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Boomers grew up around a din­ner table daily fam­ily meals deter­mined sacred . Atten­dance was required and non-​negotiable for any­thing short of an emer­gency.

Gen­er­a­tions X, Y and Z have stepped away from manda­tory fam­ily meals. We under­stand why a case can be made for hav­ing grace around more man­age­able meal expec­ta­tions.

Ide­ally, gath­er­ing around the table with either fam­ily mem­bers or friends is mean­ing­ful. Break­ing bread allows for the human con­tact and exchange that comes with a more relaxed atmos­phere to share the day’s events and hap­pen­ings.

Let’s face it, who now has a real­is­tic sched­ule that can sus­tain a din­ner hour where every­one is avail­able at any given time? Rather, we see soc­cer, band and gym­nas­tic prac­tices tak­ing par­ents and kids in mul­ti­ple direc­tions. Din­ner may be the last thought as we close out com­mit­ments for the day.

The pres­sure to per­form, shop, cook and deliver a fam­ily meal is aban­doned for less stress and less sham­ing.

Let’s cut some slack for the jug­gling that hap­pens each week. Fam­i­lies look and func­tion dif­fer­ently from the 1950’s. Sin­gle par­ent house­holds, extended fam­ily house­holds and shared fam­ily house­holds yield to guilt-​free excep­tions to a one size fits all for how we eat.

Pro­vid­ing healthy meals and mod­el­ing good eat­ing habits should be enjoy­able. So too should meal shar­ing. Pos­i­tive mem­o­ries around the table are built on con­ver­sa­tion, shar­ing ideas, talk­ing about the food before us and laugh­ter.

Absent those attrib­utes, din­ner or other meals may be with­out merit.

Read more: Wide Table →

Most every­one chases a snack demon of sorts. Typ­i­cally, this Achilles heel falls into one of two cat­e­gories. Sweet or savory salty crav­ings cover the range of lit­tle nib­bles that sat­isfy our inner food desires.

Per­sonal pref­er­ences, along with daily habits dic­tate what we find at home and work to graze. Store bought choices line the shelves with nuts, crack­ers, cook­ies and candy.

Chips of all sorts extend past one side of any gro­cery aisle. Potato chips used to dom­i­nate the space. Plain salted chips have made room for fla­vors of lime, onion, chipo­tle and vine­gar. Per­verse at it may sound, dill pickle and spicy habanero have found an audi­ence among chip lovers.

Potato chips now share the lime­light with chips made from all types of other ingre­di­ents. Chick peas, lentils, quinoa and rice are just a few. With so many man­u­fac­tured snacks foods out there, why not elect a health­ier way to snack?

We’ve talked fall and sea­sonal root veg­eta­bles. Think of them as ideal can­di­dates for a com­bined salty/​savory/​sweet delight. Plant based, these likely guilty plea­sures, with­out all the sin, can pro­duce some amaz­ing home made crunchy snacks.

Sweet pota­toes, yams, car­rots, parsnips and beets have inher­ently sweet prop­er­ties. When baked or fried, they take on the qual­ity that devout snack­ers seek. The tex­ture of a chip is as impor­tant as the taste.

Baked or fried, oiled and sea­soned, veg­etable chips offer a per­fect crunch for movie night, tail­gates and all of those cool fall night gath­er­ings. They perk up a bor­ing lunch box for office or school.

A range of sea­son­ings and spice blends get to the heart of what so often is con­strued as taboo. Plea­sure is only a shake away.

Cin­na­mon, oregano, basil, rose­mary and thyme are just a few savory chip sug­ges­tions. All things are pos­si­ble to tar­get the exact taste bud crav­ing.

Fresh herbs, rather than dried, always add that spe­cial aro­matic some­thing to any­thing wor­thy in the kitchen. Don’t skip try­ing out which ones work best with new veg­gie selec­tions. Cel­ery root might hitch­hike along with Ital­ian pars­ley and garlic.

Read more: Salty & Sweet →

Last year Amer­i­cans ate over 4.5 bil­lion tacos! There is no sign of that trend let­ting up this year. A National hol­i­day or weekly Taco Tues­days are unnec­es­sary reminders of our taco obses­sion.

A recent Face­book post­ing asked fol­low­ers what three foods could they NOT live with­out. Tacos were right up there with choco­late, cof­fee (not really a food), and pizza.

Likely, the orig­i­nal taco was no more than a tor­tilla and beans. Some­thing sim­ply to sus­tain work­ing minors and easy to carry into the sil­ver mines.

The clas­sic taco com­bi­na­tion is a hard tor­tilla shell with a per­sonal com­bi­na­tion of beans, meat, cheese, let­tuce and salsa.

Amer­i­cans have man­aged to trans­form this hum­ble street food into numer­ous ver­sions to please every palette. From seafood to veg­e­tar­ian fill­ings, soft-​shelled, dou­ble shelled or salad shells, the taco has made its mark.

Culi­nary mas­ters, home cooks and food trucks all lean in on ways to improve an already pop­u­lar attrac­tion. Korean tacos, by exam­ple, amplify the heat on pork with kim­chi and gochu­jang.

Gin­ger cur­ried tacos rep­re­sent their ver­sa­til­ity using cau­li­flower, jack­fruit or other meat sub­sti­tutes. Bland and bor­ing go out with the bath­wa­ter. Move over burg­ers and pasta. Tacos are wel­comed on the menu.

The beauty of tacos for lunch or din­ner, they are suited to be cus­tomized by taco fill­ings and top­pings. Set­ting up a taco bar makes the meal fes­tive in color and taste. The tough­est deci­sion is what to leave out. Ingre­di­ents on the build your own bar are end­less. From tra­di­tional to trendy, go wild on fresh pro­duce.

Avo­cado, cilantro, green onions, toma­toes, chili pep­pers, let­tuce, cab­bage and lime are on the start­ing bench.

Read more: Tacos Everyday →

Root veg­eta­bles are truly nat­ural, unadul­ter­ated sources of com­plex car­bo­hy­drates, antiox­i­dants and other impor­tant nutri­ents.

Unlike most fresh veg­eta­bles, they can stay fresh for longer peri­ods of time when stored in a cool, dark place such as a cel­lar.

Tech­ni­cally. not all root veg­eta­bles are tubers. Those are defined as geo­phytes, a botan­i­cal term for plants with their grow­ing point beneath the soil.

Other types of veg­gies that we clas­sify as root veg­eta­bles are actu­ally bulbs, corms and rhi­zomes. This includes pota­toes, sun­chokes and yams that grow under­ground.

Let’s not get hung up on tech­ni­cal­i­ties and stay focused on the good­ness of roots. A sta­ple food in many South Amer­i­can and Asian cul­tures for thou­sands of years, root veg­gies have played a key role in both global nutri­tion and folk med­i­cine.

Com­mon types of root veg­eta­bles as we iden­tify them include: pota­toes, beets, parsnips, car­rots, cele­riac, sweet pota­toes, fen­nel, Jerusalem arti­chokes, jicama, yams, radishes and turnips.

Turmeric, gar­lic and gin­ger are also root veg­eta­bles, though we asso­ciate them more as being spices.

Less com­mon to West­ern­ers, but heav­ily cul­ti­vated and cov­eted in other coun­tries: are batata, arrow­root, boni­ato, bur­dock, taro, daikon, water chest­nuts and cas­sava roots.

Car­rots, pota­toes and onions may be our favorite under­ground veg­gies for every­day use.

With a range of meth­ods to pre­pare them, Fall is a log­i­cal sea­son to resume our love affair with roots.

Read more: Roots →

The pro­duce indus­try is highly depen­dent upon an effi­cient trans­porta­tion sys­tem. From truck­ing, rail ser­vice and ocean ship­ping, to ports and bor­der con­trol facil­i­ties, putting food on the table relies on a dynamic machine.

While the United States has more than 300 com­mer­cial har­bors and more than 600 smaller har­bors, the top ten port com­plexes han­dle a major­ity of cargo vol­ume and inter­na­tional ves­sel calls.

Port con­ges­tion exac­er­bates first-​to-​last mile delays in freight move­ments. This dri­ves up the cost of goods in both the global mar­ket­place and pro­duce sup­ply chains in the United States.

Con­tainer ships with pre­cious cargo have been expe­ri­enc­ing long wait times, all year long, at ports to unload con­sumer goods, fresh pro­duce and mate­ri­als for most indus­tries.

A recent record was bro­ken with forty-​four con­tainer car­ri­ers anchored and await­ing a berth space out­side the twin ports of Los Ange­les and Long Beach, Cal­i­for­nia. The aver­age wait time to dock rose to 7.6 days, up from 6.2 in mid-​August.

Ves­sels are lin­ing up with imports just as inland trans­porta­tion, truck­ing and rail­roads, con­tends with its own bot­tle­necks of ship­ping con­tain­ers that aren’t being moved fast enough into dis­tri­b­u­tion cen­ters and ware­houses.

Cal­i­for­nia port delays are just one of many fac­tors pil­ing onto a global supply-​chain crisis.

Read more: Ship Shape →

Some­times the health­i­est and tasti­est dishes are the sim­plest. Keep­ing meals sim­ple is ideal as these last hot days of sum­mer roll into fall.

Using only a hand­ful of ingre­di­ents, like five or less, makes sense for reluc­tant kitchen cooks.

September’s mash up of sea­sonal pro­duce is truly a schiz­o­phrenic best of both worlds.

On the one hand, some of the prized toma­toes of the sea­son are just com­ing to mar­ket. Fresh herbs, peaches, zuc­chini, sweet and hot pep­pers, egg­plants and corn beg for the spot­light.

The other hand is deal­ing out new crop apples, pears, quince, figs, nuts and grapes. Hard squash, new pota­toes and onions, kale and beets paint a new plate palette.

Uncom­pli­cated and straight­for­ward, sal­ads, entrees and sides are assem­bled in short order with just a few sim­patico ingre­di­ents. Pantry sta­ples such as olive oil, salt and pep­per are exempt from the tally as those are always at hand.

Mid-​week time man­age­ment for hur­ried din­ners and hun­gry mouths let pro­duce shine bright. Zuc­chini rib­bons, nec­tarine and beet salad or lemon-​garlic spinach spruce up the plate. Given avail­abil­ity of pre-​cut veg­gies and fruits, the pain of slic­ing and chop­ping can be elim­i­nated.

A recent Cap­rese salad served on the week­end took advan­tage of already sliced moz­zarella cheese. How easy is that for a sexy quick starter? Fresh basil leaves, gar­den toma­toes and the per­fect thick­ness of soft moz­zarella. Bellissima!

Read more: Gimme Five →

Move to close out these last pre­cious days of sum­mer on a healthy note. Mod­ify the daily dietary reg­i­men to incor­po­rate a few health­ier choices. This will kick start a ter­rific fall lifestyle.

Plant-​based/​Plant-​forward eat­ing prac­tices have been widely adopted and quite pop­u­lar in recent years. An empha­sis on meals focused pri­mar­ily from plants can do a body good.

This includes not only fruits and veg­eta­bles, but also nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans. Eat­ing a plant-​based diet means get­ting most or all calo­ries from fresh, whole plant foods that are min­i­mally processed.

The Mediter­ranean diet is a way of eat­ing that’s based on the tra­di­tional cuisines of Greece, Italy and other coun­tries that bor­der the Mediter­ranean Sea. Plant-​based foods, herbs and spices are the foun­da­tion of this diet. Mod­el­ling this way of eat­ing could be the first step in over­haul­ing the diet by fall.

Olive oil is the main source of added fat. Fish, seafood, dairy and poul­try are included in mod­er­a­tion. Red meat and sweets are eaten only occa­sion­ally.

Start by build­ing meals around veg­eta­bles, beans and whole grains. Eat fish at least twice a week. Try using olive oil instead of but­ter in prepar­ing food.

Instead of calorie-​laden heavy desserts, serve fresh fruits after meals for a sweet treat. Grapes, mel­ons, oranges and fresh berries can be quite sat­is­fy­ing after din­ner.

Eval­u­ate daily sugar, cof­fee, and alco­hol con­sump­tion. Look for ways to adjust or reduce intake. Exam­in­ing these uncon­scious habits hon­estly may yield to the promise of reduced inflam­ma­tion, higher energy lev­els and bet­ter sleep.

Drop­ping a few extra pounds can incen­tivize going far­ther in a total fall reset. Putting exer­cise on the daily cal­en­dar makes it a pri­or­ity. If the work­day locks in seden­tary behav­ior, decide how to break the streak. Set an alarm for a sure fire way to get in those 10,000 steps. Sched­ule in a time slot for a phys­i­cal appointment.

Read more: Plant Ahead →

Chips and salsa are pretty stan­dard fare in most Mex­i­can restau­rants. At home, we rely on them for a go to snack or pre­cur­sor to an enchi­lada or chili rel­leno din­ner.

The combo is a good stand-​alone bite when hang­ing out with friends on the patio.

Salsa lit­er­ally trans­lates to sauce. Don’t get stuck think­ing that tor­tilla chips are the outer lim­its to what pairs per­fectly with salsa.

Purists might fol­low the pico de gallo or rojo route. That’s a ter­rific jump­ing off point for home­made salsa. Chili pep­pers, toma­toes, onions, fresh lime and cilantro get the job done. The fresher the bet­ter wins over salsa fans.

Step­ping away from this clas­sic, expand to other ingre­di­ents to pump up the salsa reper­toire. Explore unlikely sum­mer and trop­i­cal ingre­di­ents. Straw­ber­ries, man­gos, peaches, pineap­ples and even water­melon rise to meet salsa aspi­ra­tions.

Pome­gran­ate arils are a sur­prise ele­ment that deliver on zing and crunch fac­tors. Dessert is unique with a ladle full of fruit salsa over vanilla ice cream, chur­ros or cin­na­mon tor­tilla chips. Bold is not bor­ing when it comes to new ways to inter­pret tra­di­tional appli­ca­tions of how we put salsa in motion

Con­sider serv­ing these level up con­coc­tions with tra­di­tional menus choices like Baja style tacos or faji­tas. When cook­ing chicken, fish or pork, those bright and fruity ver­sions con­vert ordi­nary din­ner to one of higher inter­est.

Tomatil­los can be added to nearly any­thing salsa. Tangy, more acidic, and less sweet, this green tomato-​looking thing is in the fruit family.

Read more: Salsa Crush →

Cal­i­for­ni­ans have been cul­ti­vat­ing grapes for more than two cen­turies.

Today, Ninety-​nine per­cent of table grapes in the United States are pro­duced in California’s warm, dry cli­mate that is ideal for grape grow­ing.

With eighty two grape vari­eties grown, Cal­i­for­nia grapes come in three col­ors — green, red, and black — and are in sea­son from May through Jan­u­ary.

Deter­min­ing when grapes are ripe is a real sci­ence . Both the U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Food and Agri­cul­ture are involved in set­ting and mon­i­tor­ing grape pro­duc­tion stan­dards. Sugar con­tent, color, bunch and berry size and uni­for­mity are all mea­sured before har­vest begins. Work­ers who decide which grapes to har­vest are trained pro­fes­sion­als with years of expe­ri­ence.

Once picked, fresh grapes are eas­ily dam­aged by rough han­dling, warm tem­per­a­tures, exces­sive mois­ture and decay-​causing organ­isms.

Grape bunches are care­fully inspected and then imme­di­ately packed by hand into ship­ping con­tain­ers – often right in the field.

Shortly after picking/​packing, the field heat is removed from the fruit in cold stor­age facil­i­ties. Grapes are stored at tem­per­a­tures between 30 F and 32 F. From this point, until they reach their des­ti­na­tion (mar­kets through­out the world), the grapes will be main­tained in a care­fully reg­u­lated envi­ron­ment to assure they arrive in just-​picked condition.

Read more: Good­ness Grapes →

The word “water­melon” con­jures up images of free-​spirted sum­mer­time fun. Fam­ily gath­er­ings, care-​free beach days, back­yard bar­be­cues, and out­door camp­ing events keep water­melon on the top of the sum­mer gro­cery list.

Over thirty states in the U.S. grow water­melon for the sum­mer sea­son. When domes­tic har­vests end, we move back to imported mel­ons from Mex­ico and Guatemala. This means there is a year-​round sup­ply of this fam­ily favorite.

Most peo­ple eat the red flesh of water­melon down to the rind. Once fin­ished, they toss out the rest of the water­melon. Gar­den­ers know to put the rinds in the com­post heap. Back­yard chicken farm­ers give their hens a tasty rind treat.

Those two good uses for the rind are not the only ben­e­fits of using the entire water­melon. The flesh, juice and rind are one hun­dred per­cent edi­ble.

A few sug­ges­tions for putting the rind to good use make water­melon a zero waste food.

Make Pick­les. Water­melon rind is pretty sim­i­lar to a cucum­ber. A quick boil and cool down of the cut up rinds allow them to absorb what­ever pick­ing spices and vine­gar pre­ferred. Sweet, sour, spicy or some­thing in between give water­melon pick­les a full range of options.

Read more: It’s a Rind →

No sweeter words res­onate more with par­ents today than “you’re going back to school”. Sweet words, yes, but maybe a bit con­fus­ing, as well.

The past eigh­teen months have not been a pic­nic for house­holds jug­gling work, home-​schooling, life sched­ules and fam­ily time.

The return to in-​person learn­ing will give a sem­blance of rou­tine and per­haps a promise to a more life-​balance for teach­ers, par­ents and stu­dents.

Dur­ing the pan­demic, Cen­ter for Dis­ease Con­trol (CDC) direc­tives have helped influ­ence school safety deci­sions. Recent updates rec­om­mend remov­ing pre­ven­tion strate­gies one at a time. With vac­cines only avail­able for peo­ple ages 12 and older, a large pro­por­tion of school-​age chil­dren remain unpro­tected from COVID.

School dis­tricts are work­ing hard to flush out the details of what the school year will look like.

Every state, every county is pay­ing atten­tion to how new poli­cies for in-​person school or a hybrid pro­gram means will keep every­one safe from COVID. Some con­flicts between juris­dic­tions and local­i­ties are yet to be resolved.

Mean­while, kids still need to eat. Where they eat, how they eat and what they eat are the fine points indus­try enti­ties are inter­ested in know­ing. A con­gre­gate set­ting may not be avail­able for this school year. Likely, self-​serve salad bars are off the prover­bial table. “Grab and Go”, pre-​packaged break­fasts or lunches will be preferred.

Read more: Back to School →

Cal­i­for­nia grows one third of the veg­eta­bles pro­duced in the United States. It grows two-​thirds of the nation’s fruits and nuts.

Last winter’s La Nina weather pat­tern in the Pacific left Cal­i­for­nia with less rain­fall and mois­ture than nor­mal or needed.

Many farm­ers saw the impend­ing water short­age and drought con­di­tions as good rea­son to opt out of plant­ing for the this sea­son.

The cur­rent drought is on pace to be one of the worst ever on record. Cal­i­for­nia, home to about 70,000 farms and ranches, with a com­bined AG pro­duc­tion of about $50 bil­lion a year, is suf­fer­ing severe con­se­quences.

The dairy indus­try accounts for the largest chunk of the state’s agri­cul­tural rev­enue, fol­lowed by almonds and then grapes.

The State Depart­ment of Water Resources and the Fed­eral Bureau of Recla­ma­tion, declared that “the Water Year 2021 is cur­rently the dri­est on record since 1977”.

Drought con­di­tions inten­sify long-​standing water allo­ca­tion con­flicts among farm­ers, munic­i­pal­i­ties and envi­ron­men­tal advo­cates. Even in years when the state has had good rain­fall and snow­pack lev­els, Cal­i­for­nia has never had enough water to sat­isfy all demands.

Cli­mate change has shifted rain pat­terns and increased tem­per­a­tures across the planet. Record-​setting tem­per­a­tures in June were an early start to a very long, hot summer.

Read more: High & Dry →

Din­ing alone can be daunt­ing if not intim­i­dat­ing. Not every per­son feels com­fort­able sit­ting at a restau­rant table by them­selves for an entire meal ser­vice.

Road war­riors were used to fend­ing for them­selves when work duty called. Busi­ness travel has not fully rebounded from the pan­demic. Sales peo­ple and oth­ers will hit the road again when the COVID dust is clear.

Fly­ing solo is not exclu­sive to the mobile work­force. Think of those liv­ing alone by choice or by cir­cum­stance. Per­haps a life part­ner has gone away for a short leisure or work trip. There are many rea­sons for din­ing out alone and none should pre­clude enjoy­ing a great meal in your own com­pany.

Eat­ing out alone does not mean that a per­son is lonely, with­out friends or at all unhappy. The social stigma attached to a being a soli­tary diner is what might pre­vent more brave souls to ven­ture out.

To expe­ri­ence things in one’s own unique way is empow­er­ing. Give your­self per­mis­sion to try that new neigh­bor­hood café or bistro on your own.

The notion of shar­ing meals with oth­ers is well sup­ported for the culi­nary acu­men and social engage­ment aspects. Those two fac­tors are not exclu­sive to group set­tings. As a soloist, one can engage with wait staff to fully embrace the menu, prepa­ra­tions and any spe­cial ingre­di­ents and sourc­ing tid­bits.

Sig­na­ture dishes are wor­thy of a sin­gle plate.

Read more: Table for One →

Pulp Fic­tion, the 1994 cult clas­sic by Quentin Taran­tino, ref­er­ences many iconic foods in the film.

The Burger Royale puts a Euro­pean twist on an all Amer­i­can favorite. The five dol­lar shake at Jack Rab­bit Slim’s makes movie-​goers won­der what that extrav­a­gant drink might taste like.

The cur­rent food sup­ply chain puts an end to guess­ing about what an expen­sive shake or burger might taste like. Menu prices are going up fast.

Con­sumers are cer­tainly spend­ing more for food. Costs for “take out”, din­ing in and prepar­ing meals at home have all increased post-​pandemic.

Lots of fac­tors account for the ris­ing costs. Those increases, not unlike with other indus­tries, are being passed on to patrons.

Toi­let paper and pasta short­ages were evi­dent six­teen months ago. At the start of national COVID-​19 out­breaks, the run at retail gro­cery stores led to pantry hoard­ing.

Today’s price hikes are real. The cost of every­thing from lum­ber to food to air­fares is climb­ing. Com­pa­nies report short­ages of prod­ucts, mate­ri­als, and work­ers. As the pan­demic wanes, we are left to grap­ple with long-​term sup­ply chain issues.

We see first-​hand the robust return and re-​opening of food­ser­vice. That’s great and wel­comed news for every­one. One down side is how busi­nesses are choos­ing to cope with new oper­a­tional challenges.

Read more: Burger Royale →

After a year or more of going nowhere, Amer­i­cans are on the move. Vac­ci­nated indi­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies are get­ting back to their des­ti­na­tion “bucket” lists.

Encour­aged to “play it safe” and see the United States, theme parks, hotels, camp­grounds, state and national parks are bustling with sum­mer tourists.

Inter­na­tional travel ambi­tions are com­pli­mented by rel­a­tively rea­son­able air fares and afford­able accom­mo­da­tions. Nearly every­one we know had to can­cel 2020 vaca­tion plans.

Rec­om­men­da­tions to travel safely are well announced. Coun­tries to avoid are well-​supported. Much of Europe is still off-​limits to Amer­i­cans. Croa­tia and var­i­ous other Balkan coun­tries, includ­ing Alba­nia, North Mace­do­nia, Ser­bia and Mon­tene­gro, are open.

North­ern lights in Ice­land are tempt­ing. Bali may be open but still may require mul­ti­ple days of quar­an­tine upon arrival. Cana­dian bor­ders are not fully allow­ing Amer­i­cans to freely cross. Greece is open for leisure Amer­i­can vis­i­tors. Ahh Greece.

Rea­sons for travel to for­eign places are often times per­sonal. The cul­ture, the peo­ple, the his­tory and geog­ra­phy play a role. So does build­ing life­long mem­o­ries with com­pan­ion trav­el­ers. The food of every cul­ture and within each coun­try tells a story cen­tral to the travel expe­ri­ences.

Greek cui­sine has been greatly influ­enced by both East­ern and West­ern cul­tures. Any num­ber of authen­ti­cally pre­pared Greek dishes reminds one of why we need to travel.

Read more: Greek with Envy →

Eat­ing in the morn­ing sets the tone for the rest of the day.

It makes sense then that mak­ing it a bal­anced meal with fiber – rich grains (foods made with both whole grains and enriched grains), lean pro­tein, and some fruit or veg­gies will keep the wolves away.

Stay­ing sat­is­fied by a good break­fast keeps us on track and avoid­ing that mid-​morning crash or energy slump.

The whole morn­ing break­fast rit­ual has come under scrutiny by those look­ing to shed a few pounds. Sure, inter­mit­tent fast­ing or stick­ing to a “cof­fee only” start reduces daily calo­ries. Skip­ping break­fast robs us of the oppor­tu­nity to nour­ish the body with essen­tial micronu­tri­ents.

Once we rise, the energy stores are depleted by as much as eighty per­cent. With­out food, a body begins to con­serve energy and actu­ally burn fewer calo­ries — slow­ing down metab­o­lism. Stud­ies show that break­fast skip­pers were nearly five times more likely to be obese than peo­ple who eat break­fast.

A high-​fiber, high-​protein break­fast may be the most impor­tant invest­ment made for improv­ing mood, waist­line and sta­mina.

Morn­ing fuel pos­si­bil­i­ties are a blank can­vas. Paint it with broad brush strokes for on the go oat­meal jars to pro­tein smoothies.

Read more: Rise & Dine! →

On Fri­day, Octo­ber 11, 2019, our res­i­dent GP “Chefs” made 14 deli­cious dishes using any vari­ety of win­ter squash. Some devel­oped their own recipes while oth­ers cooked or adapted clas­sic recipes found in cook­books or inno­v­a­tive recipes found on food blogs. Win­ners won Tar­get gift cards of $25, $15 or $10.

Con­grat­u­la­tions to the win­ners & thank you to all of the par­tic­i­pants. We enjoyed a very tasty Fri­day and have a new appre­ci­a­tion for win­ter squash thanks to you!
Check out the dishes and click on the titles in green to see the recipes:

Cran­berry Chip Squash Bread
Romana Har­ris
First Place

Kuri Curry
Coconut Soup
Gina Back­ovich
Sec­ond Place

But­ter­nut Squash
San­dra Sanchez
Third Place

But­ter­nut Squash, Sausage
and Tortellini Soup
Traci Ennis

But­ter­nut & Red Kuri
Squash Soup
Rochelle Grover

Parme­san Acorn
Leah Haz­zard

Roasted Red Kuri Squash with Can­nelli Beans
& Spinach Salad

Linda Luka

Kabocha Squash
Donut Muffins
Linda Luka

Spicy Squash Salad
with Lentils and
Goat Cheese

Jeff Sac­chini

African Lamb Kabocha Tagine
Gina Back­ovich

Lemon Grass But­ter­nut Squash
Patty Chan

Sauteed Del­i­cata
Nancy Spinella

Green business Bureau article about GP
Green Busi­ness Bureau
By Amanda John­son Sep­tem­ber 11, 2018 Blog, Mem­ber News

From food­ser­vice to retail, export to whole­sale, the fresh pro­duce dis­tri­b­u­tion busi­ness can cover a wide-​rage of busi­ness seg­ments that come together to ser­vice every­thing from gro­cery stores to restau­rants and casi­nos to schools. One busi­ness that suc­cess­fully cov­ers all of these seg­ments is Green Busi­ness Bureau mem­ber, Gen­eral Pro­duce Com­pany, a com­pany tack­ling the fresh pro­duce mar­ket in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

Founded in 1933 by Chan Tai Oy, his three sons and nephew, Gen­eral Pro­duce Co. is a third gen­er­a­tion owned and oper­ated fam­ily busi­ness that dis­trib­utes and exports fresh fruits and veg­eta­bles that are local, organic, sus­tain­able, and region­ally and glob­ally sourced. As a PRO*ACT mem­ber, Gen­eral Pro­duce is focused on energy con­ser­va­tion and reduc­tion, recy­cling and par­tic­i­pat­ing in pro­grams like Greener Fields Together, a local farm ini­tia­tive. Gen­eral Pro­duce works to inte­grate sus­tain­abil­ity – social, envi­ron­men­tal and eco­nomic – into their daily busi­ness prac­tices and long range plan­ning.

While Gen­eral Pro­duce is chal­lenged with facil­i­ties that are dated in terms of struc­tures, energy sys­tems, fleet demand for ser­vice and CA leg­is­la­tion, they have worked hard to be cre­ative in address­ing the demands of state man­dates, as well as facil­ity lay­out. From light­ing to cool­ing and refrig­er­a­tion, the company’s oper­a­tions and facil­ity team con­tin­u­ously work toward mak­ing improve­ments. They also look for ways to min­i­mize the company’s envi­ron­men­tal impacts in the areas of water, waste, energy and air, and reduce their car­bon foot­print by installing cost sav­ing mea­sures.

“Our approach to busi­ness is guided by our com­mit­ment to the prin­ci­ples of integrity, hon­esty, per­sonal rela­tion­ships, diverse exper­tise, stew­ard­ship and inno­va­tion,” said Linda Luka, Direc­tor of Mar­ket­ing & Com­mu­ni­ca­tions. “We are ded­i­cated to pro­vid­ing qual­ity ser­vice and prod­ucts. To do so, our aim is to ensure that our work­force and com­mu­ni­ties ben­e­fit from the small scale of our daily oper­a­tions to the large scale of our sup­ply chain.”

Read the orig­i­nal arti­cle here.

Seek­ing to infuse your culi­nary or bev­er­age cre­ations with the ulti­mate fresh fruit fla­vor? No need to peel, dice, purée, and sim­mer for those ideal results.
Per­fect Purée is the solution!

Per­fect Purée is the pre­mium purée prod­uct on the mar­ket. The suc­cu­lent, single-​note fla­vors of Per­fect Purée inspire every­thing you can think of: cock­tails, mari­nades, cakes, cook­ies, sor­bets and smooth­ies. At the back of the house or front of the house, chefs, cookes, baris­tas, bar­tenders, pas­try chefs, and brew mas­ters love this prod­uct line!

For a per­fect sum­mer, try out our favorite warm weather fla­vors: El Cora­zon, Pink Guava & Pas­sion Fruit.

Call us today to order your sam­ple kit. Can’t wait? Go online to http://​bit​.ly/​g​p​p​u​r​e​e.

Dan Chan (Pres­i­dent) and Tom Chan (CEO) with Sacra­mento Food Bank & Fam­ily Service’s Kelly Siefkin (far left) and Blake Young (sec­ond from right)
Last week, Farm-​to-​Fork and Food Tank hosted the inau­gural food sum­mit called Farm Tank in Sacra­mento. Look­ing to fur­ther offer indus­try mem­bers oppor­tu­ni­ties to learn about the unique per­spec­tive of Cal­i­for­nia food and agri­cul­ture, Gen­eral Pro­duce par­tic­i­pated in Farm Tank in many ways. We really wanted to pro­vide an exhil­a­rat­ing expe­ri­ence that will advance con­ver­sa­tion around access to healthy food. All of the thought­ful con­ver­sa­tion and edu­ca­tion that tran­spired those few days could poten­tially improve our local food system.

Read more: Farm Tank Sum­mit & On the Plate 2016

Learn about California’s rich agri­cul­tural industry.


The United Fresh Retail Pro­duce Man­ager Awards Pro­gram pays spe­cial recog­ni­tion to pro­duce man­agers on the front lines in super­mar­kets work­ing every day to increase sales and con­sump­tion of fresh fruits and veg­eta­bles. Gen­eral Pro­duce is hon­ored to have nom­i­nated yet another win­ner, Ryan Blan­cas of Beale AFB Commissary.

In June, Ryan, along with Gen­eral Pro­duce team mem­bers, will attend the United Fresh Pro­duce Inno­va­tion Con­fer­ence in Chicago. United Fresh will honor 25 of the industry’s top retail pro­duce man­agers for their com­mit­ment to fresh pro­duce, inno­v­a­tive mer­chan­dis­ing, com­mu­nity ser­vice and cus­tomer satisfaction.

Left to right:
Mar­lon Walker, Store Direc­tor, Beale AFB Com­mis­sary
Alan Edi­ger, VP Busi­ness Devel­op­ment, Dole Fresh Veg­eta­bles
Ryan Blan­cas, Pro­duce Man­ager, Beale AFB Com­mis­sary, 2016 Retail Pro­duce Man­ager Award Win­ner
Jeff Ober­man, VP Trade Rela­tions, United Fresh Pro­duce Association
Just a lit­tle less than 2 hours away in Pleasan­ton, the Expo It is a great oppor­tu­nity for us to see what’s new out there. It is easy for us to take our cus­tomers with us to con­nect with grow­ers, ship­pers, and retail­ers. The Expo exhibitors pro­vide updates on their lat­est crops and prod­ucts while we get to talk to them about how and why they do what they do.

GP Team Mem­bers David John III, Jen­nifer Ho, Ray Hoell­warth, and Linda Unden attended the FPFC Nor­Cal Expo this year. They all enjoyed it and are look­ing for­ward to more FPFC events.

Read more about the event:

By Kath­leen Weaver

Most con­sumers believe pro­duce comes shrouded in plas­tic; per­fectly selected apples pre­sented in a pris­tine pack­age ready to enjoy. And while any­one eat­ing fruits and veg­eta­bles excites me for all the obvi­ous rea­sons; health and com­merce related, there is one sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence between the eater of today and that of the past. Eighty years ago most folks knew how an apple was grown, which is no longer the case.

Eighty years ago a sub­stan­tial chunk of the work­force was employed in agri­cul­ture; 22% of work­ers rep­re­sent­ing roughly 27 of 123 mil­lion peo­ple who called the US home at the time. They farmed on small farms in all regions of the US pro­duc­ing mostly for their own sub­sis­tence. How­ever, trends began to shift with elec­tri­fi­ca­tion, mech­a­niza­tion, and infra­struc­ture and trans­port improve­ments, allow­ing peo­ple to seek off-​farm work. This is where we see the most sub­stan­tial change in our food sys­tem that until recently remained unchallenged.

Read more: Break­ing Down Bar­ri­ers for Local Food →

Dan, Brian and Tom (in absen­tia) received the Seven Seals Award rec­og­niz­ing Gen­eral Pro­duce as a Patri­otic Employer for its sup­port of the Guard and Reserve. At a spe­cial pre­sen­ta­tion in front of the Sacra­mento Board of Super­vi­sors , Gen­eral Pro­duce, along with other Sacra­mento area employ­ers, were hon­ored and recognized.

For the past 12 years, GP has been able to accom­mo­date our National Guards­man, Todd Pratt, as he has been called for train­ing and deployed dur­ing his mil­i­tary ser­vice. We are proud of him and proud to be able to con­tribute to sup­port­ing our mil­i­tary troops abroad.

Read more here:


Gen­eral Produce’s vision of cre­at­ing a dis­tinc­tive, col­lab­o­ra­tive cel­e­bra­tion to high­light the best Cal­i­for­nia grown foods in the midst of the 2015 Sacra­mento Farm-​to-​Fork Fes­ti­val came to fruition and exceeded all expectations.

Gen­eral Pro­duce, a third-​generation, locally owned, family-​run dis­tri­b­u­tion com­pany part­nered with long­time cus­tomer, Fat’s Fam­ily Restau­rant Group, to host “On the Plate” dur­ing this year’s Farm-​to-​Fork Fes­ti­val on Sep­tem­ber 26th.

The large mar­quee booth (a 50′ x 60′ tent and out­side dis­play space) attracted folks with a vin­tage Gen­eral Pro­duce deliv­ery truck, draped in fresh flo­ral, fruits and veg­eta­bles. The col­or­ful fall hard­scape pro­vided the per­fect back­drop for snap­shots. This dis­play was the most phot­graphed of the day for press and fes­ti­val atten­dees, post­ing to Insta­gram, Twit­ter and Facebook.

Read more: “On the Plate” Draws Impres­sive Crowd at 2015 Farm-​to-​Fork Festival →

Gen­eral Pro­duce is proud to be a spon­sor of the Farm-​to-​Fork Fes­ti­val.

Here are some scenes from the day!

Gen­eral Pro­duce con­tributed to a new Guin­ness World Record for the largest fruit & veg­etable dona­tion with 170,923.8 pounds of fresh pro­duce col­lected for the Sacra­mento Food Bank and Fam­ily Ser­vices.

This Farm-​to-​Fork Cel­e­bra­tion event was orga­nized by the Sacra­mento Con­ven­tion and Vis­i­tors Bureau with an orig­i­nal goal of 25,000 pounds of pro­duce. Gen­eral Pro­duce was pleased to donate 2,000 pounds to the cause and deliver an addi­tional 300 pounds of Pre­mier Mushrooms!

Per­ish­able News

The Packer


Sacra­mento Bee
Sacramento’s third Farm-​to-​Fork cel­e­bra­tion will open in less dra­matic fash­ion than the pre­vi­ous two.

The event, which cul­mi­nates Sept. 27 with the (sold-​out) Tower Bridge Din­ner, will kick off at 5 a.m. Wednes­day with a fresh-​food drive on Capi­tol Mall. Con­tri­bu­tions will go to Sacra­mento Food Bank & Fam­ily Ser­vices, which will dis­trib­ute food and serve as a clear­ing­house for other food banks in the region.

Local gro­cers Raley’s and Nugget, pro­duce sup­plier Gen­eral Pro­duce, Cal­i­for­nia Endive Farms and the Cal­i­for­nia Pear Advi­sory Board will donate pro­duce to the event. Dona­tions of fresh, local pro­duce from the pub­lic also are welcome.

The goal is to col­lect at least 25,000 pounds of fresh food and set a Guin­ness World Record. A Guin­ness rep­re­sen­ta­tive will be on hand at the food drive, which lasts until 11 a.m.

World record bid aside, this kick­off event likely will pro­vide less spec­ta­cle than the inau­gural Farm-​to-​Fork celebration’s cat­tle drive and the sec­ond year’s trac­tor parade – both of which tra­versed the Tower Bridge. But it’s still an out­size dis­play of Sacramento’s farm-​to-​fork bona fides, said Mike Testa of the Sacra­mento Con­ven­tion & Vis­i­tors Bureau.

“The first year, we wanted to show that farm-​to-​fork was not just pro­duce, but pro­teins,” Testa said. “The sec­ond year was to show the equip­ment that was nec­es­sary for farm to fork. This year, it is to show the bounty of every­thing that is com­ing out of the ground, and to ben­e­fit peo­ple in need – with fresh food and not the tra­di­tional canned goods that peo­ple think of when they think of food donations.”
There are few other places in the coun­try “that could com­pete for a (fresh-​food) world record in a 24-​hour period,” Testa said. “And if they did, they likely would be sourc­ing (some of it) from the Sacra­mento region.”

Sacra­mento Mayor Kevin John­son declared Sacra­mento “America’s farm-​to-​fork cap­i­tal” in 2012. The city’s first Farm-​to-​Fork cel­e­bra­tion, in Sep­tem­ber 2013, lasted a week. This year’s cel­e­bra­tion runs 2 12 weeks and includes the free Farm-​to-​Fork Fes­ti­val Sept. 26 on Capi­tol Mall.

Sacra­mento Bee

America’s Farm to Fork Cap­i­tal, Sacra­mento, CA

Gen­eral Pro­duce, a lead­ing family-​owned and oper­ated pro­duce dis­trib­u­tor, is very proud to announce achieve­ment on their goal of “green cer­ti­fi­ca­tion” through a third-​party eval­u­a­tion and process.

“Thanks to sus­tain­able efforts already in place and prac­tice at Gen­eral Pro­duce, the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process was achieved well ahead of our orig­i­nal year-​end goal,” said Linda Luka, direc­tor of mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions for Gen­eral Pro­duce. “Green Plus helped us eval­u­ate and iden­tify areas that we could enhance and expand, as well as focus on new oppor­tu­ni­ties in the sus­tain­abil­ity arena. No one argues that as an indus­try, there is much work to be done. We are pleased to be at the front of that parade.”

Read more: Gen­eral Pro­duce Achieves Green Certification →