Posts Tagged ‘POM’

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POM Wonderful Blogger Harvest Tour Recap

October 23, 2009

One missed flight and two delayed flights later, I am home again in Winnipeg after a POMtastically wonderful Blogger Harvest Tour at the POM Wonderful orchards in California. It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

The latter part of Day Two

After picking pomegranates on Tuesday, Janel gave a talk about the role antioxidants play as an anti-aging superpower. Her health and nutrition philosophy is the twin of my own. It was beautiful to hear her stressing the importance of eating real, whole foods. I had to restrain myself from jumping up and giving her a gigantic hug partway through her talk!

Then it was time for dinner at The Vintage Press. It ever you go to California- no matter what part you’re in- make a detour to Visalia so that you can eat at The Vintage Press restaurant. The interior is gorgeous, the owner is kindness in human form, and the food… I’ll be dreaming of the deliciousness of that meal for days:

PA200107Random things on a stick. They were tasty. That’s all that really matters anyways, right? 🙂 I believe these were mostly vegetables and a mozzarella ball in some kind of oil/vinegar sauce

PA200110Bacon-wrapped almond-stuffed date, crusty whole wheat bread, and melty cheese in puff pastry

PA200112Cream cheese and pomegranate arils layered on top of a fig

PA200115Mushrooms between layers of puff pastry with cream sauce

PA200116Sliced pears and mixed greens with pomegranate arils

PA200120Pistachio-crusted salmon in a white wine/lemon sauce

PA200122Pomegranate sorbet

I enjoyed the meal with Kristy and Eric (I had so much fun with them the evening before that I really wanted to spend a lot more time with those two!), and Heather and Janel. The conversation was engaging and the company, perfect. I’d be understating to say that it was a complete pleasure and delight to talk to them.

PA200121Me and Heather

PA200124Kristy and I

Jeff gave an incredibly touching speech about the POM Wonderful-blogger relationship which I think had us all choked up. He and Andrea were the most amazing hosts any of us could have asked for! Then we went on a quick tour of the restaurant.

PA200135The whole place was beautiful, but I especially loved the piano at the top of this winding staircase

Roni suggested the idea of walking back to the hotel, so some of us walked/stumbled back. I crashed as soon as I got to my room.

Day Three

I woke up early for some quickie strength training and an interval workout on the treadmill to burn off at least two bites of that decadently rich dinner from the previous night. Once we’d all eaten breakfast together, we packed up and drove to the POM plant for our tour.

There’s quite an involved process for ensuring that each pomegranate is in pristine condition, but essentially what happens is that each pomegranate moves along the conveyer belt…

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…and then it gets a pretty heart-shaped POM sticker further on down the line. Aww!

PA210182This is one of the biggest pomegranates ever! It’s about 5.5 inches in diameter

There were big banners hanging all over the processing plant with motivational phrases such as “Everyone matters at POM” and “Every drop of juice counts”. I loved the friendliness of the atmosphere.

It was also fascinating to see how the bottles are made and the juicing system itself. The bottles are made with recycled materials and even the husk of the pomegranate is squeezed for juice, so POM is very efficient in using every part of the pomegranate. I was impressed at how little goes to waste.

Every minute of this trip was unbelievable. The only thing I would have changed would be for it to have lasted longer- there was so much more to learn and so much more time I wished I could have spent with the other bloggers! It was nice to meet these fantastic people who have such an interest in health and food. Shirley explained to me all about the gluten-free philosophy, which I had known nothing about before. And I have to say that it was a lot of fun to meet the girl behind the infamous breakfast cookie, Gina, too- now I finally know how to make one.

The Harvest Tour was out of this world.

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Day Two of the POM Blogger Harvest Tour

October 21, 2009

We started off the morning bright and early with a continental breakfast at the hotel. From there, it was a long drive to the POM orchards, so we snacked on Wonderful brand pistachios along the way. The orchards were fantastic; there are 18,000 acres of pomegranate bushes alone (and yes, pomegranates grow on bushes rather than trees).

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Pomegranates as far as the eye can see

We also became very excited when we learned that there are almond and pistachio trees in the orchard too!

PA200019Almond!

Then we went up in two planes to do a fly-over. The little plane was a six-seater; the “big” plane had about 8 seats. Just for kicks, I went up in the air on both planes.

PA200050Me and Janel on the small plane

The orchards are beautiful and cover an enormous distance. The ride was very bumpy on the smaller plane too:

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After the fly-over, we ate lunch before heading back out to the orchards to learn more about pomegranates from the experts, and to pick pomegranates and do a little taste-test.

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After that, we snacked on some POMx bars (chocolate-dipped peanut butter flavour and chocolate-dipped pomegranate flavour) on the drive to Visalia, California. We did a lot of driving today, but I kind of liked that- it gave us all an opportunity to get to know each other better and learn more about everyone’s truly fascinating lives. It’s very refreshing to be surrounded by people who have an interest in health, and the other bloggers are some of the loveliest people I have ever met.

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In about an hour we’ll all be meeting up to hear Janel talk to us about nutrition. I’ve only spoken to her a few times but already it sounds as though our views on health are really similar, so I’m looking forward to it! We’ll be going to dinner later on at a nice restaurant, with a meal featuring pomegranates in every dish. Tasty.

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POM Blogger Harvest Tour: Day One!

October 20, 2009

This morning I left my apartment at 6am to make it to the airport on time. A couple of airplanes later, with a quick stopover in Denver between them, I arrived in Fresno, California!

The POM company gave each blogger (there are 15 of us in total) a temporary credit card to pay for the taxi to the hotel, and I arrived at the hotel without a hitch about four hours before we were all planning on meeting together for dinner. A lovely little POM care package was waiting for me upon my arrival: it included a big environmentally-friendly tote bag full of goodies! Inside the bag was a folder full of the Harvest Tour information as well as a POM notebook, POM pen, POM usb device (with POM info and press releases on it, as I learned after I plugged it into my laptop), a bunch of beautifully designed cards with recipes for using POM on them, and a very large diagram of “how to open a pomegranate” (clearly it takes a lot of skill. Without step-by-step instructions I’m sure I could make as much of a mess with a pomegranate as anything else in my kitchen ;)). There was also a smaller box and inside it were a POM t-shirt (my size, yay!), POM Iced Coffee, and Spiced POM Cider. And a water bottle too, which was very much appreciated after the flight.

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I decided that I should spend the next few hours exploring some of Fresno before meeting everyone, so I asked at the front desk if there was anything interesting in the area. When she mentioned a Trader Joe’s nearby I’m sure I nearly shrieked with excitement! I went for a little walk to discover Trader Joe’s and it was heaven. I ended up buying a loaf of vegan sprouted bread, Better ‘n Peanut Butter, and a Clif Z bar. I haven’t ever seen any of those items in Canada before and I always hear bloggers raving about the latter two, so I just had to try them. I ate the Clif Z bar as a pre-dinner snack and the honey graham flavour was very tasty. I’m excited to take the bread and peanut butter back home with me. Some people get excited about seeing tourist sites when they go traveling; I get excited about places like Trader Joe’s.

After my expedition to Trader Joe’s, I went out walking in the other direction and discovered that the area that of Fresno that we’re in right now consists of large box stores and even larger parking lots. But that also means that there’s a gigantic mall only about 20 minutes walking distance away. I found a lovely pair of boots and am somehow going to fit that gorgeous purchase in my bag along with my Trader Joe’s treasures to take home to Winnipeg.

Then it was time for the dinner! We went to BJ’s Brewery and because there were so many of us it was difficult to get around to talking to everyone. I spent most of the evening talking with Kristy of The Wicked Noodle and Eric of Eric Rivera’s Cooking Blog. I think I spent far more of my time laughing than eating, which is always a good sign. They are both hilarious and it was wonderful to meet with other food and health bloggers! It’s also good to be able to finally put a face to bloggers that I see all over the blogosphere, such as Heather of Heather Eats Almond Butter, Tina of Carrots ‘n Cake, and Roni of Green Lite Bites– and to meet bloggers whom I’d never know about before this occasion. And of course, as soon as the meals arrived, everyone whipped out their cameras and started snapping photos. How I do dearly love bloggers! It’s just the beginnings, I’m sure, of an immense amount of fun.

I had a lettuce wrap with Thai shrimp and some calamari to begin, followed by a massive salad with heaps of Cajun shrimp, artichoke hearts, and fire-roasted red peppers, and then finished it all off with a taste of apple crumble and a few bites of cookies with ice cream on top. Delicious! But I’m especially looking forward to tomorrow night’s dinner, which will be a specially-prepared POM affair.

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It’s time for this health blogger to crawl into bed before a busy day tomorrow of touring the orchards! I love being a part of this experience.

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Product Review: POMx Tea

October 16, 2009

Exciting Announcement

Next week I shall be away from the computer and out of business from Monday through Wednesday. Why, you ask? Because I will be in Fresno, California! Along with 14 other health bloggers, I have been invited by POM to tour the company’s orchards and juicing plant! This is POM’s first ever Blogger Harvest Tour and I am delighted to be a part of it. It includes an all-expense paid trip to California; I will be learning all about pomegranates. I am positively giddy with excitement. Upon my return I shall shower you all with new-found knowledge about pomegranates.

In the meantime, to hold you over…

POMx Tea Review

When I tried the POM juice, it didn’t top my favourites. The taste was incredibly strong and for someone who typically doesn’t drink much juice, it was just too much. I really enjoyed it in smoothies, but I couldn’t drink it straight. POM’s new iced teas, however, are a different story! They’re described on the press release as “deliciously refreshing”, and that is exactly how I would describe them. My favourite is the Light Pomegranate Wildberry White POMx Tea; I have an infatuation with white teas and this one perfectly emulates the lightness in taste.

A carton of juice can sit in my fridge for months and I won’t have any desire to touch it, but I actually found myself wanting to drink this iced tea. That is a definite sign that it has quality taste! I was happy to drink it on its own but also found that it pairs nicely with vodka (just in case you were wondering. It was solely for the purpose of research).

The nutrition stats for the Wildberry White Tea show that there’s about 70 calories and 18g sugar per one bottle. That is a high amount of sugar; however, I expect that much of it is natural sugars from fruit. Some of the sugars are added, though, as shown in the ingredient list: gentle brewed white tea (water, Superior White Peony tea leaves), POM Wonderful Pomegranate juice from concentrate, fructose, erythritol (natural sweetener), POMx (POM Wonderful Pomegranate Antioxidant Extract), blackberry juice from concentrate, natural flavours, citric acid.

Out of the other four flavours, only one other is “light”; the other three have about twice the calories and sugar per serving. The ingredient lists are all very similar. The other flavours are Pomegranate Lychee Green, Pomegranate Peach Passion White, Pomegranate Blackberry, and Light Pomegranate Hibiscus Green. Unfortunately the only two flavours that I could find at my store were the Wildberry White and the Lychee Green, and neither of these were abundant on the shelves- it looks as though they’ve been selling out fast!

Overall, I really enjoyed this new line of POMx Tea. It is a far healthier choice than other kinds of iced tea drinks that you’ll find at the grocery store. I’m not a big fan of the added sugars, but the product makes for a great treat and is super refreshing! Have you tried POMx Tea?

Have a wonderful weekend and I shall join you all once again next Friday (though I’ve got a post about my 21 Foods List and a guest post about nutrition for runners all set up for Monday and Wednesday, so be sure to check those out while I’m picking pomegranates in sunny California!).

Edited to add: It looks as though I might very well be updating my blog while I’m in California, in between looking at pomegranates. Check back daily!