In This Issue
Then & Now: From Filberts to Hazelnuts
Did you know that the entire U.S. hazelnut crop is grown in the Pacific Northwest? Most U.S. grown hazelnuts are produced in Oregon's Willamette Valley with a small portion coming from Whatcom County, Washington. Hazelnut trees experience an alternate year bearing cycle which accounts for much of the fluctuation in yield from year to year, but the market is generally considered strong and the Oregon hazelnut industry is healthy and growing.
by Katherine Kennedy
Oregon Department of Agriculture Laboratory personnel process hundreds of food and environmental samples each week. But, when you need to locate a particular sample, "who ya gonna call?"
Janis Brown is the ODA Laboratory Services division's sample tracker. If you're a food sanitarian or pesticide inspector and you've submitted samples to the lab recently, chances are great that Janis had a hand in getting those samples to the right analyst.
Ms. Brown is fairly new to the department, having joined the ODA staff in July of this year. She brings with her a wealth of computer data entry experience and a love for information management systemscan you imagine? But Janis brings much more than that to the job. Add a fun-loving personality, a desire to learn, an eye for details, a fear of cameras, and a little mischief and you begin to form a picture of the person.
But I was there to learn about the job as well as the person.
"You're here on a slow day." Janis said. "Some days are busy, so busy you can't sit down. But I like it that way. Then other days (usually Fridays) are catch up days." As Janis talked she moved around the small office organizing packing boxes and sample bottles.
Soon ODA pesticide inspector Brent Nicholas entered the office with four samples for pesticide residue analysis. Glass sample bottles contained cotton swabs with residue from a recent pesticide application.
After Brent's portion of the paperwork was finished and the samples accepted, Janis logged the sample data into the computer database (LIM - laboratory information system). Numbers were assigned for each sample. Tags were then affixed to each sample bottle with the corresponding sample number. Work orders were produced with the description of tests ordered. Finally, Janice carried the labeled sample bottles to the walk-in freezer for safe keeping until the analysis is performed.
These four samples have been entered into the system and will appear on the daily log sheet until the work is completed.
Janis is responsible for the safe handling of a variety of samples including: dairy, food, water, soil, and air samples. She even enjoys learning to recognize many of those very long analytical terms.
Laboratory Services Division Administrator, Norma Corristan, says that is one of Janis Brown's great strengthsher willingness to learn.
As I leave the office, Janis is catching up on paperwork from the busy days at the beginning of the week. Her Uppity Blues Women CD is playing in the background and I think I detect a little rockin' as she works at the computer. ODA laboratory samples are not just trackedthey're tracked with style.
Welcome to the ODA, Janis. It was a pleasure to meet you.