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
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:
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.
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
The Duke Ellington Building
2121 Ward Ct., NW
Washington, DC 20037