Say I Love You With Food

 The 17-year-old's birthday cake

The 17-year-old's birthday cake

If you ever wanted a snapshot of the food situation in our country, I have a good one for you. My son got to visit the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs over Memorial Day Weekend, and, because he's 17, I received just two texts from him. (And one didn't even count because I texted him first.) Besides wanting to make sure he wasn't being bullied by massive Olympic weightlifters or otherwise traumatized, you can see where my priorities lay:

Me: Are you having an okay time? Is it cool? Is the food any good?

Him: It is cool. The food is pretty good.

[Another day passes.]

Him: The food is sponsored by McDonalds and Coca-Cola.

McDonalds and Coca-Cola?! We are feeding the future athletic representatives of our country food sponsored by McDonalds and Coca-Cola??? Sure enough, when I quizzed him later on the fruits and vegetables on offer there, he said there wasn't much fruit, and the vegetables were greens, by which he means lettuces and an (I'm sure) uninspiring salad bar. Well, that's disappointing. I guess you go there in order to train at altitude, not to eat the food of champions. No wonder some of them resort to PEDs.

How fortunate we are, I say for the hundredth time, to live in Washington State and have our ready access to fresh produce of all varieties. And we want to pass this appreciation on to the younger generation.

 A terrible picture of pea pods in soil

A terrible picture of pea pods in soil

My kids are too old now, but you've heard of the POP Club, right? The "Power of Produce" Club that kids can sign up for? I was thrilled when I ran into a friend and her younger kids, fresh from their weekly visit to the POP Club. Each one had a little newspaper tube of soil. In each tube, hidden away, was a pea, waiting to sprout. Once it had sprouted, they could then replant it in the yard and--voilà!--their very own pea plant to harvest from later! What a great way to instill a love of gardening/farming, a knowledge of where food comes from, and an investment in the finished product. And we've all heard that kids are more likely to try vegetables they've had a hand in growing...

Speaking of kids having a hand in growing food, new vendor Sidhu Farms caught my eye last week:

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The Sidhu family farms in Puyallup, growing all sorts of goodies, including the berries, rhubarb, and plant starts you see here. They even keep bees and offer honey! If you've been admiring the rhubarb at the market and wishing you could make a strawberry-rhubarb pie, they've got the frozen strawberries to help you realize your dream.

Other friends we met, who are less into cooking but still into healthy foods, were excited to see an açai food truck:

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If you've never had açai, it's the star food of the hour, a palm tree berry that looks like a blueberry. Like blueberries, they're packed with good stuff like antioxidants and fiber. Unlike blueberries, they're trendy and foreign and therefore expensive. Everyone should try açai because all new foods should be tried, but feel free to be out of style and eat run-of-the-mill berries for the same benefits, if açai doesn't blow your mind and taste buds.

Don't eat like an Olympian this week! Put down the Big Mac and Diet Coke and swing by our Market Thursday for the real food of champions.