Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tips on Ticks

Life’s a treat, and so are the great produce finds at Pathfinder Produce, our weekly markets held on Thursdays from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Pathfinder Village Commons, and on Fridays, noon to 5 p.m. at the UMC Hall, 17 Church St. in Morris.  We hope you’ll stop by this week to check out our great deals.

Our Dash to the Splash training program participants are really starting to stretch their training now.  If you’re following along, our program for Week 5 is:
5 min Brisk Walk
5 min Jog
3 min BW
8 min J
3 min BW
5 min J
3 min Walk
5 min BW
5 min J
3 min BW
8 min J
3 min BW
5 min J
3 min W
Repeat Day 2

Splash Path is scheduled for Saturday, May 20, and you can learn more about this family fun paint walk and run at our website or at our Facebook event page.  It’s really easy to register at splashpath.racewire.com; early registration fees are available through May 5 (next Friday); after that, prices for each age bracket go up just slightly. We’re grateful to our many community sponsors and business partners who “step up to the Splash” each year, which help keep our costs for this event low.  Sign up today, it’s such a blast!


Although this adage is about how one is affected by the company one keeps, it’s true in the literal sense as well.  It’s that time of year when we all need to be on the lookout for fleas and ticks, those nasty (and I mean nasty) little blood suckers.  If you have pets, kids, or live with people who go outside but may not be careful about checking themselves, you need to be vigilant against parasites.  This is prime tick season … as I found out Sunday.

Our dog is a beautiful-yet-lunk-headed eight-year old lab who does what labs do … she loves to explore around the pond's edge and go in the high grass. Last week, I noticed after petting her that I had one of the little tick nasties crawling on me.  I felt something moving on my skin, looked at it, and then quickly got a latex glove on my hand, captured it, and plopped it in a container of rubbing alcohol to kill it.  I hadn’t felt a pinch, and had no outward signs of being bitten, so I thought I was safe from catching Lyme.  The very next day, I went to the vet's to make sure we had flea and tick medicine on hand … enough for six months … so that Della wouldn't be host to these unwelcome guests.  (Our vet recommends a year-round regimen as ticks and fleas can survive into colder months).

However, that wasn't an end to the story … somehow one of the awful little beggars crawled on my son this weekend, either while he was walking outside, or he picked it up from the dog. He felt a sharp pinch, and then after a short while, investigated.  Mr. Tick was small, partly embedded in his thigh …  to his credit he quickly yelled for parental support.

I didn't have one of the tick-removal tools on hand (guess what I'm getting later today?), so I used a pair of pointy tweezers as close to the skin as I could get. I tweezed and popped Mr. Tick into a pill bottle full of rubbing alcohol, and dabbed the place where it had latched on with some antiseptic. Not wanting to leave anything to chance, we hopped in the car … “Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to urgent care we go.”  (Caution: Don’t ever squeeze a tick between your fingers to remove or kill it).

So, 31 miles and 40 minutes later, we arrived at the clinic. The medical staff quickly looked at my son’s leg, asked questions about how it happened, and so on. They said their clinic didn't really require the specimen; but they were pleased that we had removed the tick as quickly as possible, and had gotten it out as close to its mouth as we had.

“Not every tick starts to feed as it latches on, and not every tick has Lyme disease,” explained the attending nurse. “What happens, if the tick is infected, is it regurgitates some of its stomach contents back into the wound as it becomes full. That’s how it infects the host with Lyme disease.”

The FNP prescribed one dose of a general-use oral antibiotic, which they recommended be taken within 72 hours of the bite. They also told my son that he needs to keep the area clean and prevent infection, and to make sure that he reports any rashes, fevers or flu symptoms, joint pain, head ache or nausea that may occur within two weeks.

So, in as much as this probably won't be our last episode this season, I'm planning now to make sure we're ready for the next nasty attack:
1.    Della will get her meds on schedule, including the renewal of her Lyme inoculation in July.
2.    We’ll keep the grass well-mowed within our yard and field.
3.    We’ll keep up on the vacuuming, in case any critters fall off of the dog and end up on the floors.
4.    I’ll get some of those tick-removal tools, and maybe have a “kit” ready to go with a latex glove, plastic baggie (to put the tick in).
5.    Anyone who goes walking will use some repellant, like permethrin, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus, to discourage any hitchhikers. (DEET, which I’m not a fan of, may or may not be effective; different websites say different things).
6.    If we're going in deep grass or brush, we'll wear long pants tucked into long socks, or put some rubber bands (gaiters) around the bottom of our pants.  Light colored clothing is recommended to make it easier to see anything that maybe crawling on you.
7.    We’ll be sure to check ourselves when we come in from mowing, brush cutting, fire wood chopping, etc.

More tick prevention suggestions are at these links:

Until next time, be careful – it’s a jungle out there!


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Earth Day & Eliminating Food Waste

Hello!  We hope everyone will join us for this week’s scrumptious Pathfinder Produce markets, Thursday afternoons at the Village Commons in Edmeston, and Friday afternoons at the UMC Hall in Morris.  We’ve got the freshest flavors around, and a terrific variety of fruits and veggies!  Try us once and you’ll be sold!

We’re one month out until our big SPLASH PATH 5K and Fun Walk, Pathfinder’s family fun and inclusive paint run and walk that is scheduled for Saturday, May 20.  All the details are available at our website and on our Facebook event page.  Registration is quick and easy at splashpath.racewire.com.  Thanks go out to all our 2017 Splash Path Sponsors!

This is our fourth annual Splash Path, and funds are being raised to promote community wellness and inclusion.  The day promises to be so much fun!  We’ll host a great raffle auction, kids’ activities, vendor exhibits and there will be a chicken barbecue as well.  Zoe Curtis of Zoe Fitness will be here for a 9:30 a.m. ZUMBA WARM-UP party, and our maintenance guys are getting out our “color cannon” just to add to everyone’s Splash Path good time!  We welcome runners and walkers of all ages, fitness levels, and abilities … sign up before May 5 to enjoy our very affordable pricing.

As a lead up to Splash Path, our Dash to the Splash participants have been continuing their progress in building strength and stamina to prepare for their race/walk.  If you are following along where you live, our folks have this routine for this week:

Day 1 (Mon.)
Day 2 (Wed.)
Day 3 (Fri. or Sat.)
5 min Brisk Walk (BW)
5 min Jog (J)
3 min BW
5 min J
3 min BW
5 min J
3 min Walk (W)
5 min BW
8 min J
5 min BW
8 min J
3 min W
Repeat Day 2


Eliminating Food Waste

Saturday is Earth Day, a day on which we should focus on how we can protect our planet.  As a lead up to Earth Day, Pathfinder School has been participating in A Bag's Life, which focuses on recycling plastic bags so that they don't wind up in landfills or our oceans.  In a month, we have collected and recycled almost 2,000 bags! Our students and staff members have all gotten on board with this program and its important message.  It has even inspired us to start thinking in other environmentally friendly ways.

Something that doesn't always come to mind when we think about “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” is food--but it should. It has been estimated that about one third of the food produced worldwide gets wasted. In the United States, we waste 20 pounds of food per person, per month. This isn't smart for the environment OR our wallets!

Recently, the United States Environmental Protection Agency released an article that explains the pros of being food-waste conscience, and lists some tips on how to get started on reducing food waste each day.

The benefits of preventing food waste are straight forward: Being more aware of your family's food needs, perhaps by planning out meals for the week, will save money and food resources. As the old adage goes, “Enough is as good as a feast!”

Plan meals before grocery shopping to ensure you won't overbuy--stick to your list! Store food correctly--don't let those fresh fruits and veggies spoil on the kitchen counter if they would keep longer in the fridge, and vice versa! Finally, if food waste cannot be avoided, consider composting food scraps so that they don't wind up in the garbage. 

Learn more about how you can help by clicking the link below:

Until next time -- consume wisely, conserve when you can, and enjoy Earth Day!

Maura (and Lori)

Monday, April 10, 2017

A Look at Type 2 Diabetes

We invite everyone to come to our fresh and convenient Pathfinder Produce markets this week, where we feature a wide variety of healthy, yummy fruits and vegetables. Our market staff is ready to help you with your family's produce needs, so you and your family may enjoy some of the best flavors around.  Our market in Edmeston is on Thursdays, from 1 to 5 at the Pathfinder Village Commons, and we’re in Morris at the UMC on Fridays, from noon to 5 p.m.

Our Dash to the Splash crew is going strong on its 8 week journey to take part in Splash Path, our fun 5k paint walk and run that will take place on Saturday, May 20. The Dash folks are now up to their third week in training, which means they will follow this regimen:

Mon. (Today)
Fri. or Sat.
5 min. brisk walk (BW)
1.5 min. jogging (J)
1.5 min. BW
3 min. J
3 min. BW
3 min. J
3 min. BW
3 min. walking (W)
5 min. BW
3 min. J
1.5 min BW
5 min. J
2.5 min. BW
3 min J
1.5 min BW
5 min J
3 min W
Repeat Wed.

There's still time to sign up for Splash Path, so we encourage you to join in the fun.  Sign up at splashpath.racewire.com using the quick and easy online registration form.

Recently, National Public Radio has featured a number of stories highlighting the diabetes epidemic that is now affecting Mexico's population. According to reports, about 14% of the adult population has been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and their healthcare system isn't prepared to support that many diabetics. NPR indicated this dramatic rise has taken place over two decades, and is attributable to diets that are now higher in sugar and fat levels.

The NPR article further adds that, “A study in 2015 showed Mexico to be the leading consumer of junk food in Latin America, consuming 450 pounds of ultra-processed foods and sugary beverages per person each year.” To combat this epidemic, the Mexican government is now imposing taxes on sweetened drinks, has worked to place healthier foods in schools, and has prevented young children from being targeted by junk food ads.

Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes, happens when one’s body resists the way insulin regulates the metabolism of sugar, or doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels.  While there is no cure for Type 2 diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic, by eating well, exercising, and in some instances taking meds or relying on insulin, the condition can be managed.

Americans are hooked on sugar and fat too – news stories from a year ago indicated that Americans now get most of their calories from highly processed foods: “In a study published in the journal BMJ Open, scientists led by Carlos Monteiro at University of Sao Paolo found that nearly 60% of an American’s daily calories come from ultra-processed food, which Monteiro and his colleagues defined as food that contains ingredients such as flavors, colors, sweeteners and hydrogenated oils, emulsifiers and other additives that you wouldn't cook with at home.”

The USP study also pinpointed, for the first time, that this type of processed food is the main source of added sugar in the U.S. diet. Meanwhile, the report shows, “Americans get less than 1% of their daily calories from vegetables.”

Not surprisingly, these statistics are reflected in the rise in Type 2 diabetes in the U.S., where between 9 to 12% of the population is diagnosed, and where it is now the seventh leading cause of death each year. This compares to less than one percent of Americans who had Type 2 diabetes in 1958, a time when most relied on unprocessed or minimally processed ingredients.

So what can we do to protect and improve our health? Essentially, we have to become better consumers, more self-reliant, and cook more at home.

According to the website, 100 Days of Real Food, we should follow this list as much as possible:

1.    Read ingredients labels. If something has unfamiliar, unpronounceable ingredients, you may not want to buy that item.
2.    Increase your consumption of whole foods, especially fruits and veggies.
3.    Buy your bread from a bakery, or make your own if you can. (Think how much bread you eat each week!)
4.    Select whole grain breads, pastas, and cereals. Read the ingredients to make sure the product is made with only 100% whole grains, and not whole and processed grain blends.
5.    Avoid store-bought products containing high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and those with other forms of sweeteners listed among the top three ingredients.
6.    Don’t order off the kids’ menu when eating out: Try assembling side items, like baked potatoes and whatever vegetables your kids will eat, or try sharing some of your meal.
7.    Visit farmers’ markets for local fresh produce.
8.    Lastly, “eat all the junk food you want as long as you make it yourself.”  By eating sweets and fatty foods only as often as you are willing to make them at home, you will automatically reduce your consumption.

Other advice is found through the growing Slow Foods movement … you can find ideas at their blog at https://www.slowfoodusa.org/slow-food-usa-blog.

Until next time, eat well and be well!


Monday, April 3, 2017

Versatility in a Small, Deep Purple Package

Spring is FINALLY in the air!  During this season of transition, we’re here at Pathfinder Produce to help you and your family with your fresh fruit and veggie needs.  We hope that you may join us this week, Thursday at the Village Commons in Edmeston from 1 to 5 p.m., and again on Friday, at the UMC Morris, from noon to 5 p.m.  Our friendly and attentive crew will be looking for you!

We also want to encourage all our friends and neighbors to sign up for Splash Path, Pathfinder Village’s colorful and lively 5K and Fun Walk, which is taking place here at the Pathfinder campus on Saturday, May 20.  This year’s event will raise funds for community wellness and inclusion projects.  You can learn more details at either the Pathfinder Village website, or at our online registration page at splashpath.racewire.com

Splash Path registration fees are kept low, to encourage family and group participation, and we welcome walkers and runners of all abilities and ages.  If you are a student looking for a great community service project (for Scouts, school organizations, other youth groups) this is a great thing to be a part of.  If you’re older and want to connect with your community in a meaningful way, we hope you’ll sign up and join in all the fun!

In this week’s “Tales from the Veggie Bin,” my colleague, Martha Spiegel, sings the praises of the humble-yet-oh-so-yummy black bean.  Enjoy!


Although Pathfinder Produce features many of your fresh fruit and veggie favorites, there’s no reason that one shouldn’t explore other readily available veggies, like dried peas and beans, which are absolutely delicious and kind to the budget.  Of all the legumes that I have tried, versatile black beans are my hands-down favorite. 

Black beans are native to the Americas, are most commonly found in Latin American cuisine, but are used all over the world. The beans are also known as turtle beans, and are not actually black but very dark purple. This becomes most evident when you see the deep color of the water when you rinse them. You can apparently save the soaking liquid from dried black beans to dye yarn, although the finished product will be a shade of blue.

Black beans are excellent for digestive tract health, and according to an article in World's Healthiest Foods,  they even surpass other legumes in this area. A single serving of turtle beans has nearly 15 grams of fiber, as well as 15 grams of protein. This means they are also beneficial for blood sugar regulation and cardiovascular health. They also contain potassium, folate, vitamin B6, and phytonutrients.  These little guys have a lot going on!

I love them best in Mexican dishes, but they are also great as a simple side or even cold on a salad. One quick way that I prepare them is to mix them (hot or cold) with some plain Greek yogurt and a bit of salsa; adjust the proportions to suit your own taste. I also really love a hot bowl of black bean soup. (This is just one quick and easy recipe—a quick Google search will give you many others, so click around and find one you like!)

I have also heard that they are a great way to sneak some nutrition into brownies, but I haven’t been daring enough to try that yet!  Perhaps that’s a baking adventure to try with my grandkids sometime.  Other tempting black bean items may be found at this link at the Brit + Co website.

A couple of notes about using canned vs. dry beans: If you are using canned beans, be sure to rinse them thoroughly to reduce the sodium content. If you are using dry beans, be sure to boil them at the start of the cooking phase (after soaking and rinsing) to eliminate naturally-occurring toxins. For more information about canned vs. dry, see this article from the Healthy Eating section in the San Francisco Chronicle and this one from The Bean Institute.

Until next time, eat well and be well!

Martha (and Lori)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Pathfinder School’s First Annual Healthy Food Expo

We hope everyone will visit us at Pathfinder Produce this week, at the Village Commons in Edmeston on Thursday, from 1 to 5 p.m., and again at the Morris UMC, 17 Church St., on Friday, from noon to 5 p.m.  We’ve got some great fruits and veggies for you to share with your family.  It’s oh so good!

We’d like to send out a big ‘thumbs up’ to all of our participants in the DASH TO THE SPLASH training program that started last Tuesday, World Down Syndrome Day.  Each week for the next eight weeks, the group will meet here at Pathfinder Village on Mondays and most Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. to work towards their fitness goals and prepare for the fourth annual Splash Path 5K, which is set for Saturday, May 20.  Registration is open now for this family fun color run-walk, which starts and ends at  Pathfinder.  You can register online at splashpath.racewire.com; we keep the registration fees low and have some great activities planned all day.  It promises to be another great event here at the Village.

This week, the DASH folks have the assignments of: 
Day 1:
Warm-up:  5 min. of brisk walking;
Work-out: 1.5 min. jog, followed by 2 min. of brisk walking (repeat 6 times);
Cool-down:  3 min. of walking.

Day 2 & 3 (Wed.,  and again on Fri. or Sat.):
Repeat Day 1.

Be sure to gently stretch all muscle groups before and after exercising .  Wear proper footwear, and if you are walking and jogging on roads, be sure that you do so safely and wear clothing that is visible to motorists.

The “DASH THOUGHT” for the week:  Remember, walking out the door is oftentimes the toughest part of a walk or run!

Last week was jam-packed with fun activities at Pathfinder School! In addition to celebrating World Down Syndrome Day on Tuesday,
3-21, our students and staff members participated in Spirit Week. Each day had a fun theme, ranging from “Pajama Day” to “Wacky Day.”

As a fun way to end our busy week, Pathfinder School hosted its very first Healthy Food Expo. Students and staff members researched healthy recipes, shopped for fresh fruits and vegetables at Pathfinder Produce, and got to sample some nutritious (and delicious!) snacks. 

Students worked together to bring their healthy recipes to life!  Mrs. K’s classroom made a Fruit Pizza using a naturally sweetened crust of bananas, honey, and oats.

Some other healthy snacks included Peanut Butter Banana Bites, Sour Patch Grapes, Healthy Shamrock Shakes, and Berry Banana Stacks. Students had a blast visiting each station during our Expo on Friday morning to give each recipe a try!

In addition to these healthy treats, Mrs. Sitts’ and Mrs. Johnson’s Health and Wellness Group put together a presentation on the surprising amounts of sugar found in a variety of drinks.  Students learned the importance of choosing water to stay hydrated and healthy!

If you are feeling adventurous, we invite you to test out some of our students’ favorite recipes!

·       Sour Patch Grapes (click here for recipe)
·       Healthy Shamrock Shakes (click here for recipe)
·       Peanut Butter Banana Bites (click here for recipe)

Until next time, eat well, enjoy all those fruits and veggies, and be well!

Maura (and Lori)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Happy WDSD and Happy Anniversary, Pathfinder Produce!

Our plans were delayed with last week’s storm, so we invite everyone to come out this week to Pathfinder Produce on Thursday and Friday, March 23 in Edmeston, and March 24 in Morris, to help us celebrate our FOURTH ANNIVERSARY.  We will host cooking demonstrations of a zesty Fried Cabbage & Apple recipe, offer yummy samples, and continue our celebration of World Down Syndrome Day with 21-cent baked treats from Pathfinder Bakery, decorated in blue and yellow for you to enjoy. (Caveat: Make sure you eat your veggies first, and try to burn off the calories with a little extra walking, dancing, ping pong, treadmill jogs, active games, or what have you.).

On the 23rd & 24th, we will also extend 5% off on all purchases, and we're introducing a new Referral Incentive Program: If you are a steady patron of Pathfinder Produce, and you sign-up and refer a new customer, you both get 10% off on your next purchase. Our market works to keep prices low every week, so this new program could amount to some great savings.

We’ve also launched a new Facebook group, #DsRocks, to join the global celebration of World Down Syndrome Day this week.  The #DsRocks Project is a way through which people show support for those with Trisomy 21 through positive messages on hand-painted stones.  To learn more and take part, visit the Facebook group page.  Join us in the fun!


Our adventures with Pathfinder Produce over the past four years really have been worthwhile. The market works because it answers a local need, creates meaningful volunteer opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities, and is rooted in the strength of community.

Back in late 2012, the staff of Bassett Research Institute developed two pilot 5210 projects, one in Edmeston, the other in Delhi, to help improve nutrition and encourage fitness at the grass-roots level. Community members brainstormed with the Bassett team to focus on healthier living, and developed school events, community gardens, 5ks, and other projects. In Edmeston, where there isn't a large grocery store, our committee members recognized that lack of access to fresh produce was having a negative impact on health.

It is a paradox of rural America that people here don't eat enough fresh veggies and fruits. One chief reason for this is that most people no longer live or work on farms.  People in rural areas, one study found, tend to be more obese than their urban counterparts.  Traditional foodways--growing and preserving one's own produce through freezing and canning—are largely gone, replaced with semi-monthly or monthly “big shops” of foods sold at large grocery stores in more-populated areas. Families and seniors fill-in between big shops, typically buying bread and milk with what's available at smaller stores that are part of rural towns.

We wanted to sell produce, but how could we do this effectively? We knew we didn't have the resources to be a full-time greengrocer. Instead, we used the historic model of “market day” that was common in many cultures from the past. We thought if we advertised using flyers, posters, word-of-mouth and social media, and kept our prices competitive, we could attract a steady clientele. We really didn't know what to expect at our first market, and were nervous. However, on that first Thursday, March 14, 2013, we opened our doors and had a steady stream of customers all afternoon, indicating that we'd hit upon a way to serve families in the Edmeston area.  Since that time, we've offered markets nearly every week in Edmeston, and launched our second location in October 2016 in partnership with the UMC in Morris, where we open up shop on Friday afternoons.

Our market works through the great community support we have, the dedication of our volunteers, and because of the incredible dedication of the members of Pathfinder's Adult Day Services program. These folks set up the market each week, inspect and arrange the produce and other items we bring in from various vendors, and help weigh purchases, and bag purchases for our customers. You can tell that everyone is on-board with working at the markets, and loves to engage our friends and neighbors.

“I feel good about the market,” said volunteer Brandy Mockoviaciak of Edmeston.  “I like to help customers.  My favorite part is packing baskets.”

Until next time, we thank you for your continued support of Pathfinder Produce, the “little market that could.”


Wednesday, March 15, 2017


Due to the recent storm, Pathfinder Produce will be cancelled this week at both locations. We apologize if this creates any inconveniences for our loyal customers. We will celebrate the produce market's fourth anniversary next week, on March 23 & 24, during our regularly scheduled hours. Stay safe and be well, everyone!