Kimberly Twilight Tour July 18 Offers Fun, Practical Weed Advice: Eat ‘em to Beat ‘em

Friday, June 15 2012

KIMBERLY, Idaho – University of Idaho researchers at the Kimberly Research and Extension Center will add some fun to science July 18 with an insect-petting zoo, horse-drawn hay rides and other programs for the whole family as they host the Fourth Biennial Twilight Tour.

“It’s supposed to be fun, relaxing and educational,” said College of Agricultural and Life Sciences soil scientist Amber Moore, who will host a Soils Jeopardy game during the Twilight Tour, which runs from 5 to 8 p.m.

“The hope is we’ll teach people who live in the Magic Valley about what we’re doing at the University of Idaho, the kinds of research we’re doing and how it benefits them directly,” said Moore, a University of Idaho Extension soil science specialist at Kimberly.

Kimberly Research and Extension Center Superintendent Don Morishita, a weed scientist by training, has some practical tips for visitors with his session, “Weeds to Defeat and How to Eat.”

“If you can’t beat ‘em, eat ‘em,” Morishita said.

Morishita will offer recipes and other tips for turning the tables on a grocery list of common garden weeds that can interfere with preferred crops.

Eduwigis Chavez, a member of the center’s farm crew, got him thinking about the topic when she talked about cooking verdolagas. “I asked her what she uses,” Morishita said. “She stepped out the door and came back with a handful of common purslane, and said ‘I use this.’”

Also known as little hogweed, pigweed and perhaps less complimentary names, Idaho gardeners often revile common purslane as a weed.

Chavez’s recipe and a list of weeds regarded as edible are available online at

Lambsquarter, dandelions, weedy mustards, black medic and common mallow are all common Idaho weeds that can be eaten, Morishita said.

Other events include the 4-H Shooting Sports trailer, a match-the-seed-to-the-crop display, an insect petting zoo, forage plants identification challenge, potato growing and storage display and an aquaculture booth.

The field day typically draws 300 people, Moore said.

This year’s turnout is scheduled to include University of Idaho President M. Duane Nellis, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Dean John Hammel and Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station Director Donn Thill.

As the 150th anniversary of the federal Morrill Act, which founded the land-grant university system, and the 125th anniversary of the Hatch Act, which created state agricultural experiment stations, this is a big year for agricultural research and the University of Idaho.

As Idaho’s member of the original land-grant system, the University of Idaho was established in 1889, a year before statehood. The Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station began operations a few months before classes began in 1892.

In addition to the displays, horse-drawn haywagon rides will take visitors on a tour narrated by a scientist of the center’s research plots.

A barbecue dinner featuring a choice of beef, pork or chicken will be served. The event is free and open to the public.

The Kimberly Research and Extension Center is located at 3806 North 3600 East in Kimberly.