Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Soup’s On!

Ah -- the leaves are at peak color and cooler nights will be settling in soon.  Fall is in the air, and we’re ready at Pathfinder Produce to help you plan for savory and veggie-rich dishes that are so welcomed at this time of the year.  We hope you’ll visit us this Thursday, October 11, between 1 and 5 p.m. for our next delicious market!

This past weekend, Pathfinder Village held its biennial Family and Friends weekend … what fun!  It was so great to see so many good friends and share with our families the plans for the Mobile Market starting in early 2019.  If you haven’t read about this yet, check out this online article at The Daily Star’s website.

Don’t forget about our convenient online ordering system … just cruise over to our website at https://pathfindervillage.org/our-village/pathfinder-produce.  Select the market closest to you (Edmeston or Morris), and pre-order and pay for your weekly produce needs.  Then on Thursday, stop by our delivery site for your order … it’s easy!

Below, my colleague Martha Spiegel shares some new ideas for soup recipes.  YUM!

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When the weather turns cooler, it seems like everyone starts craving soup. I enjoy making soup, sometimes from a recipe and sometimes making it up as I go along. I decided to look for some less typical soups that feature veggies and came up with a few that look like winners.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup: This one looks very easy, and has very few ingredients.  It would be great for a weeknight when you’re on a tight schedule or don’t have the energy for anything too complicated.

West African Peanut Soup: Our family was introduced to this soup by some friends from Ghana, and we loved it! I’ve seen many variations in my search for a recipe, and while none of them exactly duplicate what our Ghanaian friends served, some come very close. It is traditionally very spicy, but you can adjust the level of heat to your own taste without losing any of the rich flavor.

Corn Soup with Chipotle Sour Cream: This variation on corn soup has a little spice and a little smokiness to it. I love corn soups and chowders, and I think this recipe would be a nice change-up.

Green Velvet Soup: This soup features lots of different green produce—celery, peas, broccoli, zucchini, and spinach, plus potatoes and onions.  So nutritious! With its bright green color, I bet you could serve it on Halloween and call it Witches Brew Soup and the kids would get a kick out of it.

Helpful hint: I find that an immersion blender is indispensable when making any sort of creamy or smooth soup, like those above. It’s so much easier to bring the blender to the soup than to bring the soup to the blender.   

Until next time, savor those fall flavors!


Martha (and Lori)

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Finding our Path: National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Hello, everyone! What a busy time … this coming week we're celebrating our family weekend at Pathfinder, and in my town we're celebrating our annual fall fete.  And of course, there are so many homecomings, sports events and special weekends at schools and colleges. Happy October!
Despite the hustle and bustle of the opening days of National Down Syndrome Month/National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we'll be here to help you and your family members get all the great fruits and vegetables you'll need to power through the week. Just stop by this Thursday (10-4!) at the Village Commons from 1 to 5 p.m. And don't forget our convenient online ordering system: You may place your order online, pay with a credit card, and then stop by our Edmeston or Morris delivery sites on Thursday afternoon for a delicious and fresh selection of healthy foods.
Pathfinder Produce … we're rooted in community!
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For many years, we've held both formal and informal observances at Pathfinder Village in celebration of October as National Down Syndrome Month.  Our residential community and support services were rooted in serving children and adults who have Down syndrome in our early years; since that time, we've expanded on our services to support families and individuals with diverse needs.
The observance of Down Syndrome Awareness Month was established in 1991 through an Executive Order by President George H.W. Bush which states, “…we know that many individuals with Down syndrome are both determined and able to lead active, productive lives. Thanks to early intervention and mainstreaming, as well as improved treatment of physical health problems related to Down syndrome, thousands are doing just that.”
But did you also know that October is also National Disability Employment Awareness Month?  This is an important observance, and one that is being noticed more-and-more by employers around the country. First designated nationally by Congress in 1988, NDEAM has roots going back to the 1920s, when soldiers injured during WWI sought vocational training options to re-enter the workforce.  These efforts grew more extensive over time in supporting workers with vision and other physical impairments; they grew more inclusive in 1961 when President Kennedy created the President’s Panel on Mental Retardation and called upon America to address the needs of people with intellectual disabilities and their desires to be part of everyday life in America. 
This year's theme for NDEAM is “America's Workforce: Empowering All.” The Department of Labor also offers a series of activities, recommendations, and Public Service Announcements in support of hiring people with diverse abilities.  Nationally, we’re starting to see employment numbers for those with disabilities inch up, and there are more-and-more stories speaking on how workers and volunteers with disabilities are good for businesses
Here at Pathfinder Village, we know this first hand as many of the tasks associated with Pathfinder Produce are overseen and managed each week by the very capable members of our Adult Day Services program.  From set-up to assisting customers with their purchases, our ADS members exhibit a great work ethic and are proud of the work they do.  Their contributions are vital to the success and longevity of the program.
But in rural areas, access to jobs and quality vocational training programs remain elusive for individuals with disabilities.  That’s part of the reason why “we’re upping our game” at Pathfinder Produce.  Last week, we announced that through the support of a grant through the Leatherstocking Collaborative Health Partners, and in collaboration with Bassett Healthcare and other partners, we’ll be launching a Mobile Market route, sometime in early 2019.  This will provide even more opportunities for our ADS members to participate in vocational experiences in the community, and will also help provide fresh fruits and vegetables to area families who contend with the dual barriers of lacking public transportation and long distances to full-service groceries. 
Stay tuned to our Pathfinder Produce blog for more on the Mobile Market as it develops!  Until next time, eat well and be well!

Lori

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Desert Foods

Hello everyone, we hope you are well!  Things are busy here at Pathfinder Produce, and we can’t wait to see you at our next weekly market in Edmeston on Thursday, from 1 to 5 p.m. With our competitive prices and fresh selections, there are sure to be items you’ll enjoy sharing with your family!

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of research on food deserts:  These are areas that have few stores or other sources for providing families with fresh fruits and vegetables.  In rural America, if you have to drive more than 10 miles to buy an apple, you live in a food desert, according to the US Dept. of Agriculture. Limited access to produce, either through distance or reduced availability to public transportation, can have some serious impacts on community health.  That’s why it’s so important to have a resource  like Pathfinder Produce available.
Switching from “food deserts” to “desert foods,” my colleague Martha Spiegel changes gears to explore her food favorites from the American Southwest.
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Desert Foods

As I write this, I am excitedly anticipating my annual trip to Tucson, Arizona. I love the desert. Some people think of it as nothing but sand and cactus, but there is so much more! I particularly love the food I get to eat when I’m there. Of course I will avail myself of the abundance of amazing Mexican food; I am especially hoping for some homemade tamales. There’s also a favorite treat of mine: fry bread, which they sell in open air stands on the Tohono O’odham Nation reservation. I’ve tried making it myself, but it’s never the same.

When my parents first moved to Tucson, they missed New Jersey tomatoes. Tomatoes don’t grow well in the desert climate, so they are either shipped in from elsewhere or grown in hothouses, so they tend to have thick skins, are often picked before fully ripened, and aren’t as tasty. However, mom and dad love being able to grow citrus right in their back yard. Dad goes out into the back yard and picks a fresh grapefruit for his breakfast, and neighbors have shared their lemon harvest—the biggest lemons I have ever seen.

Looking into what else grows in that region, and I learned that in 2015, Arizona ranked second in the nation for quantity of cantaloupe, second for lettuce, second for spinach, and eighth for cabbage. They also produce dates and pecans, which are a major export.

Many plants which are native to the desert are edible, or produce edible fruit. For example, the mesquite and palo verde trees have edible seed pods, and saguaros and prickly pear have oval fruits, and the pads of the prickly pear can be eaten too. Just watch out for the thorns when harvesting and prepping them!

So off I go, to soak up the sunshine, take in the beauty of the Sonoran Desert, and eat of its bounty. I can’t wait!


Martha (and Lori)

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

September Sports


My goodness, the year is flying by!  I hope everyone has a healthy and fun autumn, now that we’re officially in Pumpkin Spice Season.  As always, our friendly and helpful staff at Pathfinder Produce will be at the Village Commons on Thursdays throughout this colorful time of year, to help you access the freshest, tastiest fruits and veggies.  We hope to see you this week!

And don’t forget, you can do your shopping online with our convenient online ordering on our website.  How easy is that … order and pay for your fresh items for the week, and then pick up your order at either the Morris or Edmeston locations on Thursday afternoons.  Our market staff is ready and waiting to fill your orders!
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The past few weeks have been filled with sports activities for many of us:  My son is on his high school soccer and cross country teams, which means lots of practices, games, and meets.  And at Pathfinder Village, things have been busy with our recent events, the Chobani Tennis and Juniors Tennis Classic, and our second annual EDD Memorial Fund Bike Clinic.  I served in a supporting role for all these events and had a great time taking pictures of people of all ages and walks of life enjoying sports and fitness.
Soccer seasons are now in full swing, and Grant’s Field is busy most nights and weekends with practices and games for youth athletes in the Tri-Towns Youth Commission League.  And this coming week, I’ll be taking more pictures of our area cross country runners as they take to the Pathfinder Village Community Trail for two scholastic meets, on September 18 and 25, starting at about 4:30 p.m.  We’re looking forward to seeing all our area XC runners compete!


I had a great time this past Sunday taking pictures of the bike clinic that the EDD Memorial Fund and Pathfinder Village co-sponsored, which was focused on encouraging people with disabilities to enjoy riding for exercise and as a social experience.  We had a great turnout with 25 participants, and I got to see some good friends and former Pathfinder School and Otsego Academy students.  The EDD Memorial Fund, a longtime partner of Pathfinder’s, is a regional non-profit organization that provides a wide array of recreational and competitive sports programs for individuals with disabilities.
The event was organized by Pathfinder’s Enrichment Department and EDD staff and board members.  Additionally, we had several staff and student volunteers from the Recreation & Sports Management program at SUNY Delhi.  Organizers laid out two courses for the athletes: a straight course for our Strider balance bikes -- sleek, two-wheeled bikes that are propelled by walking the bike; and a more-demanding figure-8 for those riding our sturdy adult trikes.


After a short break, some bikers felt confident enough in their abilities to take on the paved bike path in back of Pathfinder School.  Several individuals – Shawn, Marc, and Katie – felt so confident that they cycled around the quarter-mile track several times at a good clip.
"It was wonderful to spend the morning with so many friends from Pathfinder Village. After saying hello and catching up, we got right down to the business of riding,” said Gretchen Owens, EDD’s executive director.  “I was impressed with everyone’s willingness to hop onto a bike.  Every rider seemed to gain a sense of independence that happens when riding bikes; enjoying that feeling of the wind in their face and the sun on their back as they cruised around the paths.  We hope to inspire riders to come back and do it again!"
According to numerous articles on the internet, adaptive cycling is a fun way to exercise that offers the benefits of improved mental health; better breathing and circulation; improved ranges of motion, balance and trunk control; and can help with visual perception and cognitive development. If one thinks back one’s own riding experiences, it’s easy to see how biking can open up opportunities and adventures for all.
Until next time, take advantage of these beautiful autumn days for fun and activity outdoors,
Lori


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Meatless Main Dishes

Hello everyone, and we hope that your first full week of school is going well!  Here at Pathfinder Village, we’re welcoming back all our students at Pathfinder School and at Otsego Academy, our two-year post-secondary program, which offers tremendous opportunities for young adults with developmental disabilities in independent living, academics, and through inclusive learning and social experiences in the community.

Of course, our Pathfinder Produce market is also going strong, and we’re here to help all our area families get the fresh fruits and veggies they need for healthy meal and snack options.  Check it out at the Village Commons on Thursday afternoon, from 1 to 5 p.m.  And don’t forget our online ordering … place and pay for your order online, and we’ll select and pack your order for you.  Then, all you have to do is come by our location in Morris or Edmeston for your order of fresh and tasty items.  Sweet!

***

 Too often vegetables are relegated to the role of side dish, or an afterthought to make the plate a bit more balanced. However, vegetables are very versatile and are packed with nutrients that make them the perfect candidate for an entrĂ©e. With a little creativity and an open mind, it’s easy to pack in more veggies to your day.  Here are some great veggie-rich recipes to try from Buzzfeed!


1. Buffalo Cauliflower Tacos
Shake up Taco Tuesdays with these cauliflower and avocado packed tortillas! They are perfect for anyone who loves chicken wings, too!


2. Vegetarian Chili

Chili is the ultimate comfort food for fall and winter. This recipe includes onions, peppers, carrots, celery, tomatoes, and beans—but it’s so filling you would never know it was missing any ground beef or turkey!


3. Lentil and Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

Switch up your traditional shepherd’s pie recipe with this sweet potato twist! Not a fan of lentils or mushrooms? Substitute any of your favorite veggies instead! 


4. Zucchini Noodles Alfredo

Only have a few minutes to make dinner, but trying to keep it on the healthier side? Anyone with a vegetable spiralizer can whip this pasta-alternative recipe up in 15 minutes or less!


5. Slow Cooker Veggie Pot Pie

Crockpot recipes are perfect for busy days. Let your favorite vegetables simmer all day, then add puff pastry at the end for an easy and nutritious pot pie!

To check out all of these recipes, and more, click here!


Enjoy!

Maura (and Lori) 

Friday, August 31, 2018

Back to School

Hello friends!  Welcome to the official first week of the new school year!  As busy as this time of year is, isn’t it good to know that Pathfinder Produce is here to help?  We can provide your family with vegetables and fruits for a full week so that you serve up healthy and tasty dishes and snacks.  We work hard to keep our pricing competitive, and you will enjoy our fresh selections and our helpful market staff.

And now that fall is here, don’t forget our convenient online ordering option.  Just go to our website between Friday afternoon and Wednesday at noon, select and pay for your items with your credit card, and then pick up your order at our Edmeston market or at the UMC pick-up in Morris on Thursday afternoons.

***

This week is Back to School week, and students and their families will be developing new routines.  One of the best ways to support your children is to provide them with some structure, so they learn important health practices, work habits, and time management skills.  This is important for students of all ages, from the very smallest pre-schoolers, right on through to high school seniors.  I almost think that routines may be even more important for older kids, as they have so many social and sports options, work schedules, and other distractions, that they are easily thrown off from hitting their scholastic stride.

Here are a few tips that can help, and I recommend reading this post from the Healthy Children website, especially if you have younger children:

Eat breakfast each day:  Whereas we may not always share family dinners together at our house, I always make sure we get up early enough so that we can share breakfast together.  Many reports indicate that students who eat breakfast perform better academically.

Limit sugar-laden snacks and drinks:  Sure, sugar-rich cookies, and candies give kids an energy burst, but overall, they aren’t beneficial and instill poor eating habits.  Offer students a variety of healthy fruits and veggies, or non-sugary snacks, for afterschool and mid-study breaks.  Focus on providing no- or low-sugar drinks, like milk, water, and limited amounts of unsweetened fruit juices when they are thirsty.

Go to bed:  Everyone needs adequate sleep, so it’s important that kids develop and stick to sleep routines.  Set regular bedtimes for everyone, and include some regular wind-down activities to get kids ready to sleep, like reading books before bed.  Studies recommend that kids should not have free access to TVs, cell phones, or other electronic distractions in their rooms at night.

Use organizers to track activities:  Families’ lives are complex, with many demands from work/school, extra-curricular activities, community organizations, and sports.  Visual organizers, like calendar apps or whiteboards, can help keep everyone on track and communicating about what their schedules are for the week.

Set up Homework Zones & Patterns:  Create a space--whether it’s in a child’s room or at the dining room table-- where kids can work on homework in a quiet, well-lit space that doesn’t have distractions, like the tv or electronics.  Establish routines that students automatically follow each day: After arriving home, kids should have a few minutes to unwind, but then they should help with some family chores and complete their homework assignments before they engage in leisure activities.  (And yes, chore participation is a good thing, despite the moans and static).

Encourage responsibility and time management skills:  Kids are human, and they may forget to do or turn in assignments.  They may also forget other tasks that they needed to follow up on (“Mom, there’s a bake sale tomorrow and I’m supposed to bring something!”).  They also procrastinate and put off for tomorrow what they should’ve completed yesterday.  Review their day and monitor assignments, club and team activities, and other topics to keep informed about what is expected of them by others.  Encourage them to start using planners, e-calendars and other visual organizers to plan.

There are many more resources online for getting back into the “school year gear” and it is always helpful to consult your children’s teachers, counselors and team coaches throughout the year.  The best advice is to be involved, but also let your child learn from his choices, and help him to use logic and thinking skills to connect the dots on cause and effect situations.


Good luck and study hard!

Lori

Monday, August 27, 2018

Drink Up!

Hello everyone, we hope that you’re enjoying the official last week of summer before the Labor Day holiday.  There’s no better time to put on a picnic and feature fresh summer veggies and fruits in your menus.  Come on down to Pathfinder Produce, this Thursday from 1 to 5 p.m. to check out all the great and tasty items we have “in store” for you.  You’ll want to try some of our delicious Pathfinder Hoop House products too … you can’t get anything fresher!

My son – now a high school senior – and other student-athletes are now in their full training schedule and running, pushing, striving and sweating.  (These past two weeks, my son’s been doing conditioning for Cross Country in the morning, with full Varsity Soccer practices in the afternoon … phew). It’s so important that athletes drink plenty of fresh, cool water each day to keep healthy and to stave off dehydration.  I took a look back at some of my older blogs on hydration and wanted to repost this one from September 2016. 

***
Over the past two weeks, the area’s youth soccer players and the members of the Edmeston Central School’s Cross Country Team have returned to Pathfinder Village for practices and competitions at Grant’s Field and the Pathfinder Community Trail.  It’s wonderful to have our youngsters enjoy Pathfinder’s athletic fields, and we offer a great round of thanks to the parents who support these teams.  We’re looking forward to a memorable season for all the athletes.

My own son, now on the varsity soccer team at his school, requested that I buy a new water bottle for him, large enough so that he has plenty of water during games and practices.  I was happy to do this, as I know how important it is for athletes to stay hydrated.  Typically, the kid will take a water bottle with him to school, sip it during the day and at lunch, and then refill it before his afternoon practices.

When I was looking online to purchase the bottle, I got thinking about how we can actually know if we get enough water each day.  Many folks use the general guidelines of the “8 x 8 rule.”  A quick online search reveals that the amount of water you actually need is more determined by your size, your level of activity, and other factors.  Some also believe that it is beneficial to drink water throughout the day, rather than at intervals.  And there are plenty of studies that show that drinking cold water boosts metabolism and can help you lose weight if you drink water about 30 minutes before eating. 

One thing that I’ve read online, and have experienced, is that it is possible to confuse thirst with hunger. Livestrong recommends that the next time you think you are hungry, try drinking water and see if your cravings go away.

I found out too, that there are several free iPhone and Android apps that people can use to help track their water intake.  By logging in how often you drink, you understand your water needs better and reinforce the positive behavior of drinking regularly.  I think I’m going to download one of these and see how it goes.  If you don’t have a smartphone or aren’t tech savvy, there are plenty of page printouts you can use to help you get enough daily fluids.

And, not to gross anyone out, but if you aren’t one to track things, the surest indicator that you are getting enough water is to gauge the color of your urine. If it’s dark yellow, it’s too concentrated and you need to drink more.  For those who care for children, always check to see if they are getting enough water; monitor diapers and pull-ups using the color scale, and observe if their eyes appear sunken or if they have tears when they are crying.  If there aren’t any tears, the child is dehydrated, needs to drink and may need medical attention. 

Older people are also highly prone to becoming dehydrated, which can cause a list of conditions from confusion to constipation, from rapid heart rates to very serious UTIs.  Encourage your older loved ones to always drink enough water, even if they aren’t always keen on the idea.

Until next time, enjoy these glorious days of fall, and drink up!


Lori