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WSU’s On Solid Ground- The Crimson Spoon, Stormwater Solutions, Natural Insecticides

Posted by | October 9, 2013

The Crimson Spoon

Dish up a gourmet meal inspired by the Palouse and WSU at your next dinner event.
Dish up a gourmet meal inspired by the Palouse and WSU at your next dinner event.

“You have what it takes.” These prophetic words were once spoken by a Swiss master chef to Jamie Callison when he was a struggling culinary apprentice in Seattle’s Rainier Golf and Country Club. More than 20 years later, Callison has proven those words a thousand times over as the executive chef of WSU’s School of Hospitality Business Management (SHBM), mentoring thousands of hospitality students and serving gourmet meals to WSU’s invited dignitaries and guests.

To share what he has learned about success in the culinary world with an even larger audience, Callison, along with Linda Burner Augustine, has written The Crimson Spoon: Plating Regional Cuisine on the Palouse. The 224-page, photo-illustrated cookbook features 105 low-effort recipes anyone can follow to create high-impact cuisine.

Callison’s recipes use many regional ingredients and those grown and produced by CAHNRS departments such as Cougar

cheese made at the Creamery, Ferdinand’s ice cream, Wagyu beef, fruit and vegetables from the Tukey Horticulture Orchard and Eggert Family Organic Farm, honey from the Entomology Department, soft durum flour from the Wheat Research Center, and peas, lentils and garbanzo beans from the USDA Grain Legume, Genetics and Physiology Laboratory.

“Ingredients should be your biggest inspiration. Start with quality ingredients, apply simple cooking techniques, and magic happens,” said Callison.

Books sell for $38, with purchasing information available at crimsonspoon.wsu.edu. Proceeds from the book will help maintain and replace equipment and furnishings in the WSU teaching center for hospitality students.

-Sue McMurray

Testing for Toxicity

Scientists at the WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center are testing a method known as “soil bioretention” to eliminate the toxic effects from highway runoff. “Vehicle exhaust often contains dangerous levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are known to cause heart and cardiovascular defects in animals,” said Jen McIntyre, lead WSU Puyallup stormwater researcher. “We want to eliminate or lower the PAHs to create a healthier environment for aquatic life and the general population.”

Puyallup researchers inspect the sprinkler system used to simulate rain events on the asphalt test plot. (Left to right, Curtis Hinman, Jen McIntyre, and Richard Bembenek). Photo by Besty Fradd.
Puyallup researchers inspect the sprinkler system used to simulate rain events on the asphalt test plot. (Left to right, Curtis Hinman, Jen McIntyre, and Richard Bembenek). Photo by Besty Fradd.

The group is simulating brief rainstorms by using sprinklers on a 27-foot x 44-foot area of pavement. The plot, treated with coal tar sealcoat (CTSC) commonly used throughout much of the country–but not in Washington State–contains many of the same PAHs as urban highway runoff.
Traffic counters record the number of vehicles passing over the site during the test period since abrasion is a major source of contamination to runoff from seal-coated surfaces. “After the runoff is collected it will be transported to a greenhouse with large bioretention soil columns,” said McIntyre. “Half of the water will be kept as untreated runoff. The rest will be passed through the soil columns as a kind of biological filter that mimics what happens when runoff infiltrates the ground.”

During the six-week study, fish and aquatic invertebrates will be exposed to both raw runoff and that which has been run through the bioretention system to see if the toxicity is eliminated. Findings from the study, funded in part by EPA Region 10 and the NOAA Coastal Storms Program, will be published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal and presented at local and regional conferences to raise awareness of stormwater contamination and increase understanding about the role of PAHs in runoff toxicity and the benefits of bioretention to clean up urban runoff.

Find out more about the Puyallup stormwater research program at http://puyallup.wsu.edu/stormwater.

-Betsy Fradd

Industrial-Strength Stormwater Solution

The Washington Stormwater Center (WSC) received a national award for a video about a low-cost treatment option for businesses managing heavy metals in their stormwater runoff. The top honor from the Water Environment Federation was in the innovative solution category.

Click the video above to watch a simple solution to the serious environmental problem. Video by Washington Stormwater Center.
Click the video above to watch a simple solution to the serious environmental problem. Video by Washington Stormwater Center.

“Businesses need stormwater treatment devices that work,” said Lisa Rozmyn, WSC business resource program manager.

“We hope this video will show people that effective stormwater treatment doesn’t have to be complicated and expensive.”

The video, produced in conjunction with the Port of Vancouver’s Matt Graves and Mary Mattix, who invented the featured “rain garden in a box,” details the process for removing zinc from stormwater runoff.

Zinc, found in galvanized metal roofs, downspouts, tires, chain link fences, and motor oil, contains toxins harmful to aquatic life and the environment.

The WSC is a collaboration between Washington State University and the University of Washington that provides tools to support municipalities, stormwater permittees, and businesses in their efforts to control stormwater and protect water quality.

-Betsy Fradd

Are Natural Insecticides Better?

The term “natural” sounds pretty healthy, doesn’t it? Manufacturers of everything from food and clothing to cleaning products and pesticides are cashing in on the aura of goodness surrounding this word. But does natural mean safer?

bioretentionWhen it comes to insecticides, some of the strongest products are naturally occurring and thus can be called “natural.” Consider diatomaceous earth–a fine-grained dust consisting of the silica “skeletons” of single-celled phytoplankton. Diatomaceous earth is basically powdered glass shards that kill soft-bodied insects by slicing them open when they crawl across the lethal dust. Gardeners who use this product have to be careful not to ingest or breathe in the dust because those glass shards are also hazardous to the soft membranes in our noses, lungs, mouths, and digestive systems.

You can find more information on diatomaceous earth and other natural garden products in Natural Insecticides (PNW649), a new Pacific Northwest Extension publication. Written by experts at Washington State University and produced through a cooperative agreement with Oregon State University and University of Idaho, this new text defines and discusses the terms “natural” and “organic” and describes many of the natural pesticides available to gardeners and homeowners today. As with conventional pesticides, there are inherent dangers in using anything that is meant to kill pests of one kind or another. Natural Insecticides describes those risks and explains how to handle these pesticides safely while getting the most effective results.

Natural Insecticides is available as a free pdf download from the WSU Extension online bookstore at https://pubs.wsu.edu/ListItems.aspx?Keyword=pnw649.

-Therese Harris