I was on the outs with the in-laws. Thanksgiving had added lesson number 816 to my Little Black Book of Lessons I should have been born with. You know that kind book—we all keep one. It starts with simple stuff like “look both ways before tightrope walking,” grows into “imaginary friends cannot drive your father’s car,” and matures later with “don’t stare at cats while wearing a helmet made of tuna.” Number 816 will forever live, along with the taste of dry turkey, in the record books of my life as: “Gravy boats can’t actually float.”
So when I got the call from the office that a Big Shot from downtown was upstairs and he was adding lessons to the company black book, I knew I might have something to offer. When I got to the reception desk Todd was wearing a headset. “Where are the heavy rotary phones?” I asked. “The new guy said that was rule number 1: headsets for everyone. Look I can move my neck now!” This guy was good.
I walked into the kitchen where the Big Shot was talking about The FruitGuys crate. Someone had stacked the Satsumas in a pile and was going to throw them out. “They look like wrinkled Shar-Peis of citrus,” Susan cried. “Their skin is soft and bumpy and. . . it. . . makes. . . me. . . feel. . . overwhelmed. . .” Someone handed Jack a paper bag. “He hyper-ventilates over tap water,” I whispered to the Big Shot.
“Guys,” the Big Shot began. “It’s easier than this.” He walked around and smiled at us. “We don’t need too many rules. Take Satsumas for example. They are wonderful mandarins that peel extremely easily—that’s why the skin is wrinkled and has an ‘airy’ feeling. It doesn’t mean they are bad.” The Big Shot put his hand on Jack’s shoulder. “It’s going to be OK.” Jack put down the paper bag. “Good,” the Big Shot continued. “Look here, the best way to peel a Satsuma is to put your thumb in the bottom, pop the skin and peel it away from the fruit. Try it.” I sat back and watched. Satsuma peeling was rule number 345 for me. Maybe this guy wasn’t so bad after all. “Susan, why don’t you check out The FruitGuys website at www.fruitguys.com,” the Big Shot said. “It’s been recently changed. To go to the mix page –just click on the round ladybug icon in the middle of their home page and you can see what kind of fruit is in your mix—and where it comes from! The FruitGuys buy great stuff from local and regional growers whenever possible.”
I walked over to this Big Shot and handed him a Twin Girls Farm orange from The FruitGuys crate. He looked at the thick rulebook in my hand. “You’ve been putting down rules for a long time,” he said. “Mind if I read it?” I smirked and handed him the book. He opened it and looked up, confused. “It’s blank,” he said. “Rule number 1, always write with invisible ink,” I said.
Enjoy and be fruitful! firstname.lastname@example.org
Holiday Desk Yoga
The holiday season can evoke good will and good cheer, but it also brings its share of anxiety, stress, and expectations. If you start worrying about family reunions, holiday cooking and finding the perfect present, take a moment to breath deeply. Try the following three desk yoga poses to help you cope with the season flexibly.
Upward Arm Pose: Stand straight in facing your desk with your chest lifted, buttocks dropped towards the floor, and your face relaxed. On an inhalation raise your arms straight overhead with palms facing each other. Breath evenly as you stretch your fingertips up to the ceiling while dropping the buttocks and keeping your ribs in. Relax your face and jaw as you lift up. Hold for 30 seconds. On an exhalation lower your arms.
Supported Hero Pose: Kneel with your back facing your desk (if your back is stiff or quadriceps are tight) or chair. Keep your buttocks drawing firmly down towards the floor as in the first pose and lie back with your shoulder blades and head supported on the desk or chair edge. If this bothers your neck place a book or large file folder under your head. Press your tailbone forward away from the chair/desk to increase the stretch on the front of the thighs. Hold for one minute, then use your hands to push yourself up.
Upward-Facing Dog Pose: Face your desk and place your palms on the edge. Step back until your arms are straight and your feet are under your hips. Now keep your legs straight as you lift your heels and bring your shoulders over your palms and the front of your pelvis close to the desk. Draw your buttocks strongly towards your heels and move the chest forward between your upper arms. Hold twenty seconds while breathing evenly. On an exhalation take your hips back over your heels. Repeat three times, then stay in the final position with feet under hips and arms straight for one minute before standing up.
If your lower back is stiff after the previous poses, try the Modified Forward Bend. Sit at the front of your chair with your knees bent and over your ankles. Place your heels the width of your hips so there is plenty of space between your knees. Bend forward and place your palms on top of your feet or on the floor. Relax your head and neck, breathing normally through your nose. Hold several minutes. Inhale as you place your hands on your knees to push yourself up.
These poses can be done at the office or at home. Remember to always check with your healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program.
- Rebecca Taggart
Rebecca Taggart is a San Francisco Yoga instructor.
Closed for the holidays? Why not give something back to those in need. Instead of putting your order on hold, our Donate-A-Crate program lets you send your fresh fruit to a worthy non-profit organization in your area serving those less fortunate than ourselves. In 2008, FruitGuys clients donated more than 180 crates to food-banks and programs for families in need between the Thanksgiving and New Years holidays. Crates went to The Riley Center, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Project Open Hand, Yeah!, and the Sophia Project in the San Francisco Bay Area; to Philabundance and City Harvest on the East Coast; and the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Click here for a list of the organizations in your area or choose a charity of your choice in close proximity to one of our regional hubs in San Francisco, Chicago, or Philadelphia. No additional delivery charges.
Be a Hero This Holiday Season!
Support local agriculture and small family farms when you send FruitGuys fruit or heirloom farm products to the special friends, family, clients, and customers on your list this year.
Regionally-farmed, hand-crafted, and exclusive holiday gifts from The FruitGuys starting at only $39
Send unique, regionally-produced holiday gifts produced by small family farms. Pick "west," "central," or "east" and choose a gift that brings the best of small farm America to everyone on your gift list. We can customize and co-brand large orders for your sales team at a price that works for you. Call us for details at 877-FRUIT-ME.
Just as plants employ the cycle of photosynthesis and respiration to convert light, air, and water into energy and back again into CO2, so go the cycles of farming seasons. Seed to sprout to fruit to compost to soil to seeds again. Every culture’s agricultural calendar takes into account times of abundance and times for fields to lay fallow. Fallow fields aren’t lazy. Under a blanket of clover, they are gathering up nitrogen in the soil to feed the next season’s crop.
A farmer’s seasons are like rhythmic breathing each year: a lung-bursting inhale starts with the summer harvest and is exhaled in a long egressive ssssssssss in December. From selecting strawberries to surprise rain, from seeing the first Gravenstein apples at sunrise to sorting and sampling the harvest, to snapping together boxes and bringing crops to market, it is all part of the big breath that takes us to the end of one season and on the next.
To take the full measure of the fall exhalation, and the bounty of fall harvest, consider the season’s colors on your table. Pumpkin orange Fuyu Persimmons, ruby red Pomegranate seeds, and bright yellow-orange Clementine segments have the same beautiful jewel tones of Vermont at leaf peak. The fruits, just like autumn leaves, turn brilliant colors when the chilly weather unmasks the anthocyanins and carotenoids in their plant cells. Sugar, brilliant color, and nutrients have all burst out in joyful exclamation of flavor after a long season of work.
- Heidi Lewis
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, -
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
To Autumn by John Keats
As part of your FruitGuys subscription, we provide you
and your employees online access to UC Berkeley's Wellness Letter, the
newsletter of nutrition, fitness and self-care. It translates leading-edge
research into practical advice for daily living - at home, at work,
while exercising, shopping, or cooking.
Highlight from the December Wellness Letter
The Missing Enzyme
Lactose intolerance—the reduced ability to digest milk sugar (lactose)—is common, but maybe not as common or as hard to cope with as many people think. If dairy products seem to give you gas, should you give them up? Not necessarily. Dairy products are good sources of calcium, vitamin D, and other nutrients important for health, especially bone health and blood pressure. A real downside to lactose intolerance is that if you quit eating all dairy, you will need to make up for shortfalls of these nutrients.
Get great health tips and more in the Berkeley
Wellness Letter. The password for December is zinc.
Natural Ornaments “Critter” Sale
Dec 5 & 6
Chadds Ford, PA
Kamishibai (Paper Dramas) Workshop
Sustainable MTA Uses of Groundwater
New York, NY
Winter Farmer’s Market
Dec 6 & 20
Holiday Crafts from the Farm for Kids
Evanston Food Policy Council Community Potluck
Handmade Ho-Down benefits DrawBridge
San Francisco, CA
Holiday Boat Parade
Marina del Rey, CA
The Value of Traditional Seeds in an Unstable World
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