Spanish-English Insect Guide

I am very pleased to share this Spanish-English insect guide that I collaborated on with Crossroads Community Food Network. Based in Takoma Park, Maryland, Crossroads strengthens our local food system by providing resources to those who grow, prepare, and eat fresh produce (i.e. all humans ever).

This bilingual guidebook provides important safety information about the management of pest insects, as well as an overview of beneficial insects. My favorite quality of this book is that it will help facilitate effective communication between English- and Spanish-speakers who work in agriculture. I love opening the lines of communication!

It was satisfying to learn in detail about the various pests and beneficial insects as I created the page layouts and illustrations. In the acknowledgments, you will see a gamut of talented people who contributed their agricultural expertise to this book. As an avid gardener, I was grateful for the chance to absorb their knowledge. The final product was printed in a practical fashion with a spiral binding and waterproof cover–it is meant to be out in the field with you!

Designing projects that have a positive social impact is very meaningful to me. I hope that this book will help strengthen working relationships and build inclusivity for farmers all over Maryland.

I want to thank Crossroads for hiring me to help create such a unique and worthwhile book. If you visit their weekly farmer’s market, be sure to pick up a copy.

Flip through the digital copy above, or download a PDF version.

Grow Your Best Basil

Basil is not only delicious, but easy to grow and manage with the correct approach. Over the weekend, I produced this short video of my Institute of Applied Agriculture (IAA) co-worker Meredith Epstein giving expert advice on proper plant care. She is the Sustainable Agriculture lecturer and advisor at the IAA, and also manages the University of Maryland’s Community Learning Garden. Meredith is also the one who chose basil as the topic for our first how-to video; I think she made a great decision!

Making a how-to video was a great way for me to get back into using iMovie. I had a lot of fun producing this using only my iPhone and the iMovie app. I found that the app doesn’t have all of the features from the desktop version, but still enough.

I have mentioned in previous posts that the Community Learning Garden is one of my favorite spots on campus. I hope that after watching this video, you will see why I love to spend time there.

Please do enjoy le film. Get ready to grow some expert-level basil!

Green Tomato Chutney

Near the end of fall, my friends Meredith and Hardeep showed me how to prepare and can green tomato chutney. Over the course of a day, we prepped, boiled, and heat-sealed enough chutney to send each of us home with over 20 jars apiece!

This chutney is special because all of the green tomatoes were harvested from the UMD Community Learning Garden, which Meredith manages. Hardeep and I were regular volunteers this summer. We had at least 100 green tomatoes remaining at the end of the summer and they all went into this recipe, along with locally-grown apples purchased from the Olney Farmers & Artists Market.

Everything else came from the Burtonsville Giant. Sorry.

Because the tiny jars are so giftable, I decided to design a Christmas-themed label. A 2″ diameter sticker nests perfectly on a standard-sized Ball jar lid, so I took advantage of Sticker Mule’s 10 stickers for $9 deal.


And then, my super-Seinfeld-fan-friend Hardeep requested a Festivus sticker. It seemed apropos. Hardeep requested a square 2×2″ design so that he could print at home and add in a custom title. He is a regular hot sauce connoisseur and has a need to label his many varieties of homemade hot sauce.


The way we cooked, canned, designed, and labeled together feels so rewarding! Thank you, Meredith and Hardeep for sharing your canning expertise and design feedback with me. Merry Christmas and Happy Festivus to all!


“Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way…”

-Frank Costanza, The Origins of Festivus

UMD Community Learning Garden Banner

Check out our crew in front of the fancy new UMD Community Learning Garden banner! We are but a few of many burgeoning gardeners who meet at 4 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays to learn about sustainable food production and help tend the raised beds and terraced plots.

At the official hoisting of the garden banner last Monday. I ended up in the middle of the photo. This is awesome.

Sustainable Ag advisor Meredith Epstein (middle, in teal) manages the garden and leads the work hours. When I started working with Meredith at the Institute of Applied Agriculture, the garden quickly became one of my favorite spots on campus. This summer I grew soybeans, pole beans, green peppers, tomatoes, kale, thyme, sage, and basil in my garden plot.

I was excited when Meredith asked me to design a 12×4′ banner for the garden. I had previously made a sticker design for the garden club, so I took this as an opportunity to build consistent branding by pairing the same colors and fonts with the provided terp/carrot logo.

At 12′ wide by 4′ tall, if you can’t see the banner to find the garden I feel bad for you.

The UMD Community Learning Garden is one of four campus gardens at the University of Maryland, College Park. Formerly called the Public Health Garden, it is nestled between the School of Public Health and the Eppley Recreation Center. You should definitely follow on Instagram.

I Went Viral


Last fall, my co-worker Larisa Cioaca presented me with some statistics about Maryland agriculture and a request to create an infographic. Larisa is the Agricultural Business Management lecturer and advisor at the Institute of Applied Agriculture (IAA), where I am the Student Services Coordinator and Graphic Designer.

The project was shelved for a little while, but I eventually put it together and posted it on the IAA Facebook page last Friday at 10:00 a.m.

As of right now (11:00 a.m. on Sunday) it has 40 likes and 84 shares. Whaaat? Why wasn’t there this much hype about my Open House post?

I credit Meredith Epstein, lecturer and advisor of the Sustainable Agriculture course of study at the IAA, with the idea of drawing male AND female farmers in the “350,000 Marylanders” block. Because: equality.

I feel so affirmed by my newfound ag peers. I look forward to creating the next infographic for the IAA, Alternative Agriculture in Maryland.

Please feel free to download the infographic from the IAA website for printing and posting in classrooms.

**Update: We are now up to 121 shares! Whaaat?




Marc’s Secret Onion Salsa Recipe


cilantro-onion-tomatoThis recipe for onion salsa was taught to my boyfriend, Marc, by Ecuador’s culinary gift to the world (and Marc’s best friend’s mom), Leonor. You might not think you like red onions this much, but make this one time and you will be amazed. It’s like a pickled onion, but squared. It’s like an onion morphed into a space unicorn and drove Apollo’s chariot into your taste buds. Think of it as pico de gallo, but with a shift in the ratio of ingredients.

5 Roma tomatoes
3 medium red onions
1 fistful of cilantro – varies based on size of fist
1/4 cup Kosher salt
3 limes, for juicing
Optional – 1 jalapeño

mixing bowl
sharp knife
cutting board

What to Do:
1. Wash your hands. I know that you have been scratching inappropriately.

2. Slice onions lengthwise, then thinly crosswise. Slice once more to achieve see-through onion half-rainbows.

(1) Cut onion from top to bottom. (2) Slice each half thinly. (3) Cut the slices in half.

3. Transfer your sliced onions to a mixing bowl and cover them with Kosher salt. It should look like your onions are blanketed in snow (scroll down for slideshow visuals).

4. Cover the onion/salt mixture with cool water. Massage the onions, salt, and water together for five minutes. Let the mixture sit for an additional five minutes while you dice your Roma tomatoes and cilantro (and jalapeño, if needed). Do not add these to the mixture yet.

5. At this point, the onions should be limp and somewhat translucent. If the onions are still hard, let them sit for another couple of minutes. Pour the onion mixture into a colander and rinse with cool water. Return onions to mixing bowl, add water, massage, and repeat the straining process. This will ensure that your onions are not overly salty.

6. Return the onions to the mixing bowl and use a fork to juice all three limes over the onion mixture. To get the most juice, roll the limes on the counter and apply pressure by hand before you cut them.

7. Add the tomatoes and cilantro to the mix. Fold the mixture with your hands. Taste the salsa and add more salt if desired.

8. Select desired Netflix program and proceed to stuff face. This salsa is delicious when served with black beans and rice, or on top of some grilled chicken. Or get some Tostito’s Scoops and just go to town.

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Happening Right Now

apple zombie apocalypse

Attention Montgomery Countyites: Drop your golf clubs and go to Dogfish Head Alehouse in Gaithersburg right now! One of my favorite student organizations at the Universities at Shady Grove, Campus Kitchens, is hosting an all-day fundraiser with food, fun, games and prizes. All money raised will be used to aid the club in their mission to eliminate food waste and prepare nutritious meals for those struggling with food insecurity in Montgomery County.

To enhance your enjoyment of the delicious culinary offerings of Dogfish Head Alehouse, you may enter a raffle to win tickets to ABC’s The Chew, purchase a seasonally appropriate dayglow shirt that I designed using a brand-new illustration from Dogfish Head artist Andy Butterman, or enter a zombie trivia drawing for the chance to win free raffle tickets for the aforementioned prizes.

Have a heart and take a bite out of hunger; celebrate the Apple Zombie Apocalypse with Campus Kitchens.

Campfire Stew

I camped in West Virginia with friends this weekend and for dinner we made the most incredible beef and vegetable stew.  After a long day of climbing and hiking it really hit the spot.  I think this recipe works best if you are site camping and have access to a cooler, since the raw meat needs to be kept until you’re ready for dinner. We didn’t have much of a problem since the temperature outside hovered around 30-40 degrees all weekend!

You Will Need:
steak (we used stew steak)
cubed potatoes
diced onions
chopped celery
diced bell peppers
chopped carrots
salt and pepper
tin foil
a campfire
a means to time out 30 minutes
a fork (seems obvious but people forget)
Optional: red wine, other sauces or seasonings

You will notice that I did not list any measurements for the ingredients.  This is because each camper makes their own masterpiece.  Mine was light on the steak and heavy on the potatoes, others decided to take the meatless route.  For simplicity’s sake be sure that all of your meat and veggie pieces are bite sized. Additionally, if you don’t want to chop hard carrots and potatoes with your multi-tool in the dark you can prep the food at home before you head out camping.

How To:
All you need to do is take a piece or three of tinfoil and tightly wrap whatever mixture of delicious ingredients your heart desires.  I just happened to have brought a bottle of pinot noir and decided to add it in for some extra flavor.  Once you have wrapped your meat, veggies and a small amount of water (about 2-3 tablespoons worth, plus your wine if you choose) in the tinfoil you can put it right into your campfire. Make sure the foil is tight; the liquid needs to stay in there so that the potatoes will cook through. We flipped ours after 15 minutes for even cooking, they stayed in the fire for 30 minutes total.

The Best PB&J Ever

The Greatest PB&J EverThis is the story of how I, a humble graphic design minion, came to make the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich that ever existed.

Last Thursday, my roommates and I trekked the six blocks to the Riverdale Park Farmer’s Market that is held every week in the town center. It was a journey of many perils, since numerous drivers in Riverdale Park are not aware that their car is surrounded by mirrors, and a number of others prefer to park in active lanes of traffic. But alas, we three cleared these obstacles and a moving train to make it to the farmers market. There I was to encounter Clinger’s Natural Cajun Peanut Butter from my native land of Wicomico County, and also purchase a loaf of homemade semolina bread from Stone Hearth Bakery of Frederick, Maryland.

Also of note I purchased some bad-ass crab cakes from Shells Yes!, but those do not pertain to this story.

For several days the bread and cajun peanut butter remained forgotten in my apartment as I went home for Mother’s Day. Yesterday for lunch I don’t remember what I ate, but it doesn’t matter anymore because today in my haste I assembled the aforementioned products and some sugar free strawberry jelly to create the Greatest Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich in the history of elementary grade level lunches. The bread was refreshing considering that for the past week I had been eating accidentally-purchased gluten free bread that had the dusty texture of compressed cat litter, birdseed and whatever contents you might expect to find in a Shop-Vac. The peanut butter was so spicy that my sinuses cleared out and I was able to breathe correctly for the first time in several days. The Smucker’s sugar-free strawberry jelly displayed its usual sweet flavor and reduced risk of contributing to diabetes.

If you get excited about homemade products, then I highly recommend that you support your local produce stands and farmer’s markets this summer. I am glad that Riverdale Park has such a great turnout every week at their market; I have really been missing the omnipresent, locally owned stands that I was used to on the Eastern Shore.