Tuesday, June 19, 2012

When life gives you pits, start over w/ frozen, Michigan strawberries

Positive peer pressure can make all the difference.
Case in point: Early Friday evening I was thinking how awesome it would be if I got up at 6:30 the next morning and shuttled my sleepy self to Santosha, for a hot yoga class at 7:30 a.m.
But it wasn’t until I got a text from a yoga pal a couple hours later that I actually committed. Thank goodness for mobile phones, shared interests, oh, and friendship.
After class, I was sweat-drenched and full of energy. And it was still only 8:45 a.m. 
Perfect. I could swing down to the Mount Clemens Farmers Market and pick up a few cartons of fresh strawberries before things got hectic at the MacLeod homestead.
Surprisingly, everything worked out to plan and by the time the Father’s Day

Bar B Q rolled Sunday afternoon, I’d lived several lifetimes, so to speak, having grocery shopped, made a pasta salad, caught up on laundry and housecleaning, hosted a sleepover for my son -- and even sipped wine and ate s’mores 'round a roaring bonfire with friends.  
Pretty soon it would be time for the big berry presentation. 
For context sake, I must tell you, Dad grew up on a farm where he and his family raised cows, pigs and horses; and planted, picked and ate home grown fruits and vegetables.
So, you’d think my berried would elicit a whoop of joy  for the “little guy”; the local farmer who doesn’t use a California hothouse to crank out gi-normous  red, chemically modified -- but practically tasteless -- fruit.
That was not the case, however: “When did you buy those? Oh. My. Goodness! They’re already turning black!”
The kids weren’t much better.
“These are …….. soft,” my son said.
“That’s because you aren’t used to fresh berries,” I said helpfully.
“I don’t like them,” my daughter chimed in, a bit more definitively.
And they were right.  My little gems didn’t look anywhere near as firm or pretty or perfect as hothouse fare strawberries.
But once you got past the texture issue, they tasted like heaven. Sweet and juicy, every nibble bursting with flavor.
By Monday morning, positive peer pressure was on its way in the form of friends from the Macomb Food Collaborative.  Officially, our mission is to:  “To ensure access to safe, fresh, healthy food for all -- by promoting good nutrition, sustainability and a vibrant, local food economy.”
Unofficially? We spread positive peer pressure amongst each other and the community.
Once our agenda items were effectively tackled, we broke bread, er bagels, then naturally gravitated to sharing healthy eating strategies, strategies that real people like you and me can readily accomplish, like making beans and rice for dinner.
Our conversation reinforced to me that awareness, innovation, familiarity and gentleness are often the keys to change.
This morning, I was pumped up and ready to go with a tub of frozen strawberries for strawberry/banana smoothies. This yummy – and quick-to-make --  breakfast was sweetened with honey, sharpened with lemon juice, fortified with low-fat yogurt and dressed up with a dash of cinnamon.
Not surprisingly, I didn’t hear a single, negative peep from the peanut gallery.
Only problem? Not a single drop was left for Mom.
Ha, ha, ha. Back to the cutting board. A challenge I’m quite happy to tackle.

We need farmers and low-income consumers to help us fine tune and reach our goals. For More information about the Macomb Food Collaborative visit: http://www.macombcountymi.gov/msuextension/communityfoodsystem/index.htm

For a $2 off coupon for strawberries at all three Blake’s locations, click here:  http://conta.cc/JZxUtx

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