Last week I jetted off to Watsonville, California for Driscoll’s University. If you haven’t heard of the University, let me explain: Every few months, Driscoll’s —producers of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries — invites small groups of customers, chefs, dietitians, and farmers to their ranch for a two-day experience where they get to see firsthand how the berries are grown. I was one of the lucky dietitians this May and learned a ton about berry nutrition, berry breeding and research, and berry harvesting. I’ll tell you all about it in an upcoming podcast, but in the meantime, I thought you might enjoy some photos from the trip as well as a recipe for Blueberry Banana Oat Bread, courtesy of Driscoll’s.
Seven RDs from around the country participated in Driscoll’s University. Pictured here are Suzanne Farrell from Cherry Creek Nutrition, Katie Cavuto Boyle from Healthy Bites, Janel Funk from the blog Eat Well with Janel, Tina Ruggiero, author of The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet, Carolyn Scott, author of The Healthy Voyager’s Global Kitchen, and yours truly. Wendy Bazilian, author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet, arrived after this photo was taken.
I have a new-found respect for what’s involved in getting a perfect strawberry from a seedling to a strawberry field to my local grocery store, and I will never complain about paying $5.oo for a pound of these juicy, sweet jewels.
We toured one of the many Driscoll’s organic berry farms and met with farmer Cristobal, who spoke about the joys and challenges of organic farming. Driscoll’s produces 60% of the organic berries in the U.S.
When I arrived home (after having eaten about 10 pounds of strawberries!) I decided to try a recipe using Driscoll’s blueberries. The recipe that follows is from Driscolls.com, and I encourage you to check out their website for more recipes, nutrition information, and info on berry production.
Blueberry Banana Oat Bread
Makes 12 Servings
Liz and I made this recipe with our intern, Josi. I loved it for a snack (and so did Leah), but you could also serve it for breakfast or as a dessert … with a dollop of low-fat frozen vanilla yogurt. The recipe is adapted from Driscolls.com.
- 1 cup low-fat buttermilk *
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup mashed ripe banana, about 2 medium
- 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1½ cups Driscoll’s Blueberries
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil or coat a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and dust lightly with flour.
2. Whisk the buttermilk, eggs, banana, sugar and oil in a large bowl until well blended. Whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda in a separate bowl. Stir the flour mixture into buttermilk mixture, mixing just until combined. Gently fold in the blueberries. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
3. Bake about 1 hour, until browned and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. If the top gets too brown before it is done, cover loosely with aluminum foil. Cool in the pan 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
Nutrition Information per Serving (1 slice): 250 calories, 8g fat (1g saturated), 240mg sodium, 42g carbohydrate, 2.5g fiber, 5g protein
* We didn’t have buttermilk on hand so subbed it out with a mixture of 1 cup 1% low-fat milk and 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and we and let it sit for 10 minutes.
When we make this again we may add a teaspoon of vanilla extract and the zest of a lemon to the batter.
Stay tuned for more berry recipes and information about growing, harvesting, and adding berries to your day.