PMA Fresh Summit Recap

I often send snaps of myself at the local produce stand and jokingly say I’m “at my happy place.” But honestly, I really do get excited when I walk into the produce market and pick out all the fresh foods that I will get to incorporate into my meal plan for the week. When NatureFresh approached me about attending the PMA Fresh Market Summit as a social media influencer I was beyond excited! I mean…c’mon, the PMA Fresh Summit is one of the largest produce conventions in the world, of course I couldn’t turn down the opportunity (even if it did mean I had to face my fear of driving on the interstate)!

Rewinddddd. So my boyfriend is always giving me a hard time about how I have made it 28 years without driving on the interstate. Technically- I made it 2 weeks short of 28 😉 and that takes dedication! But in all seriousness, interstates and traffic just don’t fend well with me. So when I decided to make the trek to Orlando, I knew this was going to be a ride for the books! Everything started out smoothly…packed up the car (as I was arriving a day early to stay with a local friend) and off I went! About 40 minutes in to my 2.5 hour drive my phone spontaneously turns off and I was unable to turn it back on. Hello anxiety. Luckily I had programmed the address into my car’s GPS. 10 minutes later…the car next to be blows a tire and there are debris flying all around my car. I tried to remain calm as my heart began to race and my hands gripped the wheel with angst. All I could think of at this time is that if I drive off the road I don’t even have a phone to call anyone! Luckily…I made it to my friend’s house (but not without a few more bumps in the road along the way) and her husband was able to fix my phone. Thanks Toby!

img_4347 (it helps when the sky looks like this!)

Finally, Friday –which means it’s time for the Summit!

img_4279

We arrive at the Orange County Convention Center only to find there is no parking in the west wing. I was unaware of the size off the convention center. We parked on the south side and had to take a shuttle to the west wing. Why would you have to shuttle from one side of a building to another you ask? Yeah, I asked the same thing…the building is literally.that.big. Anyway…. we made it! Our tickets were ready for us at registration and we eagerly entered the doors to the Expo.

img_4285

“ahhhhhhhh” Yeah, that was the sound of the angels singing as we entered the land of produce. Could it be true that I was in a room with hundreds and hundreds of companies representing the global produce and floral supply chain from supplies, producers, growers, packagers, transporters, and everything in-between.

Our first stop of course was to visit NatureFresh! I am in complete awe of this great company. Firstly, their tomatoes are AHH-mazing! Their tomberries (the smallest tomato in the world) is also in my opinion the best tomato in the world 😉 It was such a pleasure to finally meet  Kara and have the opportunity to talk with Peter, the president and founder of the company as well as Ray, the director of business development.img_4290 Standing in the middle of this great event, chatting about health and changing the world was a very memorable experience for me. It was so refreshing to be surrounded with such positive people. I am humbled by the opportunity that I was given by this company and I cannot thank them enough for inviting me to tag along! All I can say is, wow. I was thoroughly impressed. I’m excited to watch this company grow more and can’t wait until I can buy all of their goodies at my local grocery store!

 

Now it was time to explore! I have never eaten so.much.guac in.my.life. I promise. And I’m not complaining! Guac on hot dogs, guac on tacos, chips, crackers, vegetables, blueberry guac, guac.on.guac. Sign me up! I tried it all! We had everything from bloody marys, to vegetable jerky, to carnival grapes, apples, BLTs, caprese salad, kraut, chocolate covered everythinggggg, coconut water, fresh nuts, fruits, vegetables, salads, seasonings, fruit juices, fresh cider, and soooo muchhh moreee. Let’s just say- I didn’t leave with an empty stomach 😉

Five hours of exploring the land of produce until my heart was content. I met some really awesome companies that I’m excited to work with and create some yummy new recipes for y’all! Starting with these yummy breakfast tacos I made this morning! Details are linked in the picture on my Instagram!

img_4401

Goodfoods

Twang

Happy Cooking!

 

#katiescardiokitchen @kburg21 #freshsummit #pmafreshsummit

img_4351

shout out to all these yummy companies for providing me with snacks for daysssss!

Pan seared Greek style meatballs!

Growing up we didn’t eat a lot of Greek food in my house…actually, I’m not sure I had ever eaten any type of Greek food until I moved to Florida 8 years ago. And damn was I missing out!

I am a sucker for easy meals, and Mighty Spark Foods foods has all the the best prepared meats (blended with vegetables, herbs, seasonings) all ya gotta do is cook it up!

So I had a package of their turkey blend with sweet potatoes, lentils, and spinach and I decided to make a Greek bowl for lunch!

The meatballs were definitely the MFP of this quick and easy meal!

Meatball Ingredients

img_3728

That’s it! 4 easy ingredients!

First I tossed the meat, egg, and 1/2 cup panko into a bowl and mixed it up. Then I rolled them into bite size balls and rolled them in the other 1/4 cup of panko crumbs. While I was forming he meatballs I drizzled my EVOO in my cast iron skillet and let it warm up on the stove on medium.

Now toss the meatballs in the pan and roll them around until the outsides are seared all the way around. I seared mine because I like that extra crisp that the meatballs get but also because it seals all the juice! Next, toss the cast iron skillet into the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes to cook the meatballs all the way through.

While the meatballs are baking away- prepare the rest of your bowl! I sliced up some beef steak tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach and red onion and tossed them in a Greek vinaigrette. Whats Greek food without a little Tiziki though?!?! And better yet- mini StoneFire naans for dipping!

img_3743

Tiziki Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • garlic powder, salt, pepper
  • 2 tsp Greek vinaigrette
  • juice from one small lemon

Mix all the ingredients together and garnish with a little diced red onion and wahh-lahh!

Now assemble, eat and enjoy!

These are great treats to keep in the refrigerator for a snack, appetizer for a party, or you can even freeze some of them for later! They heat up almost as good as if you had just made them!

img_3937

Happy Cooking!

#katiescardiokitchen @Kburg21

 

 

The keeper of my heart- Caprese Salad!

For yearsssss, like…27.75 years to be exact, I thought I hated Caprese salad- to be honest, I’m not sure why I thought that! I have always loved cheese, and who doesn’t like mozzarella? I know I sure do! Growing up I hated tomatoes, now ketchup- that’s an entirely different story. But I totally fell in love with fresh, juicy, tomatoes a couple of years ago and there has been no turning back since! But yet- I still thought the idea of Caprese salad was just awful.

img_9574.jpg

During my recent travel to Italy, my friend Natalie suggested we share a Caprese salad…considering we were in Italy…how could I say no?! Total.Game.Changer. My first Caprese salad on the island of Capri, Italy won my heart forever. We continued our travels and ate many, many more Caprese salads all over Italy and my love only grew!

 

Then today- while picking up from fresh produce at the local produce market I saw these beautiful tomatoes-rich in color and knew exactly what I needed them for! If you’re from Florida- you know tomatoes here are just not the same as Midwestern tomatoes. Most of them are barely red and have zero flavor- I’m sure these tomatoes were shipped in from somewhere else because hot damn they were full of color and they definitely did not disappoint!

Caprese Salad for the win!

img_1383

This is what you’ll need!

Gathering the ingredients is probably more difficult than the assembly!

Slice the tomatoes into thick slices and arrange them on a plate with mozzarella in between. Then, tuck fresh basil leaves between the tomatoes and cheese slices. Next- it’s time to drizzle! Lightly drizzle the tomatoes and mozzarella with your basil oil and sprinkle with seasoning and salt! I added a spash of balsamic to mine- but next time I think I will make a balsamic reduction to drizzle!

img_1385

 

Healthy, low carb, fresh and satisfying! This salad is a great appetizer to take to parties or to serve at home while dinner is cooking! Or if you’re like me- it’s the whole meal because YUM!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! As always- tag me on instagram @kburg21 if you make it so I can see it!

#katiescardiokitchen