- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
The FoodLink program, called “Nutrition on the Go,” has delivered farm-fresh produce to families for 11 years. Nutrition on the Go made a stop in the community of Farmersville, with a population of about 10,000 and median household income of $31,611, at the end of August. Large commercial bins of apples, yellow plums, pasilla chilies, red onions and tomatoes were placed under sunshades in the community center parking lot. The food was donated by local packing houses, farmers and a volunteer gleaning program. About 150 recipients braved the hot midday sun to collect generous bags of fresh produce.
“The beauty of this program is there is no eligibility. You show up, you get food. It’s a very welcoming program,” said Steve Dresser of FoodLink.
At each food giveaway, UC Cooperative Extension nutrition educators provide a healthful recipe that incorporates the produce being offered and samples of the prepared dish. In Farmersville, nutrition program manager Julie Cates and nutrition educator Grilda Gomez handed paper cups of tuna apple salad to recipients as they waited in line.
“These communities are food deserts,” Cates said. “They have a lot of hard working people but they don’t have access to fruits and vegetables.”
The families also lack access to nutrition education.
“We bridge that gap,” Cates said.
Following is the recipe for tuna apple salad UCCE distributed at the Farmersville food giveaway.
Tuna Apple Salad
Makes 4 servings. 1 cup per serving
Prep time: 15 minutes
2 (6-ounce) cans water packed tuna, drained
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
1 medium apple, cored and chopped
¼ cup chopped celery
¼ cup golden raisins
3 tablespoons fat free Italian dressing
2 cups salad greens
2 medium whole wheat pitas
- In a small bowl, stir tuna, onion, apple, celery, raisins, and two tablespoons of dressing together.
- In another bowl, toss salad greens with remaining dressing.
- Cut pitas in half to make 4 pita pockets.
- Carefully fill pita pockets with equal amounts of tuna and salad greens.
Nutrition information per serving: calories 216, carbohydrate 27 g, dietary fiber 4 g, protein 25 g, total fat 2 g, saturated fat 0 g, trans fat 0 g, cholesterol 26 mg, sodium 544 mg
(Source: Harvest of the Month, California Department of Public Health)
See a video snapshot from the Farmersville food giveaway below: