Blueberry Who . . .? July 2, 2007

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When Dan, our produce buyer, announced on Friday that we would be getting blueberries for the Harvest Flyer and Organic crates this week, Jeff, our distribution manager told us this.
Jeff: "When I was six this kid told me this blueberry joke. Knock, knock."
All of us in the office: "Who's there?"
Jeff: "Super-Blueberry."
All of us in the office: "Super-Blueberry who?"
Jeff: "YUM!"
All of us in the office: blink-blink. (Sound of crickets.)
Me: "That's the joke? There's nothing else? I thought you went to one of those magnet schools for smart kids?"
Jeff: "That's it. I still don't get it. I think the kid who told me that turned out to be a chemist."
Whether or not you have a successful career as a blueberry knock-knock jokester, this week our blueberries will make your whole body smile. As many of you have heard, blueberries are full of antioxidants. But what does this mean and where do antioxidants come from?
Meet the Antioxidants: Antioxidants in plants serve a specific purpose: to protect the plant from the oxidative and deteriorating stress of photosynthesis. The leaf of a plant takes energized light particles and uses them to split water molecules apart into hydrogen and oxygen atoms in order to make sugar. The antioxidants in the plants protect the essential DNA and proteins in the plant. In general all plants have multiple antioxidant or phenolic compounds that aid in their protection. The more pigmented and astringent a plant, the more they're likely to be rich in protective antioxidants. Outside of the entire plant itself each fruit and vegetable has its own specific cluster and mix of antioxidants. Interestingly no single molecule can protect against all kinds of damage -- it's the mix of these molecules that keep plants healthy. High concentrations of only one kind of antioxidant can actually cause damage in a plant. How can we translate that for humans? Eat lots of fruits and veggies across many different color spectrums (oranges, reds, blues, and yellows indicate different antioxidant properties).
*Maybe that six-year-old blueberry knock-knock jokester turned chemist was onto something.
Enjoy and be fruitful

 

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