Happy Saturday friends! Popping in for a quick moment to say hello and share some photos from my trip down to Florida this week. I spent the past few days down in Sarasota with a few other dietitians to check out Tropicana’s orange groves! The weather was amazing and it was such a cool experience to head out to the groves and pick fresh oranges.
I arrived on Wednesday morning and promptly headed to the hotel to check in, grab some lunch and get a little bit of work done. Dining outside is one of my favorite things to do in the spring/summer months and I loved feeling the sun while I caught up on emails.
I ordered this tomato salad from Jack Rusty’s and it was so delicious. Actually, I had a hard time deciding what salad to order, they all looked amazing! But, giant slices of tomatoes eventually won out. Piled on top is shaved brussels and lettuce with green goddess dressing and crispy potatoes strings. The combination of texture and flavors was amazing, wish I had time to go back there again!
Tropicana hosted the most beautiful dinner on Wednesday evening right on the beach. I loved that it was a small, intimate group of dietitians and sunset dinner on the beach was the perfect way to be introduced to each other. I was familiar with most of them from blogging and other projects, but it was nice to put faces to names and spend quality time together.
For dinner, we were treated to the below orange and feta salad and I had a vegetarian wellington which was rich, flakey and so filling. But, the real star of the dinner was this beautiful sunset over the gulf. I miss living near the coast and I think I took a million photos on my phone to capture as much of the changing colors as possible.
My good friend and Joyful Eating collaborator Anne was also on the trip, which made it even more fun. We decided to get up early each morning for a run along the water. I forgot how much fun it is to run with someone else, we chatted the entire time and the run felt almost effortless. I would really like to start finding a few running buddies in St. Louis, so if you are in the area, let me know so we can meet up!
It was still fairly dark outside, so we ran by the light of the moon. A perfect, peaceful start to the days.
We spent most of Thursday visiting the orange groves and the Tropicana processing plants. As someone who is really interested in the way food is made, I enjoy getting an inside look at the farms and production lines.
The oranges from the grove were so delicious, it made me want to grow orange trees in our backyard! One of the famers sliced off the top of the orange to create a homemade juicebox. You just squeeze the sides and the orange juice came flowing out. Really refreshing and a fun treat to try with kids.
Orange juice is the only food that contains hesperidin, a polyphenol that has been shown to lower risk of cardiovascular disease. I usually drink a small glass of orange juice in the morning when I take my iron supplement (vitamin C helps with iron absorption), so I was happy to hear that I’m getting more antioxidants than I previously thought.
Overall, it was such an incredible trip with amazing people, interesting research and gorgeous weather. I got back yesterday afternoon and am looking forward to catching up on work this weekend and a date night with BL before we head to Vancouver next week!