or the Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program, contact Kentucky Nutrition Education Programs at (859) 257-2948. Or visit or



Writer: Terri McLean 859-257-4736, ext. 276

Contact: Rita May, 859-257-2948 ext. 80319