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Fresh Eats Refuels Summer Riders on the Met Branch

By Lindsay Martin

This July was the hottest month on record for the Washington, D.C. area! Coincidentally, it was the same month that staff from Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's national office hosted weekly healthy food demonstrations on the Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT) - providing cool respite for trail users during the sweltering temperatures.

The program was supported by funding from Kaiser Permanente to promote physical activity and healthy eating along the trail and in surrounding neighborhoods.

From 4-7 each Wednesday evening, we hosted Fresh Eats, providing no-cook snacks inspired by the trail-side garden at DC Prep school.

The school's garden coordinator, Mary Jean Crom, prepared food and beverages for trail walkers, runners and bicyclists to sample.

While passersby stopped under the tent for a snack and cold water, RTC staff answered questions about the trail, signed people up to receive emails about future trail events, and recruited volunteers for the MBT trail patrol.

Each week, a steady stream of trail users stopped by, and some came every week. One participant said,

"As someone new to bike commuting and to the trail, I appreciated the refreshments a great deal. Summers in DC are intolerably hot, and I often felt I was riding home during the hottest hours of the day. By the time I got to the tent, I was usually hot, sweaty, tired, and not sure I could make it up the final hill. The opportunity to take a break, get water and a little fuel made all the difference. It was great to meet other users of the trail also." - Helen L.

Here are recipes for two of the most popular snacks from Fresh Eats, Blueberry Salsa and (non-alcoholic) Mango Mojitos:


Blueberry Salsa


   2 cups fresh blueberries, coarsely chopped

   1 medium shallot, finely chopped

   1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

   1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped

   1 tablespoon lime juice

   1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced

   1/4 teaspoon salt


   1) Combine ingredients in a small bowl and let sit for twenty to thirty minutes for flavors to blend.

   2) Serve with tortilla chips.


Mango Mojitos


   12 tbsp lime juice

   6 tbsp agave nectar

   24 oz mango nectar

   1 liter club soda

   40 mint leaves, thinly sliced 


   1) Muddle mint, agave nectar, and lime juice.

   2) Add mango nectar and soda.

   2) Serve over ice.


RTC will be back out on the MBT, Saturday, Sept. 10 for a Day of Service, helping to keep the trail and surrounding gardens clean and safe for everyone to enjoy. Join us! It's easy - just visit our online registration page and sign up.

Photos by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Posted Fri, Aug 26 2011 8:00 AM by Jake Lynch

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
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