Picnic season is almost here

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

Sunshine and blue skies are right around the corner as the blustery days are ushered out. Picnicking is upon us with National Picnic Day being celebrated April 23. Nobody was better at picnicking than Winnie the Pooh. He grabbed one or more of his closest friends — Christopher Robin, Piglet, Tigger, and Eeyore — and headed out for picnicking adventures. Pooh’s picnic escapades were never without some excitement, a bib and his hunny pot.

Picnics are about creating memories and enjoying each other whether it is your friends, family or romancing your partner. Eight years ago, on a Paul and Shelly’s excellent adventure, a picnic took an outrageous twist. We had rented a convertible Ford Mustang and were excited to cruise down Highway 1 from San Fran to LA and take in the breathtaking California coast. At one of the overlooks, a couple of Harley riders asked if we had done the amazing 17-Mile Drive — a must-do on our coastal journey. We headed over to Monterrey for the picturesque tour through Pebble Beach. Paul spied some picnic tables at the onset of our outing, and we decided to stop for a picnic. We were enjoying a delightfully sunny, blue-sky day. If you know me, I have been known to be a very animated storyteller. Enjoying our sandwiches and in the midst of a tale, I had my sandwich in my hand, in the air, when a seagull swooped in and snatched my sandwich! The nerve! Not only did he steal my lunch, but it began my hatred for neutral-colored birds. It was a picnic memory I will never forget.

Americans love picnics. Jaunts to parks, lakes, hills, and beaches are the top favorite settings to dine al fresco. Baskets and coolers are filled with lots of finger licking good treats, forks are optional. Sandwiches have swooped in as a Millennial picnic favorite edging out the multi-generational favorite, fried chicken. You cannot go wrong with either fried chicken or sandwiches for good picnic eating. Watermelon, potato salad, chips and dip, deviled eggs, pasta salad, fruit salad, pie, and baked beans round out the top 10 favorite foods to take a picnicking. The grazing generation has even started the charcuterie picnic craze.

You have grabbed your fun-loving picnic cohorts, blankets, and filled your basket. Now is not the time to forget picnic food safety. Neglecting food safety will more than likely create a memory you would really rather forget. Picnic food safety PSA: keep your cold foods cold and your hot foods hot.

Picnics are like a micro getaway from the real world. Fill your cooler/basket, grab your friends, family or significant other and head out to enjoy National Picnic Day. Whether it is to enjoy a concert, outdoor movie, sporting event or just a day off the farm, turn off your devices and throw them in the basket so you too can create some unforgettable memories. Do not forget the hunny pot and above all, beware of birds!

Eat healthy and well,

Shelly

Pressed Italian Picnic Sandwiches
Watermelon Feta Salad
Blueberry Pie Bars

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