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Thank You, California!

Posted Feb 24 2010 1:14pm

It's that time of year again. My freezer is running low of the frozen berries I have stored up since last summer... Not to mention the last of my barrel of winter squash was eaten a few weeks ago, and my packed freezer is looking more empty than ever. I always tell myself about how that next year I will pick, prepare and freeze more, but somehow I still end up here in this place. Wanting more...

And that is why I need to thank California.

If you are a reader that stops by often, then you know how much I go on and on about local produce and eating fresh local and healthy. Well, today my friends, I must say that I must say that I am forever grateful for the Californian produce that sustains me through the last months of winter. Which in Michigan, winter does seem to tarry. My favorite lately...the mandarin oranges. Hm, they are perfect this time of year. The juices are so sweet and tangy and not to mention all those wonderful vitamins :) And, I couldn't get those fresh in Michigan even if I wanted to. So, the indulgence is with pure intentions.
It is true that you can get more nutrients from fresh produce cut right from the ground (or tree). Yet, with another snow warning here in Michigan in the last week of February, I must say I am truly thankful for modern transportation of a few fresh favorites like spinach, carrots and oranges. Even though I will always choose local and fresh, even over organic, I must say that it is quite refreshing to also have such an abundance of great organic choices from California farms.

Really, I am more than thankful after the deadness of winter prevails even now. It does make spring seem like some kinda of heavenly event when we are able to breath fresh growing air again, and the green is starting to show it's beautiful face again. So, I sit an wait for the first signs of spring, and asparagus.

It may seem crazy to try and eat local all year long here in Michigan. Or maybe because of the help of Barbara Kingslover's Animal Vegetable Miracle and Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food I have just motivated all of us to re-think where the heck our food is actually coming from. Or to think of how many miles your food has travelled to you to be eaten. It is all connected. And in all honesty, I have never tried to eat locally 100% of the time , even though I know it is possible with a great freezer and preservation skills. I do respect the effort, yet I do the best I can with what resources I am given. And, that is why I am once again thankful for California's helpful fresh organic produce. And for lemons. Because of California, I am able to make a smoothie of fresh and frozen foods to remind me that summer will come again.

So, my friends, that is my rant of thankfulness for the day. I am grateful for an orange today. It's sweet, sour and juicy existence has made my day, and my smoothie a favorite to remember.

Here is my smoothie recipe for the day:
1 cup of mixed frozen berries (strawberries, blueberries and cherries)
1 chopped ripe banana
1 TB of flax seeds or meal
1/2 cup of coconut milk beverage , or more to your preference
1/4 cup of fresh juice (apple or orange)
1 mandarin orange (pealed)

Put all of the ingredients in a blender, or my favorite "magic bullet" smoothie maker.Blend for a minute until all is smooth and ready for sipping. Add a straw, and sip and enjoy the fresh and nutrient flavors.
Enjoy friends! Much love to you today!
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