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"Spring” into some Fun Outdoor Activities

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 9:57:54 AM America/Detroit

With warm weather on the horizon, spending time outside without all the extra layers is nearly in our grasp! Here are the top activities that the nature lover in me is daydreaming about:

  1. Trail hiking and practicing plant identification – this is great done alone, as a couple, or with the whole family. It offers the serenity that comes with enjoying nature as well as the benefits of physical activity. Plant identification is a fun activity to add to a hike. There are, of course, apps for this but we like to go old school and use a book…Foraging and Feasting by Dana Falconi is perfect, offering beautiful illustrations as well as practical applications for learning about the plants you encounter along the way.
  2. Go on a scavenger hunt – whether you find a preplanned hunt or organize one yourself, this can be a blast! To plan one, pick a theme, write down and hide your clues, and be sure to include a fun prize at the last stop…viola!
  3. Head out for a picnic – my girls love a beach picnic, but my personal favorite is setting up lunch right in my own yard! Spread a blanket, brings lots of handy snacks, and invite some friends!
  4. Shop the local farmers market – browsing through the farmers market and choosing from the gorgeous, fresh fruits and veggies is my happy place. Buying freshly picked produce is prefect as nutrient density will be at its highest!
  5. Start a garden – this doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as it may sound. Simply purchase some great soil and large pots. Choose a couple of produce items (tomatoes, zucchini, or herbs work well) and purchase starter plants. Put the soil in the pots along with the plants and water them. Seriously, so easy!  

There you have it. Now to spring-forward and make this (spring) daydream a reality.

Posted By Jordan Fekete

9 Superfoods to Transform Your Pantry

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 8:50:18 AM America/Detroit

Pantries are undergoing a transformation – move over sweet and salty treats! 

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Posted By Jordan Fekete

Our Top 7 Picks from Winter Fancy Food Show 2018

Monday, February 12, 2018 4:52:22 PM America/Detroit

Members of our team jetted to San Francisco, California this past month to discover the most up-and-coming products of 2018 at the Winter Fancy Food Show. With firm resolve (and full bellies), we can hardily recommend the following products for their healthfulness, unique attributes and tantalizing flavor:

  1. Hope Hummus: As self-proclaimed health-focused foodies, Hope Foods brings a unique twist to a fan favorite (read: chocolate hummus). As a fan of the Kale Pesto myself, they have delicious, minimally processed hummus for every palette, backed by a belief in the power of better food.  
  2. Creative Snack Clusters Almond Clusters: The delectable pairing of almonds, dried cranberries and cacao nibs in a bite-sized cluster reminded me of my favorite trail mix- only better! Balancing each bite becomes effortless as each cluster is a perfect combination of all flavors. Creative Snacks is all about creating better snack food: affordable, great tasting, and free from any harmful ingredients. 
  3. Bobo's Banana Chocolate Chip Oat Bar: A Colorado mother-daughter duo started baking oat bars in their Boulder, CO kitchen, creating a product that won consumer's hearts nationwide. Their banana chocolate chip oat bar is no exception- a delicious, gluten-free baked good that leaves you full and satisfied. Keep up the great work on these small-batch goodies!
  4. In Season Snacks Trail Mix Crackers: A perfect blend of nut, dried fruit, seed and cracker, these trail mix crackers are great right out of the bag or coupled with your favorite cheese. As the versatily of a cracker meets a unique take on trail mix, In Season Snacks hit it out of the park with this new creation.
  5. Rustic Bakery Tart Cherry, Cacao Nib & Almond Artisan Crisps: A great pairing with cheese, soups and salads, these surprisingly supple crisps get an A+ for flavor profile and delectable inclusions. Low in fat and high in fiber, these flatbreads are sure to make their way into your list of pantry staples. 
  6. Barney Butter Almond Butter Blend: Did someone say nut butter? While you can't go wrong with any type of creamy, nutty concoction in my book, Barney Butter does it all right. Gluten-free, Non-GMO and packed full of almond-boasting health benefits, this butter comes in a variety of fun flavors including vanilla and espresso, cocoa and coconut, and honey and flax. 
  7. Miyoko's Creamery Vegan Smoked VeganMozz: Last but not least, the heavens truly blessed us with the arrival of a vegan creamery at Fancy Foods. For those with lactose and other dairy-associated issues, Miyoko's cheese brings back a beloved ingredient that pairs well with so many dishes- you wouldn't even know it's not the "real thing!" For all of those that have said “I’d go vegan, but I just can’t give up cheese” Miyokos has the answer for you. 

Have you tried any of these hits? What's your favorite?

Posted By Jordan Fekete

This month, #rockthelunchbox with Graceland Fruit!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 8:26:44 PM America/Detroit

The same daily struggle faces moms, businesspeople, and college kids alike: packing a healthy, satiating lunch while spending less time, energy, and money in the process. Whether you're powering though the work day, getting the kids out the door, or crossing off the next thing on your neverending to-do list, it's no doubt that your mid-day meal plays an essential role in sustaining productivity, not to mention maintaining your metabolism and replenishing your ability to concentrate. We've compiled five hacks to help you pack for success: 

1. Learn to dress up your leftovers.

2. Partner up with someone at work.

3. Prep ingredients that are easy to mix and match.

4. Split your meal prep into two sessions per week to make it more manageable.

5. Stock your desk or other places you frequent throughout the day.

This month, we're inviting you to participate in our #rockthelunchbox challenge to put some of these simple hacks to use. To enter, snap and share one photo tagging @Graceland Fruit on Instagram showing how you #rockthelunchbox and encourage others to join the challenge. Anyone who posts a picture of their lunch with the hashtag #rockthelunchbox and @GracelandFruit will be entered to win convenience-sized bags of Graceland Fruit for the rest of the school year! The winner will be selected and announced at 12:00 noon EST on 2/28. U.S. only.

Posted By Jordan Fekete

A New Year, A New (Food) Resolution!

Friday, January 26, 2018 12:22:17 PM America/Detroit

Welcome to 2018! January is often filled with promises to do better, be better, and eat better in the new year. A quick scroll through your Facebook feed will probably reveal a lot of plans, hopes (and sometimes prayers!) about making positive life changes.

While it’s great to dream big—it’s also a smart to create “bite size” resolutions that you can easily achieve. Or as we like to say, “Add some low hanging (dried) fruit” to your list!

A recent article by CNN offers some practical and easy tips. 

5 (Attainable) New Year’s resolutions to add to your list: 
No. 1: Mindful eating
No. 2: Cook at home
No. 3: Meatless one day a week
No. 4: More fruits and veggies
No. 5: Water

Cooking at home is always a great way to be aware of exactly what you are eating, and lets you make tweaks to better nourish your body. Want to add more fruits and veggies? Try this “Triple Berry Coconut Oil Granola” recipe that features a trifecta of fruity taste with dried cranberries, blueberries, and cherries. You might also consider going meatless one day per week. Here’s a refreshing entrée salad you could add to your dinner rotation “Cranberry, Orange and Quinoa Salad.” Some restaurants are also joining the #MeatlessMonday movement and offering diners more meat-free options   

Whatever new habits you incorporate, remember that sometimes it’s great to think small!  Wishing you a healthy and “fruitful” new year.

Posted By Jordan Fekete

Meet Tara!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018 10:34:47 AM America/Detroit

Meet our newest Super Fruit Sidekick, Tara Rybicki, MS, RD, CDE!

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Posted By Jordan Fekete

5 Holiday Entertaining Tips

Friday, December 8, 2017 9:13:26 AM America/Detroit

This month, we’re sharing five holiday entertaining tips to help you create some extra special holiday cheer! And remember, a relaxed host is the best ingredient to get any party started. 

  1. Create a Signature Holiday Cocktail: Personalize your party by making a special cocktail that reflects your personality. For example, if you’re a chocolate lover, make a “Cocoa Lover’s Dream” by mixing raspberry liqueur and creme de cacao with hot chocolate, then top with fresh whipped cream and a fresh berry. Love the fall? Create a “Pumpkin Pie Martini.” More of a wine connoisseur? How about a sangria with a champagne twist? Serve your signature drinks in large serving bowls so guests can serve themselves. This helps you mingle more and manage less during the party. Source: HGTV
  2. Host a Pie Party: Seriously, who doesn’t love pie? A pie-themed party can be a wonderful way to take the “fancy” edge off the holidays. This is a great idea for a potluck party because it makes it easy for people to know exactly what they should bring. It’s also a nice ice-breaker for guests who don’t know each other, you can always talk about your favorite flavor.  Added bonus – pies can be sweet or savory! 
  3. Pass the Cheese Board: We’re a little obsessed with cheeseboards this year. You simply can’t go wrong by combining cheese, nuts, dried fruit, crackers, bread and spreads on a gorgeous wood platter. We had fun with this “Cheese Board Builder” by Castello Cheese to find out our perfect pairings.  Answer a few simple questions and voila, it creates a personalized board just for you. 
  4. Interactive Food Stations:  Say goodbye stuffy sit-down dinners and say hello adventure stations! Encourage your guests to “play with their food” and take them around the world by setting up a few global cuisine stations. A taste of Italy could include a customized gourmet pizza station, you can add some Vietnamese flavor with a Phở station or evoke a French patisserie with a cookie decorating station.
  5. Focus on what you love— outsource the rest: A great party starts with a happy (not stressed) host. That might mean devoting your time to one main course or a show-stopping dessert, and “outsourcing” the other dishes to guests or your local deli counter.

Happy entertaining, and please pass the cranberry bark!

Posted By Jordan Fekete

Thanksgiving: Let Your Sides Shine!

Monday, November 20, 2017 10:22:36 AM America/Detroit

Many cooks focus on brining, baking, basting, and deep frying their main dishes into perfection during the holiday season. But it’s also a great time to play with your fruits and veggies and let your side dishes shine!  

Beyond Green Bean Casserole
While your spread is likely to feature some variation of Aunt Margaret’s favorite green bean casserole, consider adding some unique side dishes to the table. Check out these fun and festive recipe ideas from Popsugar including Brussels Sprout Salad with Pomegranate, Walnuts and Jalapeno and Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes and Candied Acorn Squash Rings (https://www.popsugar.com/food/Unique-Thanksgiving-Side-Dishes-32388172

Stuffing Versus Dressing
Do you know the different between stuffing and dressing?  Stuffing is cooked inside of the bird and dressing is cooked outside of the bird. Peoples preferences are often based on texture and tradition. Whether you are #teamstuffing or #teamdressing, remember to add flavorful dried fruit to your mix.

Food, Wine and Travel blogger Marlynn Schotland of Urbanblisslife made this tasty dressing recipe featuring our dried cranberries and cherries in her Thanksgiving recipe: Wild Rice Dressing with Cranberries, Cherries, and Pecans. Get the recipe at https://www.gracelandfruit.com/recipes/wild-rice-dressing.html

Your friends and family will surely “gobble gobble” this one up!

Posted By Jordan Fekete

Happy National Cranberry Month!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017 10:32:51 AM America/Detroit

All About Cranberries

Did you know that Wisconsin is the leading producer of cranberries, with over half of U.S. production (Massachusetts is #2)?  I held these colorful, deep red berries in my hand last week when I visited one of our Wisconsin-based growers’ bogs during the peak of harvest season. Our growers harvest millions of pounds of cranberries every autumn when the small but mighty berries reach their prime. 

Happy Harvesting

Most people are familiar with seeing the bright red cranberries floating in large bogs filled with water. This is called “wet harvesting” where growers flood the bog with up to 18 inches of water the night before the berries are harvested with a machine that gently agitates the water to loosen the cranberries from the vine.  An air pocket helps the berry float to the surface of the water where the berries are collected, loaded into trucks and taken to a processing facility, one step closer to becoming the delicious dried Graceland Fruit you’ll find at your local grocery store.  

Super Fruits

As far as healthy foods go, dried cranberries are near the top of the list due to their high nutrient and antioxidant content. Our dried cranberries are gluten-free, allergen-free, Non-GMO and contain no artificial colors or flavors.  They are a great source of fiber and promote heart health giving them the commercial status as a “super fruit.”

Cran-tastic Recipes

Adding dried cranberries to your favorite recipes is an easy way to get a nutritional boost. From baked cranberry oatmeal to herbed cranberry chicken to no-bake almond cranberry energy bars, you’ll find delicious, family-friendly recipes here on our website. 

Enjoy the cranberry goodness!

~Jordan

Posted By Jordan Fekete

Organic Options Coming to You!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 11:43:26 AM America/Detroit

Organic food products continue to rise in popularity among home shoppers and food manufacturers alike. And rightly so; organic products take a unique approach to the growing process to ensure that end consumers are getting the purest form of the foods they know and love. What does organic mean to us here at Graceland Fruit? A continued commitment to our belief that everyone deserves access to the taste and wholesomeness of fresh fruit all year long. While sourcing local, sustainably grown fruit has always been a part of Graceland’s business model, the addition of organic processes adds yet another quality component that allows us to offer consumers products that align with their food values. Reasons to ‘go organic’ are abundant; those that make the top of our list are included below:

  1. Organic farming practices are designed to encourage soil and water conservation and reduce pollution.
  2. Buying organic limits exposure to pesticide residues.
  3. The organic label bans or severely restricts the use of food additives, processing aids, and fortifying agents (examples include preservatives and artificial sweeteners).
  4. Organic food (especially produce) is often in-season at time of purchase, making it more nutrition-dense and likewise, tastier!
  5. Buying organic supports healthier communities, starting with our farmers. As stated by the Huffington Post, “a farm is certainly a healthier place for farmers to work when they are not exposed to synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides as they labor.”

Drumroll please! We’re thrilled to begin offering the dried cherries and cranberries that you know and love in organic form starting summer 2017! Stay on the lookout for these products coming to a shelf near you and make sure to check back here for updates.

Posted By Jordan Fekete
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