Meet Kelsey!

Kelsey Moss joined our team in September 2015 as a Food Rescue Driver

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How did you arrive at Lovin’ Spoonfuls?
I was looking to move to Boston, and with a background in social work I was looking into many different social service agencies. I found that many of them partnered with Lovin’. I checked out the Lovin’ website and knew I wanted to work for such a needed organization.

Describe a typical work day. How does your job differ from the average truck driver?
I’m actually writing a Driver’s Seat post about this! I have never been a normal truck driver so I don’t know exactly, but we are kind of the opposite of a driver at grocery stores. We spend our time picking up food, not dropping off. And we get the privilege of delivering to lots of small organizations. I think we probably spend a lot more time on tight neighborhood streets!

What’s the strangest/most exotic food item you’ve picked up from a vendor?
Fuzzy melon. I picked it up just a few weeks in. I had to google it to even be able to tell others what they could make with it.

What are some of your favorite tunes/radio stations that you listen to on the road?
I listen to a LOT of NPR.  A little Adele is also a good afternoon boost.

Do your friends and family consider you a good cook? Any signature recipes?
I wouldn’t say I am a particularly good cook. I have always been friends with fantastic cooks so I get to enjoy their creations and wash the dishes.

What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
Plain Greek yogurt, carrots, cheddar cheese, pepper jack cheese, string cheese, goat cheese (can you tell I am from Wisconsin?), bell peppers, eggs, milk, salsa.

What’s your favorite childhood food memory?
Well there are two things that are pretty weird about my childhood as it relates to food. One, I hated chocolate growing up. In general, I just didn’t enjoy the flavor. I was a bland food kid all the way. I’m so glad that this has not stuck with me forever! Two, we had a weird obsession with ketchup in my family. We LOVED to put it on our mac and cheese. These days, I find that thought repulsive, but I used to love it.

Has this job made you more aware of your own consumption habits? Have you made any significant changes as a result?
Yes! I am now willing to go to the store more frequently instead of stocking up and having food go bad.

What’s your favorite place/restaurant/neighborhood in Boston?
I just moved here about 6 months ago so I have only just begun exploring. I have a general rule to try not to go to the same restaurant frequently. There are so many new great places to try I don’t want to get stuck on one, so I don’t have a current favorite.

What is your motto?
Show up, be present, and try your best to be kind.

Who are your heroes?
There are too many to name. I am inspired by the many people in my life who take risks to pursue their dreams. They take a new job in the field they always wanted to explore but didn’t think they had a chance. They go back to school years later to pursue a new line of work that they thought they had missed the boat on. My heroes are my friends and family who decide to just go for it, as crazy as their life or idea my be. Those people inspire me to take risks in my own life and I always want to be a risk taker.

Meet Cathy!

Cathy Pedtke joined our team in November 2015 as a Food Rescue Driver

How did you arrive at Lovin’ Spoonfuls?
In the usual roundabout way! After working several jobs in the Boston food industry, none of them quite ringing true to my goals, I started working less and volunteering more. Volunteering with the Boston Area Gleaners and with the Medford Community Cupboard, I realized I enjoyed my volunteer work far more than my actual employment. I started asking around and applying to jobs in the realm of food rescue, and found that Lovin’ Spoonfuls came highly recommended. As luck would have it, they were also hiring, so here I am.

Describe a typical work day. 
On a typical workday, I visit 5 or 6 different stores to pick up donated food: I talk to the receivers at most stores, and often to people in each individual department as I collect food from them. I always like to check in, and also check the food that’s being donated to make sure it meets our standards (basically, is it safe and edible). Then I’ll visit 4 or 5 different beneficiaries to drop off the food- these can be shelters, soup kitchens, food pantries, or many other organizations that need food for their clients. While the basic system may be similar to that of an average truck driver, my interactions throughout the day are very different: for the most part, everyone’s always happy to see me. The stores are grateful to have an outlet for food that would’ve been thrown away, and appreciate the idea of reducing waste and helping those in need at the same time. The beneficiaries are also always happy to see me and grateful for what I bring them. I often feel like I get undue credit just for being the middleman, but it’s very satisfying to see both ends of the system and be the one to bridge the gap.

What’s the strangest/most exotic food item you’ve seen out on the road?
I’ve gotten a box of jicama, which I had to explain to the chef at one of our beneficiary kitchens how to use, and the different things she could make with it that people might like. Sometimes we get Cherimoya, which is a fruit I’ve never tasted. I’m going to buy one and try it out so that I can tell people about it next time. I’ve also gotten whole ducks and geese, pigs’ feet and spines, and bison steaks!

What are some of your favorite tunes/radio stations that you listen to on the road?
NPR is always my default, but I also like listening to Gary Clark Jr. it’s great driving music, upbeat but relaxing at the same time, and always puts me in a good mood. If I’m feeling a little sluggish and need energizing, that’s when I turn to a mix of Santigold and M.I.A. For days with longer drives I listen to 99% Invisible podcasts or audio books.

Do your friends and family consider you a good cook? Any signature recipes?
I went to culinary school, so my friends and family tend to get a little intimidated by my cooking skills. Mom still doesn’t believe that I love her cooking the most, but I do. When I cook, I never follow recipes, so if I come up with something really good, it’s hard to replicate exactly. Even the dishes I make often are a little different each time.

What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
Winter vegetables (carrots, parsnips, squash) that were rescued leftovers from local farms, cheeses from Formaggio Kitchen, and lots of homemade condiments- kimchi, beer mustard, cider mustard, orange marmalade, strawberry preserves, pickled radish relish, General Tao’s sauce… All in canning jars. And milk. There’s always milk.

What’s your favorite childhood food memory?
This may seem strange, but my favorite childhood food memory is when my younger sister and I made ourselves sick on strawberries. Our whole family had gone out strawberry picking, and we had quarts and quarts of strawberries. Mom was going to make jam, but she had to go to the store, so my sister and I got left alone with the strawberries. We just ate so many that she got terribly sick, and I had to take care of her until Mom got back, and then I got sick as well. I think it was a real bonding experience, and I felt very grown up for taking care of my sister even when I was sick too. And we both still love strawberries!

Has this job made you more aware of your own consumption habits? Have you made any significant changes as a result?
I’d like to think that the reverse is true: my own consumption habits led me to this job. I’ve always worked in some facet of the food industry, in restaurants or catering or food retail, and I’ve always been the one to rescue food from the garbage and take it home with me. Many times I’d end up eating things I didn’t really want or enjoy, just because I couldn’t bear to see them go to waste (I did enjoy the creative challenge- what do you do with 15lbs of extra rutabaga? Two-day-old bread?). Some of my coworkers would even tease me about the stuff I’d save to take home. I would save the end stubs of salami and other meats that we’d slice at work, and chop them up for soups or stews, and pretty soon my coworkers would be asking me before throwing anything away – “are you sure you don’t want this moldy slice of bread? You couldn’t put it in a soup or something?” Now that I actually work rescuing food, and don’t bring leftovers home with me, I’ve had to start buying more groceries, so I think I eat healthier now than I have before.

What’s your favorite place/restaurant/neighborhood in Boston?
Chinatown! I go to Hing Shing Pastry and buy one of everything, and the total ends up being under $10. I especially love the fried sesame balls with red bean filling, and the flaky beef and curry pies. You can take your snacks out to the park and watch the intense games of mahjong and cards being played. Then you go down the street to My Thai Vegan Café and sit upstairs among the big tropical plants and watch the city bustle by below you while sipping slushy bubble teas. It’s like having a secret jungle treehouse in the middle of the city.

What is your motto?
“Use it up and wear it out, make it do or do without.” It’s something my mom said that my grandfather used to say, and it’s just stuck with me. Whenever I start to get caught up in all the things I “need” that are really just things I want, I remind myself that I’m always happier spending my money on new experiences rather than new stuff.

Who are your heroes?
That’s a tough one. Among modern celebrities, I’ve always admired Alice Waters and Dan Barber for the overall concepts of food that they’ve built and popularized, and how they moved beyond being chefs and restaurateurs to being educators and champions of food on a wider scale. On a personal level, my parents will always be top of the list for the uncommon path they chose for their children (we were all homeschooled), and how great that experience was for me. For a historical role model, Leonardo Da Vinci has always been my hero. He was so far advanced and so creative for the era he lived in, and so self-aware and observant, that part of me has always wanted to be a Renaissance woman and fill notebooks with my discoveries and dreams and wild inventions.

The Ultimate Ultimate Tailgate Party

As we gather with friends and family this week in the spirit of gratitude, I am thrilled to report that the 2015 Ultimate Tailgate Party was our most successful fundraiser yet. Your support helped us raise more than $200,000! Every dollar raised directly funds our most critical needs, allowing us to stay on the road, rescuing and distributing more than 1 million pounds of fresh, healthy food each year. Bravo to EVERYONE!

On Sunday evening the Tailgate was reinvented in the Black Falcon Terminal at Boston’s Cruiseport with incredible music, fabulous food, one of a kind auction items, and the ‘Swoon Booth‘! Our Platinum Sponsor for the event was Whole Foods Market, and we thank them deeply for their support – and our incredible partnership. We also welcomed additional sponsors Dorothy Puhy, The John W. Henry Family Foundation,Rocket Software, KPMG,PwCPeterson Party CenterMS Walker, Bombay Sapphire, and Peak Organic!  We also had a record number of volunteers this year, all of whom were amazing and spirited – we thank you all.

The event was chaired by Andy & Mariann Youniss of Wellesley. Andy is the CEO of Rocket Software, and sits on our Board of Directors – but swears he is best known for being Mariann’s husband. This dynamic duo corralled an absolutely fabulous group of committed and passionate hosts, and we thank them for their absolutely incredible work putting the evening together! Andy welcomed everyone and implored us all to ‘make it personal’ – and get involved. Our COO, Lauren Palumbo, gave an operational update that was both inspiring and truly exciting, as there were many in attendance who have been supporting us since the very beginning. With more than 3 MILLION pounds of food rescued and distributed, there’s much going on here at LS – and much more to come!

Our VIP celebration honored the tremendous Andrew Zimmern for his contributions to our organization, with theThomas M. Menino Award for Leadership. I was honored to present him with this year’s recognition:

“We honor our friend and late Mayor’s life and legacy with this award. It recognizes those who hold the same ideals that he did – ideals that connect service, community and food. Tonight’s winner also sees food as a powerful tool for social justice, one that unites and connects people all over the world. Andrew perhaps has the broadest perspective the global food community has ever seen – having traveled everywhere, he finds the stories that matter, and tells them with honor, dignity and truth.

His incredible platform includes television, books, radio and of course social media – and he uses each channel to promote and champion equality, justice, and humanity. He honors people, and he honors food – and the powerful connection between the two. Along with Joanne & Christopher, he is one of our founding culinary panel members – someone who from the very beginning advised, supported and championed Lovin’ Spoonfuls.” 

It was an absolutely wonderful part of the evening, and AZ (as he’s affectionately called) gave an emotional and extremely personal acceptance speech – spurring all in attendance to congratulate him and learn more about Lovin’ Spoonfuls.

We were lucky enough to have Filmmaker Jon Mercer produce this incredible tribute piece to Andrew, with cameos from Jamie Bissonnette, and our friends at Food & Wine Magazine!

Josh Smith of Moody’s & New England Charcuterie, along with the fabulous Wasik brothers feted VIP guests with an incredible spread of specialty cheese and charcuterie. We were thrilled to welcome Jeremy from MV Spearpoint Oysters, shucking especially for this event! MS Walker outfitted our entire event with bubbles from Brut Dargent, Contour Pinot Noir, and Brandl Gruner Veltliner. Offsite poured the old-favorite Jack Rose cocktail, Bombay Sapphire served up an array of signature gin libations! Our favorite brewery, Peak Organic poured 5 different delicious seasonal brews.

Lovin’ Spoonfuls is fortunate to have had the support of the restaurant community from day one, but looking around our new venue, I was overcome with emotion…25 of the most amazing and generous chefs in the area, came out to support our work and feed our guests – which in turn, keeps us on the road and feeding our community. It’s no secret that chefs and restaurateurs are the unsung heroes of charity – any event, any ’cause’ – these folks are the first to always say yes. And here at LS, we are so proud to be supported by so many incredible people. Longtime supporters Myers + ChangTavern Road, Puritan & Co.Nebo, Mei Mei Street KitchenSweet Cheeks, Toro, Fazenda Coffee, and so many more friends of the organization were joined by many new supporters, making for one delicious evening! Just look at this AMAZING restaurant community!

TJ Connelly kept us moving all night with the perfect Tailgating music! During the live auction, AZ moderated a bidding war over a signed Tom Brady jersey – and in only 20 minutes raised over $50,000!

Each truck we put on the road rescues 350,000 lbs of fresh, healthy food each year – and we keep them on the road with your support. Follow along on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook as we post photos from the party in the coming days. If you couldn’t attend, or would like to support our work and learn more about what we do and why, visit us here.

I wish you all a happy, healthy and peaceful Thanksgiving!

Ashley Stanley & the team at Lovin’ Spoonfuls

from the driver’s seat: emma’s environmental impact

This Driver’s Seat post is from Emma Dismukes, a driver who joined our team in March 2015.

I joined the Lovin’ Spoonfuls team almost 8 months ago in an effort to help alleviate and spread awareness of the effects of food waste on the environment. The food that I help reroute to people in need would have otherwise been tossed into a dumpster and sent to a landfill or waste combustion facility, resulting in avoidable and excessive greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Every day I spend on the road makes an impact!


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Look at that beautiful produce! Who would want to throw that in a dumpster?

I decided to look into some of the details of the environmental benefits of food rescue and want to share my results with you! I used an average day on the road to glean some fun facts.

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Hi Latoya! This is the truck I drive.

This particular day I stopped at seven of our vender locations to make collections and hauled a total of 1,084 pounds of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other produce and an additional 195 pounds of fresh breads. Thanks to the EPA Waste Reduction Model (WARM) I learned some great things about my ONE day on the road. My small effort deferred 1 Ton of CO2 equivalent Greenhouse Gas emissions; comparable amounts incurred from burning 78 gallons of gasoline. I also helped save 3 million British thermal units of energy; the same as using 26 gallons of gasoline.  That’s a total of 104 gallons – and I drive our smallest capacity truck! Four Trucks on the road five days of the week adds up to some pretty amazing benefits for the environment.

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Happy apple season! These boxes of apples will find a home much better than the landfill now.

Calculations done using – http://www3.epa.gov/warm/index.html

Meet Angela!

Angela Haynes joined our team in late 2014 as Development Director. 

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How did you arrive at Lovin’ Spoonfuls?
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to work with a nonprofit focused on nutrition and healthy food preparation for children who were food-insecure. It was a huge awakening for me – prior to that experience I hadn’t truly realized the connection between those struggling with food insecurity, and the ability to have access to healthy, fresh food. When I was introduced to Lovin’ Spoonfuls, the concept seemed like a perfect solution to an incredible problem and I knew that I wanted to help the team in whatever capacity I could.

Describe a typical work day. 
Our work is amazing, we have the ability to impact so many people’s lives, but that does not come without costs. It is my job to find and secure funding to allow us to be able to rescue more food, and impact even more food-insecure families. On an average day I am researching and writing grants, planning our fundraising events, and working with donors. I am proud because I know that everything I do is furthering our ability to make a bigger impact.

What’s the strangest/most exotic food item you’ve seen out on the road?
My first week on the job, I had the opportunity to haul with each of our drivers. It was truly eye-opening in the fact that I had not realized just how MUCH healthy, beautiful food would simply being going to waste if we were not picking it up and delivering it to those who need it. The most interesting piece we picked up was a Cherimoya from Trader Joe’s. I had never seen one before, but it caused me to research it post haul. It’s a great source of vitamin B6, C & dietary fiber, is eaten raw, in salsas and can be cooked in a variety of ways.

Do your friends and family consider you a good cook? Any signature recipes?
I’m not a great cook, but I am learning. The items I cook best tend to be Italian dishes. My signature recipes are lasagna and homemade tomato sauce, which have been passed down for generations. People also enjoy my chili recipe, veggie mac & cheese, and lemon spinach soup.

What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
Right now my fridge is pretty empty, but the basics that I always have on hand are eggs, feta cheese, spinach, apples, cucumbers and sparkling water.

What’s your favorite childhood food memory?
Every fall we would go apple picking, and we would get one bag of apples from trees, but we would also get a bushel of “drops.” These are apples that fell off the tree, or people dropped. My mom would always say, “They are just as good as what is on the tree – why let them go to waste?” When we would get home, my Gram and aunt would be waiting for us. Together the whole family would start an apple pie assembly line, and make apple pies to give to neighbors, friends, family, and of course freeze several for the holidays. It was a time where we could catch up and cook together.

Has this job made you more aware of your own consumption habits? Have you made any significant changes as a result?
After working at Loivn’ Spoonfuls , I’ve realized that my experience with a variety of foods is actually quite limited. Since I have started working here, I have been trying new foods, and enjoying it. I no longer avoid something because it looks different or I don’t know how to cook it. Now I find myself looking up recipes, and finding new ways to cook food and leftovers. This past fall I made spaghetti squash for the first time and it was delicious!

What’s your favorite place/restaurant/neighborhood in Boston?
My favorite spot of all time in Boston is the Charles River, but I also enjoy the Elizabeth Kennedy Greenway, the Emerald Necklace and the Public Gardens. There are so many wonderful places to eat in Boston, I can’t pick just one.

What is your motto?
I don’t have a single motto, but I really appreciate Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi’s quote “We must become the change we wish to see in the world.”

Who are your heroes?
There are so many people who inspire me, but my mom and grandmother are two of the strongest women I know. Both have faced incredible life challenges, head on with a smile and gratitude.

from the driver’s seat: my top 5 moments!

Hi Folks! Spencer here, and now that I’ve been at Lovin’ Spoonfuls nearly two years, I want to share with you some of my best moments so far!

1 – “The Charlestown Turkey Toss”

Back in 2013, a few days before my first Thanksgiving with Spoonfuls, my fellow driver Bob Burton and I got to deliver 125 turkeys Whole Foods had donated to Harvest on Vine, a wonderful Charlestown food pantry. But we had to get them all on and off the truck somehow, so we decided that tossing the turkeys was the best (and most fun) way. Knowing that hundreds of people in need were going to be able to have turkey dinners that holiday gave us all a wonderful feeling, and we got a good workout doing it!

 

 

Wellesley2 – Celebrating the Marathon with Whole Foods!
Whole Foods in Wellesley has a loading dock that is on the Boston Marathon route, so we weren’t able to make a collection on the day of the race last year. Being the first marathon since 2013, everyone tried to bring as much positivity to the day as they could. And what an amazing day it turned out to be! Adding to what makes our community so awesome, WF had over a ton of food for us to collect the next day! That food went a long way to helping families in need.

 

 

 

48003 – 4800 pounds in twelve hours? RECORD!!
Sarah had been with the company for just a few weeks when she and I hit the road together for the first time. For some reason, everyone had huge collections that day, and we had to do a night haul at the Dewey Square Farmer’s Market as well. I really was hoping she wouldn’t get scared away by having to haul that much in one day, and I’m happy to say that we pulled it off just fine! She’s been on the team over a year now, and we’re so grateful to have her.

 

 

 

pru4 – The Prudential Center lights up in blue and red in honor of Lovin’ Spoonfuls as part of “31 Nights of Light”
Each December, The Prudential Center honors non-profits in the area by lighting up in their colors for one night during the holiday season. We were lucky to be on that list, and I was able to spend a few hours at The Pru with the team, talking to shoppers and passers-by about what we do, alongside our pals from SWEET who brought delicious cupcakes for everyone! As I was walking home, I got to see that staple of the Boston skyline lit up in honor of an organization that I believe in, and of which I’m proud to be a part. What a beautiful sight! Also, I love cupcakes.

 

 

spencer5 – I have the best job in the world.
While I was trying to put together this list, it kept occurring to me that the individual instances are great, but the really wonderful thing is being able to bring healthy, nutritious food to those in need on a daily basis, while working with some of the most wonderful people in the world; in other words, just doing my job. So many people, not only at Lovin’ Spoonfuls, but at all of the agencies we work with have become a beautiful part of my life. There are the people at Trader Joe’s in Needham, Whole Foods in Wellesley, Hannaford in Waltham, Catholic Charities in Dorchester, The Boston Rescue Mission, The Sojourner House in Roxbury… the list goes on and on. I get to see these people every week and thank them for their involvement in this cause! I’m blessed to do what I do.

Lovin’ launches the Young Friends of Lovin’ Spoonfuls!

 

The Young Friends of Lovin’ Spoonfuls is an accessible, dynamic, membership-based philanthropy group for professionals in their 20s, 30s and early 40s committed to supporting the Lovin’ Spoonfuls mission.

Lovin’ Spoonfuls is committed to facilitating the rescue and distribution of healthy, fresh food that would otherwise be discarded. Lovin’ Spoonfuls works efficiently to deliver this food directly to the community organizations and resources where it can have the greatest impact. Lovin’ Spoonfuls is committed to addressing the health, environmental, and economic impact that food waste has on our community.

Young Friends of Lovin’ Spoonfuls members are invited to attend a variety of exclusive Young Friends of Lovin’ Spoonfuls events throughout the year. Additionally, YFLS members are entitled to the following privileges:

  • Pre-sale access and specially priced ticketing for signature events
  • Lovin’ Spoonfuls will assist members who wish to host fundraisers and plan their own networking events
  • Recognition through various channels for contributions, including event programs and on Lovin’s website
  • Young Friends of Lovin’ Spoonfuls enjoy multiple opportunities to connect with other philanthropically-minded young people who are passionate about food justice

For more information on membership levels, the leadership committee or sponsoring Young Friends of Lovin’ Spoonfuls, please contact Angela Haynes, Development Director at angela@lovinspoonfulsinc.org.

Lovin’ Spoonfuls Joins the EPA Food Recovery Challenge!

As a food rescue agency, Lovin’ Spoonfuls is pleased to join the EPA in supporting the Food Recovery Challenge as an Endorser. The Food Recovery Challenge (FRC) is part of EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Program, which seeks to reduce the environmental impact of materials through their entire life cycle, including how they are extracted, manufactured, distributed, used, reused, recycled, and disposed. Through the FRC, the EPA is partnering with organizations and businesses to prevent and reduce wasted food. Challenge participants save money, help communities, and protect the environment by purchasing less, donating extra food, and composting.

Many of our vendor partners – where we collect excess food – are already participants, including Hannaford Supermarkets and Whole Foods Market locations. By participating, they are able to track data on their food recovery efforts, receive a potential cost savings (via waste removal costs, tax deductions), make a positive impact on the local environment (by reducing methane in landfills), make a positive impact on the community, and provide a positive staff motivator.

As an Endorser, we are encouraging our other vendor partners to join the EPA’s efforts by participating in the Food Recovery Challenge. Participants receive national & regional recognition, as well as technical assistance from the EPA.

For more information about the Food Recovery Challenge, click here.

From the Driver’s Seat: 10 Incredible Foods You See on the Road

From the Driver’s Seat is a new series of posts from our team on the road. This first post is from Sarah.

Food rescue is like a box of… PRODUCE. You never know what you’re going to get. And every day on the road is different!

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10. “Buddha’s Hand”  this slightly intimidating citrus is native to Japan. It can be used for decoration, fragrance, and religious ritual, but is also edible and very lemon-like! You might have seen it when it has shown up in the Chopped mystery baskets!

When I collected these last fall, I wasn’t sure what to make of them. But I knew that the clients at the East End House in Cambridge would know what to do with it. I heard back later from Elizabeth, the pantry manager, that several clients knew exactly what it was, what to do with it, and were thrilled to see it at their weekly pantry distribution.

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9. So. Many. Peppers. (Taste the rainbow!)

photoPurple peppers, these beautiful peppers with minor cosmetic imperfections were collected at day’s end at the Dewey Square Farmer’s Market.

 

 

 

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Jalapeños

 

 

 

 

 

photo (1)Bell peppers: because of the way our food system is globalized, peppers are available in grocery stores year-round, even during New England winter storms

 

 

 

 

 

photo (2) Tomatillos: not technically a “pepper”, but they ARE part of the nightshade family (like peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes).  They are a key ingredient in Mexican cuisine (used for green sauces), and the papery husk that surrounds them is edible!


 

 

 

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8. Mushrooms

Sure, you could say we’re a different kind of forager. It’s sometimes surprising to see vegetables swimming together in a box haphazardly, instead of neatly encased in shrink wrapped containers. YEAH RIGHT! Actually, pretty much all fruits and vegetables are stored this way, from the time they leave the earth until they reach the store.

Although many recipes call for very particular varieties of whole foods, substitutions of same type foods can put a creative spin on old favorites. These aren’t your typical button mushrooms or shiitakes, but I bet they would taste great in a pasta sauce or salad all the same!

 

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7. Other fungus

We do NOT recommend these for sauces.

I know some of you think what’s considered excess is rotten, moldy food. But actually, this is a rare sight on the road. Our system encourages and trains produce managers to plan a step ahead, AVOIDING food turning too quickly. We rescue according to a daily, consistent schedule and work with store departments to ensure that all usable food gets culled, rescued and up-cycled. Rescue arrived just a little too late to save this coconut from compost.

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6. Kale

Kale and other leafy greens are usually deemed unsaleable when they’ve lost a little bit of of their firm crunch. This kale might not be the right texture for a salad, but it would still be a delicious and nutritious addition to any hot dish. Like mushrooms, kale and other leafy greens are easy to substitute for one another in basic, whole food recipes.

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5. Produce grown in Immokalee, FL.

Immokalee, an unincorporated area near Tampa, Florida, is a major agricultural center for US produce. Immokalee is famous for the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) …”a worker-based human rights organization internationally recognized for its achievements in the fields of social responsibility, human trafficking, and gender-based violence at work.” These cucumbers came to us through one of our distribution center partners, and were possibly grown and harvested by pickers involved with the Clinton-Initiative recognized organization. Read more about Immokalee here. The food that we eat passes through so many hands, and so many of us, from pickers to rescuers, are doing the work to create direct access.

 

photo 2 (2)4. Corn

This corn (rescued after the Farmer’s Market at Dewey Square, Summer ‘14) was grown so close to home, it probably never left New England in all of its travels, from field to market to our truck. We could bend your ear all day long about New England corn… so sweet and delicious! Yup, we so corny.

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3. Donuts with bacon

While our focus is on whole ingredients like produce, we sometimes rescue prepared foods and desserts, too! These treats from our partners at artisan bakers Union Square Donuts were picked up and distributed, without ANY of our drivers sneaking one…because, donuts and bacon.

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2. Heirloom tomatoes

Tomatoes like this are highly seasonal, and widely revered for their taste and unique appearance. Because of the growing patterns and so many different varieties available, we rescue literally tons of tomatoes during the season. “Heirloom” alludes to their status as breed cultivars , but does not suggest that these tomatoes are any less specifically bred for consumption and sale. Regardless of the mysterious evolutionary history about these tomatoes, as long as they are edible, there will be creative cooks who know how to prepare them, and endless options for different preparations. Even the squishiest, most bruised fruits find their way into juicy sauces, soups and stews. Is it summer yet?

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1. Produce so farm fresh it still has slugs on it!

Food doesn’t necessarily need to be nearing the end of its shelf life to get slated for the compost bin. These peppers were offered for rescue because there were more than could be sold. Judging by their appearance and the company they keep, these vegetables were in the ground a few hours before this photo was taken.

 

 

Meet Rachel!

Rachel joined our team as a driver in the summer of 2014, get to know her more here!

Rachel Garside

How did you arrive at Lovin’ Spoonfuls?
I have worked for a non profit for the majority of my professional life in the area of animal medical care.  Always being a passionate animal welfare advocate, I learned quickly the current state of our food system and it’s flaws with abundance and need.  Having volunteered with various relevant non profits, my Lovin’ Spoonfuls connection came naturally and was the perfect organization for a career transition and luckily for me, they were hiring.

Describe a typical work day. How does your job differ from the average truck driver?
As you may guess, I do a lot of driving in and outside of Boston.  My day is very unique in that I am regularly interacting with donors and beneficiaries, rewarding on both fronts since all involved have something to gain.  Along with the active connection Lovin’ Spoonfuls literally makes everyday by bringing food to communities in need, there is a daily fulfillment of serving people of Boston in need.  Also, my driving skills have improved immensely since joining the team!

What’s the strangest/most exotic food item you’ve picked up from a vendor?
The most exotic food I found were red bananas, which are a type of banana with reddish skin. They are smaller and plumper than the common banana. They are also softer and sweeter than the yellow varieties, with a slight raspberry flavor. Being a bit of a culinary guru this was the first time I had seen these and was intrigued.

What are some of your favorite tunes/radio stations that you listen to on the road?
Truth be told, I mostly listen to NPR because I am a major nerd, and its easier to listen to current events versus read them. In addition, I love Sugarland and the D-Chicks for some good sing alongs, classic rock bluegrass, and classical if the mood strikes.

Do your friends and family consider you a good cook? Any signature recipes?
Yes, or at least I hope so. Being vegan, I am almost always looking for new exciting recipes that taste great for everyone. Having to make lots of substitutions it has taken much practice to create successful dishes for both vegetarians and carnivores, but I feel as though I have come close to mastering vegan cuisine. I’ve been told I make a killer vegan chili and chocolate chip cookies.

What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
Always kale and arugula along with many other veggies. Homemade hummus, mushroom soup, fresh juice, cashew milk, and some organic white wine.

What’s your favorite childhood food memory?
Growing up in a large family and being the youngest of eight, food was a bit of a competition at home and waste was almost non existent. I loved having spaghetti night, pasta is my weakness. Having a lobsterman for a father, we often had lots of shellfish and seafood, I was lucky in that sense.

Has this job made you more aware of your own consumption habits? Have you made any significant changes as a result?
This job has absolutely changed my consumption habits. Coming into Lovin’ Spoonfuls with general food insecurity and food waste knowledge was certainly a starting point, but actually seeing the excess and working with this issue daily was even more eye opening. I am often thinking of ways to reduce waste in my own life and reducing my carbon footprint. I like to think I have a positive impact on friends and family to motivate similar lifestyle adjustments as I lead by example.

What’s your favorite place/restaurant/neighborhood in Boston?
Growing up and living in Dorchester the majority of my life, I am loyal and have to admit it is my favorite neighborhood. It is a very diverse area of the city bringing together many cultures with lots of great potential and has great neighborhoods and supportive communities. There has also been a lift in the restaurant culture over the past ten years, among my favorites are Dot 2 Dot cafe, and Savin Bar and Kitchen. A shout out to JP is in order, since it is a close second with a great Ethiopian joint called the Blue Nile.

What is your motto?
Dress for the weather, and take it one day at a time. SImple but important for my sanity.

Who are your heroes?
Needless to say my family, in particular my sister Kimberly. I also have great respect for educators, animal and environmental advocates, and active and motivated policy makers who work towards repairing our food system. In addition, anyone willing to open themselves up to learn about our mission and food excess and insecurity.

Whole Foods South End Joins the Lovin’ Spoonfuls Network!

We are so excited for this Friday! Not because it’s Friday, but because it’s the day Whole Foods Market South End opens! We are thrilled to welcome this new location of Whole Foods to our network of vendors donating fresh, healthy, perishable foods to Lovin’ Spoonfuls. The new South End location is close to many agencies we already support, like Pine Street Inn, Paraclete, and others, and the additional product from the store will allow us to add even more beneficiary agencies to our network. We look forward to a long-lasting partnership with the newest Whole Foods location! Pay them a visit this weekend, they open Friday morning!

 

All the ways you can support Lovin’ Spoonfuls this holiday season!

The holiday season is here! This year, there are a number of ways you can support Lovin’ Spoonfuls as you get in the holiday spirit. You can cast a vote for Lovin’ Spoonfuls in Eventbrite’s “Do Right, Be Brite” campaign, which could help us win up to $2,500.

Or join us on Sunday, December 7th at the Prudential Center as we flip the switch for 31 Nights of Light! The building will light up red and blue in support of Lovin’ Spoonfuls at 5pm. We’ll be inside the Prudential Center from 4-6pm with treats for kids and adults alike! Join us!

As you do your holiday shopping, don’t forget to use AmazonSmile for any Amazon.com orders. By following this link, a portion of all purchases made will be donated to Lovin’ Spoonfuls!

Of course, a donation in someone’s name is always a great holiday gift. You can donate to Lovin’ Spoonfuls at any time of the year here.

Best wishes to you from the Lovin’ Spoonfuls team for a joyful holiday season!

thanksGIVING at Merrill & Co.

Last night, Lovin’ Spoonfuls and Merrill & Co. presented ThanksGIVING, a holiday themed event which raised funds for our turkey distribution to support Boston Medical Center’s food pantry. As our community partners’ needs continue to skyrocket each year, unfortunately their resources and aid continues to shrink – and we at Lovin’ Spoonfuls find ourselves in a unique position to help facilitate direct distribution of holiday turkeys to families who utilize BMC’s food assistance. Along with the support of Boston’s incredible restaurant industry, and our wonderful hosts at Merrill & Co., over $2,500 was raised over a southern-tinged Thanksgiving style meal, with all of the fixin’s! Peak Organic brewery offered delicious Pale Ale, and bar manager Kevin Mabry created a sherry cobbler cocktail, perfect for the season. Thanks to all for such a fun evening!

Note from our Executive Director…

Hello Friends & Supporters,

It’s with great pride that we celebrate an incredibly successful Ultimate Tailgate Party, 2014! Your support raised over $135,000! We welcomed over 300 on the waterfront at Sam’s, and gathered in a gorgeous tent with incredible music, fabulous food, one of a kind auction items and the ‘Swoon Booth‘! Dorothy Puhy, The John W. Henry Family Foundation, Bank of America, Peterson Party Center, Winston Flowers, MS Walker, ProForma, and Peak Organic all sponsored our event with generosity, enthusiasm and cheer. Our volunteers were amazing and spirited – we thank you all.

During the sold-out VIP celebration upstairs at Sam’s, we were proud to present the first ever, Thomas M. Menino Award for Service – to legendary restaurateurs, and founding members of our esteemed Culinary Panel – Christopher Myers and Joanne Chang.

“With heavy hearts, we proudly introduce the Thomas M. Menino Award. Our late Mayor was not only a relentless advocate of our work, he was a true friend – and a dependable presence within our organization. As our Guest of Honor last year, he spoke of his affinity for food – and how proud he was of Boston’s incredible restaurant community. He recognized food as a tool for social justice, and believed in access for all. Mayor Menino had supported Lovin’ Spoonfuls since our very first event, our launch party at Myers + Chang. Coincidentally, it was Christopher Myers + Joanne Chang who introduced him to our work. Going forward, we honor both his life and legacy with this award – which will serve to recognize those who hold the same ideals that connect service, community and food. Fittingly, tonight we celebrate the idea that food creates community – and all who cultivate it. We are deeply proud to honor Christopher + Joanne with the first ever Thomas M. Menino Award.”

Josh Smith of Moody’s & New England Charcuterie, along with the fabulous Wasik brothers feted VIP guests with an incredible spread of specialty cheeses and charcuterie. MS Walker outfitted our entire event with bubbles from Simonnet-Febvre, and selections from MSW’s own private label wines, Harbor Town & inspired. Downstairs in the tent, Offsite was shaking incredible Ward 8 cocktails, and serving up a crowd favorite – Negronis on tap. Peak Organic was our featured brewery, not only pouring delicious seasonal brews, but their co-Founder Rob Lucente, also emceed our evening’s program – raising over $30,000 during the live auction!

Lovin’ Spoonfuls is fortunate to have had the support of the restaurant community from day one- but looking around the tent, I was overcome with pride…20 of the most amazing and generous chefs in our city, came out to support our work and fed our guests – which in turn, keeps us on the road and feeding our community. It’s no secret that chefs and restauranteurs are the unsung heroes of charity – any event, any ’cause’ – these folks are the first to always say yes. And here at LS, we are so proud to be supported by so many incredible people. Longtime supporters Louis DiBiccari, Will Gilson, Asia Mei, Karen Akunowicz, Colin Lynch and Christine & Carla Palotta were back on hand with amazing dishes. We were thrilled to welcome Tiffani Faison, Matthew Gaudet, Steve ‘Nookie” Postal, Daniel Bojorquez (who previewed La Brasa last year!), Mei Mei Street Kitchen, Jason Cheek, Keith Pooler & Jason Albus. And of course, we were proud to have our remarkable Culinary Panel represented – Joanne Chang, Christopher Myers, Jamie Bissonnette & Michael Scelfo.

 

My deepest thanks to Joe Fallon, Esti + Drew Parsons, TJ Connelly, and to our good friends Marjorie Clapprood and Chris Spinazzola – for their time, support and creative vision for this year’s Tailgate! We had a blast working with everyone, and are proud to have the support of this incredible community. Each truck we put on the road rescues 250,000 lbs of fresh, healthy food each year – and we keep them on the road with your support. This event raised over $135,000 for our work – and we are truly grateful. Follow along on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook as we post photos from the party in the coming days. If you couldn’t attend, or would like to support our work and learn more about what we do and why, visit us here.

With gratitude,

Ashley Stanley & the team at Lovin’ Spoonfuls

Lovin’ Spoonfuls launches Plenty!

Last week was the beginning of a brand new program for Lovin’ Spoonfuls.

We have become quite successful at accomplishing the first part of our mission. We now work with 50+ grocers, wholesalers, and other food vendors to rescue food that would otherwise go to waste. It’s the second part of the equation that we are looking to address now.  Once we make our daily or weekly deliveries, we leave the fate of the food in the hands of our beneficiary partners. The agencies we partner with work tirelessly to make the lives of their neighbors better, and happily work with us to provide these same people, who tend not to have access, with healthy, fresh food.

Suzi’s Kale, Squash, Sweet Potato Gratin

But we can do more! Our new educational programming, funded by BNY Mellon / The Alice P. Chase Trust, sets out to provide those who receive our food with the tools they need to use it effectively. We want to avoid food waste at each step of the process, including its final destination, which we hope, is on someone’s plate.

Last week we kicked off this programming with two cooking workshops with the help of two of our amazing friends. Suzi Maitland, the Executive Chef at Trina’s Starlite Lounge and Audubon, demonstrated a dish using kale, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash at the Brookline Food Pantry. Everyone wanted a second sample!  Guests left with new tips for how to incorporate these nutritious foods into their cooking.

Karen Akunowicz, Chef at Myers + Chang, demonstrated a dish using cauliflower, kabocha squash, and spaghetti squash for culinary training students at Community Servings. The intimate setting allowed the students to try their hand at knife skills and discuss the techniques demonstrated.  The dish was also incredibly delicious!

Karen teaching the students about winter squash varieties

Meet Sarah!

Sarah joined our team as a driver in the late spring of this year, get to know her more here!

Sarah Garrett

How did you arrive at Lovin’ Spoonfuls?
I was educated as an anthropologist, and I’ve always been deeply interested in the material circumstances of life cross-culturally;  how people live and what they make of it. For me, this interest directly translates to improving the material circumstances of life for as many people as possible. I have always wanted to make my life about creating the kind of lives fit for humans to live. This motivation has taken me through various sorts of work, from health delivery research to political organizing. When a friend who works for one of our beneficiaries let me know that LS was hiring for a driver, I was delighted to have the chance to work directly to improve folks’ material realities by rescuing and delivering fresh food.

Describe a typical work day. How does your job differ from the average truck driver?
There is no typical day with Lovin Spoonfuls! That’s one of the most exciting parts of this work. I have my regular collections with our vendors, but I often get the chance to collect and distribute even more food on the fly, from, say, a food pantry distribution that has more food than they can distribute. I never know what kind of interesting people I’ll meet or what sort of food I’ll get to collect! We’re well coordinated, but the spontaneity and go-get-it attitude makes the work all the more fun.

What’s the strangest/most exotic food item you’ve picked up from a vendor?
Definitely Daikon and Vegan Chicken Salad. Enough said!

What are some of your favorite tunes/radio stations that you listen to on the road?
I never miss Democracy Now on 90.3, a hard hitting news program that comes on at noon every day and usually has interviews with fascinating people out organizing and making the world better.

The rest of the time, I alternate Nina Simone and Fleetwood Mac.

Do your friends and family consider you a good cook? Any signature recipes?
I guess you’d have to ask them! I make an excellent vegan blueberry pie (it won a competition!). I think I know about two dozen ways to serve bell peppers.

What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
Bell peppers, asparagus, spinach and maple flavored cream top yogurt are always in my fridge. I usually have some homemade ranch on hand, too. You can take me out of the Plains, but you can’t take the Plains out of me!

What’s your favorite childhood food memory?
I have so many great memories of my mom teaching me to cook. She taught me how to fry green tomatoes, okra and jalepeños before I could do long division. What I revisit most often  is how to make biscuits and pie crust without measuring, very convenient!

Has this job made you more aware of your own consumption habits? Have you made any significant changes as a result?
I like to think that I was always pretty cognizant of the amount of waste produced by our food systems. One of the most shocking things I’ve learned so far is how much work food distribution is – and how far we still have to go.

What’s your favorite place/restaurant/neighborhood in Boston?
My favorite restaurants are so close to our parking spot in Somerville, and I feel quite fortunate whenever I remember that. I love everything at Pujabi Dhabi, the BBQ Seitan sandwich at Clover, and getting sticky fingers from the Njera bread at Fasika. South of the Charles, my vote is always for My Thai Vegan Café in Chinatown.

My favorite neighborhoods are Jamaica Plain, Boston, and Central Square, Cambridge. In the summer I trek out to Revere Beach almost three times a week (say what you will, the first public beach in America is grand!)

What is your motto?
My motto: Educate, agitate, organize!

A few affirmations that I keep close to my heart are (1) do whatever you can, as well as you can, and (2) if you want to be free, then you’ve got to be brave.

Who are your heroes?
Most of my real life heroes don’t have Wikipedia pages. I try to surround myself with people I admire.

Angela Davis, Paul Farmer, Victoria Woodhull, Toni Morrison and Ella Baker are some famous folks whose work and stories have inspired me.

Tickets Now on Sale for the 4th Annual Ultimate Tailgate Party!

On Sunday, November 9th, 2014, Lovin’ Spoonfuls will host the fourth annual Ultimate Tailgate Party and celebrate our upcoming 5th anniversary, all while overlooking Boston’s scenic waterfront at Sam’s. The annual event, sponsored by Bank of America and the John W. Henry Family Foundation, and hosted by Esti & Drew Parsons, co-owners of Sam’s, features 16 of Boston’s “MVP” chefs cooking high-end versions of their favorite tailgate food, a silent auction, entertainment and much more. Beer, wine, and cocktails will be shaken and served by Sam’s own Jon Parsons and Nick Korn of OFFSITE.

This year, we are thrilled to honor founding Culinary Board members Joanne Chang and Christopher Myers during the VIP hour, for their continued support of our work. As Chef + Owner of Flour Bakery & Cafe, Joanne has become a nationally renowned author, and together with her husband, celebrated restauranteur Christopher, they own and operate Myers + Chang, the acclaimed South End restaurant. Christopher and Joanne are beacons for the charities they support and ingrained in the fabric of the Boston community.

The VIP hour also features sparkling wine, cheeses from Wasik’s Cheese Shop, and charcuterie from Josh Smith of New England Charcuterie.  The theme of the event resonates the ‘Spoonfuls mission: combatting hunger is a team sport!

This year an all-star team of Boston’s premiere chefs will once again join the party by cooking their own creative takes on their favorite tailgate food. Guests will be able to enjoy creative comfort food from Lovin’ Spoonfuls culinary board members Jamie Bissonnette (Coppa and Toro), Joanne Chang (Myers + Chang and Flour Bakery), and newest culinary board member Michael Scelfo (Alden & Harlow), as well as Karen Akunowicz (Myers + Chang), Asia Mei (Sam’s at Louis Boston), Colin Lynch (Menton, No. 9 Park),  Louis DiBiccari (Tavern Road), Matthew Gaudet (West Bridge), Will Gilson (Puritan & Co.), Tiffani Faison (Sweet Cheeks), Daniel Bojorquez (La Brasa), Jason Cheek (Merrill & Co.), Steve Postal (Commonwealth), Christine & Carla Pallotta (Nebo), Jason Albus (Fairsted Kitchen), the team from Mei Mei Street Kitchen, and Keith Pooler (Bergamot).

Full details and TICKETS are available here!

Save the Date for the 4th Annual Ultimate Tailgate Party!

Everyone is talking about fall’s arrival, and while we happily enjoy the remaining days of summer, there is something special about the fall here at Lovin’ Spoonfuls. We happen to think it’s because of our signature event, the Ultimate Tailgate Party! This year, as we celebrate our upcoming 5 year anniversary, we are looking to make it our most successful event yet! It will still be on the lawn in front of Sam’s, but this year we’ll be under a larger tent, with a few new surprises! So, save the date, details coming soon and tickets will be on sale in the coming weeks – but mark your calendar now so you’re sure to be there. The party takes place on Sunday, November 9th!

 

 

Summer meals support is under way!

Lovin’ Spoonfuls is working with partners Stop & Shop and Whole Foods Market to source fresh fruits and vegetables this summer to provide to the summer meals programs in Framingham, Waltham, and Somerville. Summer meals programs are an essential summertime replacement for students who lose access to healthy meals when school is out. Inadequate nutrition during the summer can set kids back when they return to school in the fall.  Each district we work with is feeding hundreds of kids per day at various sites throughout their cities, trying to reach as many as possible. Because summer meals is a federally funded program, the budgets are slim, and they need to stretch their buying power as much as possible.  We can provide fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, and breads for the districts to use in the meals.

Each Monday for 9 weeks, we will be making collections from Stop & Shop locations and delivering the product to the meal production facilities in each district. The food services managers at each location can choose from what we have collected to supplement their meals – a recent collection yielded fruit for snacking: apples, bananas, clementines, and vegetables for salads or cooking: peppers, summer squash, lettuce. All of this product might have been wasted, but it’s healthy, fresh food that can be put to great use feeding kids throughout the area this summer!

Project Bread is working with summer meals programs across the region and granted funds to Lovin’ Spoonfuls to operate this program.

Thanks to all who attended the Lovin’ Pop-Up!

Last Tuesday, we were fortunate to host an incredible Pop-Up dinner to benefit Lovin’ Spoonfuls which raised over $20,000 for our work! Joined by some amazing people, we kicked off the evening with a cocktail party featuring delicious bites from Michael Scelfo (Alden & Harlow) and Louis DiBiccari (Tavern Road), as well as an amazing charcuterie display from Josh Smith (Moody’s Delicatessen).  There were great cocktails developed by Nick Korn (Offsite) plus beers from Peak Organic and wines compliments of MS Walker.

 

And then there was dinner…a four course experience paired with wines selected by Justin Shaw of MS Walker. The four dinner chefs brought their game and served an incredible menu.  Jamie Bissonnette of Coppa, Toro & Toro NYC kicked the meal off with a dish featuring lamb morcilla, octopus, heirloom beans, hummus & tahini.  Andrew Zimmern, of Bizarre Foods fame, followed that with a fiery Bangkok-style crispy poussin with lemongrass and chiles, served with sticky rice.  Matthew Jennings, of the forthcoming Townsman restaurant in Boston, served a soft-shell crab with ramp & pistachio relish and fermented black beans.  Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery + Cafe closed the meal on a sweet note with a delightful spring pavlova with berries and figs.

The support of the restaurant community on this event can not be overstated – they prepped, cooked, set-up, served, bussed, poured, hosted, and did everything above and beyond what we could have asked for, and made the evening a huge success.  So much so, that everyone wants to do it again next year.  So, if you missed the opportunity to join us at this event, don’t worry, because it will be back next year!

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