Have you received seeds in the mail?

Brooke Beam Contributing columnist

Brooke Beam Contributing columnist

If you have received any unsolicited seed packages in the mail, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) does not want you to plant them. Unsolicited seeds have been arriving in mailboxes across the country, which at this point, the seeds are currently unknown and may contain invasive plant species. The packages often feature Chinese writing and may have originated from China.

According to the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the packages of seeds may contain “invasive species, contain noxious weeds, could introduce diseases to local plants, or could be harmful to livestock. Invasive species and noxious weeds can displace native plants and increase costs of food production. The ODA and APHIS work hard to prevent the introduction of invasive species and protect Ohio agriculture. All foreign seeds shipped to the United States should have a phytosanitary certificate which guarantees the seeds meet important requirements.”

If you have received one of these packages, keep the seeds sealed in the package and retain the original packaging. Unsolicited seeds should be reported to the ODA website or the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Anti-smuggling hotline by calling 1-800-877-3836 or by emailing [email protected]

Brooke Beam, Ph.D., is an agriculture and natural resources/community development educator, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, OSU Extension Highland County.

By LeeAnna McKamey

Spending time with family

As summer is quickly passing by and schools are planning on starting again, try to spend quality time with your family. One of the best ways to do that is making easy meals or snacks together. Children are more willing to try different foods when they helped make them. Here is a fun recipe to try.

English muffin pizzas


Whole wheat English muffins


Green bell pepper



Mozzarella cheese

Canola Oil

Optional: Pepperoni, hamburger or sausage (make these small amounts. If using pepperoni, cut into small pieces).


1. Wash hands and surface areas before starting.

2. Chop up vegetables into small pieces.

3. In a medium skillet, add vegetables with canola oil and cook for 3 minutes.

4. Grate cheese if needed.

5. Then make the sauce from the recipe below.

6. For a crispier muffin, lightly toast before adding ingredients.

7. When sauce is done, add to muffin. Add vegetables, meat if using, and then sprinkle cheese on top.

8. Bake in the oven at 450 degrees until cheese is melted. About 10 minutes.

9. Remember to let your children pick what vegetable they would like for their individual pizzas. If they are picky eaters and like different veggies, steam veggies separately in the microwave and let them pick.

Tomato Sauce


1 medium onion

4 cloves garlic

1 medium carrot

1 Tablespoon canola oil

1 teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon dried oregano

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, no salt added


1. Peel and rinse onion, garlic, and carrot.

2. Dice onion. Shred carrot using a grater. Mince garlic.

3. In a medium pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion, garlic and carrot. Cook until onion is soft, about 3 minutes.

4. Add basil, oregano, salt, pepper and tomatoes. Bring to a boil.

5. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Leeanna McKamey is the SNAP-Ed Program assistant at the Highland County OSU Extension Office.

Brooke Beam Contributing columnist
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2020/07/web1_Beam-Brooke-mug-1.jpgBrooke Beam Contributing columnist