Welcome to www.Wednesdays! As the weather gets hotter so does the nutrition topics around the nation, but nutrition is more then about facts and scientific information. It is the comfort we find in family, culture, food products, cooking, and baking that makes nutrition a great field to share.
So why not put these items together in a program that allows nutrition and food lovers to share their favorite foods, their culture, and their family with others? Well, there is a program designed to do just that! It is called Foodie Penpals.
Foodie Penpals was created by Lindsay, a dietetic student currently in her dietetic internship in Ohio and a foodie at heart. Lindsay is the creator of The Lean Green Bean, a blog that explores Lindsay's life as a intern, cook, baker, and foodie.
What is Foodie PenPals?
The Foodie PenPals program is a opportunity for bloggers and readers to share their local homemade treats, recipes, and favorite food products with others across the nation. It is like having a random penpal whom you write letters to, but in this case, you send a box of food treats as well.
This program has grown from 30 participants in September 2011 to almost 1,000 participants in the US, Canada, and even the UK.
How it Works:
This is how it works: Thank you Lindsay for these directions! (source)
-On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
-Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK residents. Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!
Interview with Lindsay:
While looking more into the Foodie PenPal program, I was able to interview Lindsay by email for some expert advice for those wanting to participate.
"I think everyone has a little bit different approach to sending a box. Here's mine: I always check with my match first to see if they have any dietary requirements. I've sent boxes to people that are vegan, gluten-free, etc, which I am not...so in those cases, I usually go to Whole Foods and find products that fit their diet and that I think they would enjoy. I've also sent boxes to people with no dietary restrictions. In that case I tend to send a box that includes a lot of my favorite products, local products if they tell me they're interested in them, and some sort of homemade item! I also always include some of my old food and fitness magazines that I've already read! I always ask my match if they want more small items or fewer bigger items, and whether they want healthy items, treats or a mix of both. My best advice would be to always check with your match before shopping so you know their needs/restrictions and preferences. Also, spend time packing your box well. Don't throw glass jars in a padded envelope and hope they make it in one piece! And don't send chocolate in July without putting in a sealed bag. It melts all over everything. Yes, people have done both of these things."
While participating in the program, Lindsay's favorite received items have been homemade such as cookies, granola, peanut butter, and even homemade kombucha. She has even received a CD of songs, which was made for her to listen to while working in the kitchen.
This program has also introduced Lindsay to variety of different products and brands including apple butter and Lucy's gluten-free cookies.
Thank you Lindsay for the interview and creating this program!
I have participated in this program since January 2012 and have really enjoyed it. It is a joy to share a little bit of the Pacific Northwest, Moscow, and Idaho to foodies across the nation. A few states that I have sent my boxes to include Texas, New Jersey, and Georgia. In my boxes I have included local food items from vendors at the Moscow Farmer's Market to Seattle's Theo's chocolates.
|(My June package from Texas that was centered on Herbs and Spices)|
In return, I have received packages from all around the nation, which have introduced me to a variety of food items and family recipes.
My favorite item so far has been ginger chews, which were sent from Wyoming with local jerky and homemade kettle corn.
Lindsay has a sign up list on her blog under the Foodie PenPal homepage. The link is:
Have a great Wednesday!
If you had one food item to represent Idaho in a Foodie PenPal package, what would you send?
Coordinated Program in Dietetics, Student
University of Idaho
*I was not compensated for writing this post.