Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Healthy Change-Ups

Hello everyone, and welcome to the Thanksgiving season.  We hope you’ll visit Pathfinder Produce over the next two weeks to stock up in time for Thanksgiving.  Our market is open this week on Thursday, November 14, and the following week, Thursday, November 21, from noon to 5 p.m.  The market will be closed on Thanksgiving Day so our staff may enjoy the day with their families and friends.

Pathfinder Produce’s Chef Eric has been busy selecting some holiday sample recipes to try out and share with our market patrons.  Word has it that he’ll be featuring Sautéed Apples and a fresh berry Cranberry Sauce over the next two weeks … we can’t wait to see what he cooks up next!

Looking ahead, we want to let everyone know about a holiday concert by one of our all-time favorites is coming up: The Sidney Community Band will perform at the Pathfinder Gym on Sunday, December 8, at 3:30 p.m.  Everyone is invited to enjoy this free concert that will feature a selection of seasonal favorites!  (Because we can’t resist … you can hear the band play “Let It Snow” by clicking this link). 

Below, my colleague Martha Spiegel offers some healthier options for you to consider for your Thanksgiving meal.


Thanksgiving is fast approaching, so I went searching for alternatives to some traditional sides that were healthy, looked nice on the serving plate, and would be pleasing to the palate. Here is a sampling of what I found.

  • Wild Rice Stuffed Butternut Squash: This dish is vegan, so it is naturally lower in fat than dishes that come drenched in butter or full of heavy cream. The presentation is so beautiful! And while it does take a while to bake the squash in the oven, the hands-on prep time is only about 15 minutes.
  • Green Bean Casserole: In some families, it just isn’t Thanksgiving without a green bean casserole. This healthier alternative has no need for a can opener as there is no cream soup or fried onions. The beans are steamed, and the sauce gets its flavor from fresh mushroom, garlic and thyme, and parmesan cheese. It’s topped with crispy sautéed shallots. To me, this sounds so much better than the original!
  • Sweet Potato Pecan Casserole: This one has all the sweetness of typical candied sweet potatoes with marshmallows, but with much fewer calories. It’s fairly simple to make, and with cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar and pecans, I’m sure the aroma as it cooks is hunger-inducing.
  • Vegetarian Gravy: Hear me out on this one, folks! Even if you would never consider anything but gravy made from the pan drippings on Thanksgiving, keep this in mind for other times when you want gravy with something besides roasted meat. Or maybe your crowd is smaller and you only make a turkey breast which doesn’t put forth much in the way of gravy-making drippings. This variety is made with lots of fresh ingredients and looks chock full of flavor.
Here’s hoping you have a happy, healthy and delicious Thanksgiving!

Martha (and Lori)

Tuesday, November 5, 2019



Until next time, eat well, be well, and count your blessings! 


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

It's the Great Pumpkin, Pathfinder Produce!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!  We love the harvest season at Pathfinder Produce and Halloween is such a fun time to celebrate all things autumnal like apples, cider, and all sorts of fresh and tasty produce.  We hope you to see
all our friends and neighbors at this Thursday’s fresh market at the Village Commons, from noon to 5 p.m.
Below, my colleague Sally Trosset considers that great seasonal staple, the pumpkin.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Pathfinder Produce!”
The fall harvest is upon us.  The crisp chilly weather is here to stay, and we are surrounded by beautiful foliage. We are grateful to everyone who stopped by the Pathfinder Produce last Thursday for the Fall Harvest Market.  Ten percent of our proceeds will be donated to TEAM NYCM – Making Strides Against Breast Cancer as part of our awareness month activities. We also hope that those who came to the annual Pathfinder Community Trick-or-Treat and Haunted House last Saturday had a fun afternoon!  (You can see pictures of many ghouls and goblins enjoying the Village at our Facebook album).
Now what to do with those pumpkins!  Fun fact: While most pumpkin recipes usually involve baking or cooking, you can eat raw pumpkin.  A member of the winter squash family (genus Cucurbita), raw pumpkin has a hearty rich flavor that makes a good stand-alone snack or a side dish.  It is also versatile enough so you can add other ingredients to change up the flavor while not sabotaging its nutritional value. 
Pumpkin is loaded with Vitamin A, an essential nutrient that protects cells from damage as we age.  It is also essential for eye health, particularly, night vision.  Vitamin A keeps your skin healthy and free from dryness and it is a natural boost to our immune system, making it key in year-round cold and flu protection.  It is wise, though, to not overindulge in raw pumpkin.  Too much Vitamin A can lead to Hypervitaminosis A, a liver condition that can occur especially if people take high-dose dietary supplements.
According to USDA Food Data Central, a one-cup serving of raw pumpkin yields about 30 calories and about 0.12 grams of fat as well as 1.16 grams of protein and 7.54 grams of carbohydrates; all healthy amounts.
So, as a stand-alone snack, try cutting your pumpkin into cubes, sprinkle some cinnamon to give it a dessert-like flavor or add flax seeds to add crunch.  Check out Rawmazing, All Recipes, and My Recipes for some of raw pumpkin dishes to add to your fall harvest dining. 
Again, thanks to all for supporting our Community Trick-or-Treating and Haunted House and our Pathfinder Fall Harvest Market last week.  Have a safe and Happy Halloween!
Until next time, eat well and be well!
Sally (and Lori)

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

A Look at Risk Factors during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Hello and happy fall, y’all!  We’re looking forward to another delicious Pathfinder Produce market this Thursday, and we’ll be celebrating our FALL HARVEST in grand style from noon to 5 p.m.  We’ll have some special baked goods on sale, healthy smoothies with Chef Eric, gift certificate drawings, and ten percent of our proceeds sales this week will go to TEAM NYCM -Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Also this week, on Saturday, October 26 from 3 to 5 p.m., we’ll be hosting our Residential Homes’ annual Community Trick-or-Treat event at the Village.  Members of our Enrichment and Adult Day Services departments are planning for a scary Haunted Hallway at the Commons, and all of the homes at the Pathfinder main campus will be ready to host your little ghouls and goblins in our safe, friendly environment.  It’ll be a howling good time!


We are what we eat, and sometimes if we habitually eat the wrong foods, it can lead to illnesses and chronic conditions.  A diet that is rich in fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, and less processed foods, red meats, and sweets is highly recommended by healthcare professionals to support one’s optimum health.

I’ve recently seen stories on Facebook and other social platforms about how eating better can help with depression. That got me to wondering if diet can help one avoid breast and other types of cancers.

According to The American Cancer Society, staying physically active and eating a healthy diet can help one maintain a healthy weight, which decreases the overall risk for all types of diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancers, including breast cancer.  In that brief article, they also say that eating traditional soy foods like tofu may be beneficial because they contain isoflavone compounds, which may inhibit the effects of naturally occurring estrogens in the body. 

The ACS also cautions against:
  • Drinking Alcohol to Excess:  2 to 3 drinks a day can raise a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer by 20% over non-drinkers.
  • Being Sedentary:  Increasing your physical activity can help reduce the risk of breast cancer; ACS recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. “Exactly how physical activity might reduce breast cancer risk isn’t clear, but it may be due to its effects on body weight, inflammation, hormones, and energy balance,” they add.
  • Taking certain types of Birth Control and HRT Therapy:  Talk to your healthcare providers to learn more about risks that may be associated with certain contraceptives or hormone replacement therapies used to ease menopausal symptoms.

So, while I didn’t see any foods that either increase or reduce breast cancer risks in my brief research, it seems clear that risk reduction is tied to managing one’s overall health to limit exposure to high levels of estrogen, especially as women grow older. Other factors, like genetics or environment, may also be part of determining one’s risk.  You can learn more about other risk factors and other facts from the National Cancer Institute’s website.  A risk assessment tool is available at their site too.

Until next time, eat well and take care of your health!


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Breast Cancer Awareness

Hello, and we hope you’re enjoying October, National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Each week, we celebrate the abilities of people with Down syndrome at Pathfinder Produce by empowering people on-the-job and providing them with opportunities to develop and fine-tune work skills in community-based work opportunities. Come visit us this Thursday, from noon to 5 p.m. to say hello to our friendly and courteous staff and check out all the great produce on sale!

BIG NEWS: At our market on Thursday, October 24, we’ll be partnering with local volunteers to help raise awareness for National Breast Cancer Awareness month too! Ten percent of our market proceeds for our Fall Harvest event will be contributed to Team NYCM in support of breast cancer awareness and research. Our market team is coming up with some other great promotions as well: There will be two drawings for Pathfinder Produce gift certificates, special discounts on Awareness month baked goods, and Chef Eric will be serving up some Healthy PINK smoothie samples. 


I admit that I like to watch social media posts with little kids doing what little kids do best … playing, laughing, and making adults laugh through their silly behavior and outlandish quips. One recent video that had me chuckling was one showing kids’ unfiltered reactions to the word ‘boobies’, brassieres, store displays, and so forth.

But as it’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it’s an appropriate time to encourage everyone to take care of themselves and to be aware of the signs of breast cancer. I would dare venture that most people know someone who has had breast cancer; I’ve had several friends overcome it but it’s still a worrisome diagnosis that impacts all aspects of family life. It too often remains a fatal disease.

Men too have mammary tissues and can also develop breast cancer. So it’s important for everyone to know the signs and do regular self-exams. The following link offers guidance on the ages when women should begin annual mammograms. If you see or feel a lump developing, don’t put off going to get it checked out. The sooner you begin treatment, the better your chance of making a recovery.

These are some stats shared from the website, breastcancer.org:
·       About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer.
·       In 2019, an estimated 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected in US women, along with 62,930 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.
·       About 2,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected in US men 2019; a man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 883.
·       Breast cancer incidence rates in the U.S. began decreasing in the year 2000: One theory is that the decrease was in part through the reduced use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) by women after a 2002 study linked HRT to cancer.
·       About 41,760 women in the U.S. are expected to die in 2019 from breast cancer, though death rates have been decreasing since 1989.
·       For US women, breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.
·       In women under 45, breast cancer is more common in African-American women than white women, and overall, African-American women are more likely to die of breast cancer.
·       A woman’s risk of breast cancer nearly doubles if she has a first-degree relative who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
·       About 5-10% of breast cancers can be linked to inherited gene mutations. Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are the most common. Women with a BRCA1 mutation have up to a 72% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer; for those with a BRCA2 mutation, the risk is 69%.
·       About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer.
·       The most significant risk factors for breast cancer are gender and growing older.

So, if you are a woman, take the time to take care of yourself through self-exams and annual check-ups. If you’re a guy, support the important women in your life and encourage them to be pro-active in their care, and then follow-up on your important screenings as well. The best way to beat any cancer is to catch it early!

Until next time, be aware and be well!


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

This Week's Pathfinder Produce Prices

Oh my goodness, I’m late in sending out this week’s Pathfinder Produce price list. Autumn is a busy time for all of us, so isn’t it great to have a well-stocked greengrocer handy to help with your produce needs?  Stop by the Pathfinder Village Commons this Thursday afternoon from noon to 5 p.m. to stock up on fresh and tasty fruits and veggies for the week!

We’ll take a break from our blog post this week, but will be back soon with more fun food facts, community events and other ways to celebrate this wonderful time of year! 

Until next time, eat well, be healthy and enjoy the fresh tastes of fall!


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Shopping Skills

Good afternoon, everyone!  This week we’re experiencing the height of autumn! And of course, our Pathfinder Produce market has the very best seasonal produce for you to serve and enjoy with your family.  Stop by the Village Commons this Thursday afternoon from noon to 5 p.m. to stock up on fresh and tasty fruits and veggies for the week!

Below, my colleague Maura Iorio, our Senior Director of Education, discusses how visits to the produce market serve as real-life lessons! 


This school year, our Transition Coordinator, Stephanie Sitts, launched a new program at Pathfinder School called Personal Shoppers. Each week, students’ families have the option to send in a produce market shopping list with their child so that they can pick out fresh fruits and vegetables and bring them home!

The Pathfinder School staff support students by helping them create accessible versions of the shopping lists using Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) icons. Students build independence while shopping by following their lists and selecting the freshest produce for their families.
Our students get to practice making choices, navigating the community, using their communication devices to speak with Produce Market customers and employees and working within a budget to pay for their groceries. Activities like this prepare students for shopping in other settings.

We love hearing back from families how wonderful it is to be able to access our Produce Market to make healthy meals and snacks, and for their children to practice these important life skills!

Happy Shopping!

Maura (and Lori)