Friday, June 28, 2013

Fashion Friday: To Cover or Not to Cover

Growing up in Minnesota, one thing I always remember is my mom telling me to cover my head, because it was the chimney of the body. I did not need any heat to escape when I was playing in the subzero temps. I guess that has always stuck with me ... now 30 years later, I cannot not run with a hat because I feel like I am trapping that body heat and suffocating (another little quirk). I have to let the chimney breathe! 

So the Fashion Friday question of the day is: In the heat of the summer, hat or no hat?

I began to search the internet for the answer, because everything you read on the internet is true! Of course, I found a ton of sites that just contradicted each other. However, I did learn some cool tid-bits on running as the heat turns up from 
Jeff Galloway (check out his no. 4):

How to stay cool 
1. Slow down early- take those walk breaks early and often 
2. Wear lighter garments and not cotton- several materials will wick the perspiration away from your skin: coolmax, polypro, etc. 
3. Pour water over yourself- pour water on your head, or even on your light coolmax (or similar material) singlet. 
4. Don't wear a hat- hats keep your heat from being released through one of the best vents you have- the top of your head! 
5. Drink cold water- it leaves the stomach quicker and it produces a slight physiological cooling effect and an even greater psychological cooling effect. 
6. Take a dip or a shower- take a break for a dip in the pool or a cold shower on hot days! 
7. Don't eat a big meal- Eating too much (especially protein and fat) will put extra stress on your system when you exercise. 

So here is the short of it regarding a hat in the summer time: when you exercise the heat will escape your body from any exposed area of your skin. Your head acts as one of the biggest vents. While yes, a hat will trap that heat in your body causing you to sweat more and feel hotter, heat will use other uncovered skin to escape from.  If you have to wear a hat, don't wear your husbands favorite ball cap or the cute army cap you just bought that makes you look totally fashionable. Purchase yourself a running cap like the Nike Daybreak cap or the UnderArmour coldback running cap. Both caps are designed to protect your head while letting the heat out through ventilation technology. You can also try a visor - it will block the sun, absorb the sweat, and it has great ventilation to let that heat go!
The Nike Daybreak Women's Running Hat delivers excellent ventilation and sun-blocking power in an adjustable, sweat-wicking construction for premium comfort over any distance.

Revolutionary coldblack® technology reflects heat rays to keep you cooler than ever when it gets hot. A built-in sweatband wicks sweat away to keep you dry and the eyelet detail provides ventilation.
Eventure™ Woven Fabric shell, Eventure™ Fabric terry sweatband keeps perspiration out of your eyes, and black undervisor reduces glare.
To cover or not to cover? Listen to your body. If you feel you are overheating, take the hat off every now and then and let the heat go! 

What about you, do you like to run in a hat? If so, what is your favorite one?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Running Partners for Sale

Runners are everywhere. I honestly think I passed over 20 people this morning. Running partners, however, are harder to find. When other's lives are involved, things get complicated very quickly. Oftentimes my schedule is completely incompatible with everyone I can think to call for a little company and encouragement during a run. However, I have found a solution to other people's kids' schedules, my work schedule, my husband's sleep schedule, the ways the stars align, and sharing a car. I purchased a permanent running partner.

Running partners can range from $15/$20 all the way up past $1,000. It really just depends on what you're looking for, and yes, you can be as specific as you'd like. My running partner's name is Willie Mae, and she has the ability to run up to 15 miles or so. She can tolerate the Memphis heat rather well, and her schedule allows her permanent availability. I am thrilled to no longer have to run alone. I feel safer and more motivated knowing that I have a partner who expects to get a daily workout.

In case you missed our selfie pics earlier in the week, I actually shared my selfie with Willie Mae since she's such a big part of my future runs.


And, no, I do not recommend paying people to run with you. I know she's small now, but I cannot wait to run with her when she is old enough. I have already been very strict in training her, and I plan to continue to be when it comes to running on a leash, being around other dogs, and ignoring passersby. 

I've run with very well-trained dogs before, which is why I am so excited about eventually having one of my own to run with. What are some things that you would (politely) recommend to fellow runners with four-legged friends? What are things that I should be wary of and things I should be sure to do to ensure a polite running dog and comfortable experience for everyone else too?


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

100th post, selfie style






In honor of our 100th post we wanted to share a little more of ourselves. As if this post wasn't enough!

Most blogs and Facebook Pages are about a single person, showing you what they are doing most of the day through selfies of themselves in front of gym equipment, what they eat, and what they order from Starbucks, etc. While our blog is a bit different in approach, we wouldn't want you to miss out on some selfie love.


We were recently inspired by this article and thought it would be fun to share with you some of our favorite selifes! Enjoy!

Ultimate Selfie: Duck lips and puppies

The "what she's eating now" selfie

The "hardcore gym" selfie

The "here is my face" selfie

The "here I am in a public restroom" selfie

The ever-popular Starbucks cup


So tell us, what are some of your favorite selfie poses? We want to see!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Make it Monday: Easy Snack idea


When our lives get busy, getting in healthy snacks can be difficult. Here are some quick, easy ideas:

Snack idea #1: Larabars, chocolate peanut butter is my favorite, but I haven't had a bad one yet.

Snack idea #2: WildRoots 100% Natural Trail Mix. I get mine from Costco. 

Snack idea #3: PB2 with a banana, with greek yogurt as a dip, on any fruit. They have regular peanut and chocolate peanut butter. There are so many ways to use them and they are both delicious!


Snack idea #4: String Cheese. An easy on the go snack.

Snack idea #5: Frozen grapes, watermelon or any yummy fruit. 

Snack idea #6: Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and Pretzel Crisps

So there are some of our favorite snack ideas. Tell us some of yours. Happy Monday!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fashion, Function, or just plain Quirky

By: Jennifer

Running partners are a special type of friend, not just one who knows your favorite GU flavor or the worst songs on your playlist, but someone who knows those eccentric things about you, too. We 901 girls laugh about some of those quirky things we are still learning about each other that are just downright silly, but truthfully can diminish the potential for a good run if they don't go as they should. Because we get to travel together as well as run together, we really know each other's quirks before, during, and after a run. 

To some degree I'm sure most people can relate to being specific about their hair. Those ladies who run with their hair down make us cringe. No loose hair. Janell and Stacey don't like their's touching their back or neck at all. It's all bun for them. Jennifer can't stand those loose pieces flopping around on the side when they slip out of the ponytail. Janell also will only use a certain brand ponytail holder while she is working out, and Jennifer will never ever run without a headband. Weird? Maybe, but whatever works, works!

When it comes to clothes, we don't always put fashion before function, but when we do, it can be a unique situation. We're not talking Lady Gaga on the red carpet weird, but we've all got our "things". Jennifer has less than 4 pairs of matching socks, and that's okay. The height of the sock however, makes or breaks her run. She always has to fold them down below her ankle if they're too tall before she can concentrate on anything else. As well, Janell and Stacey will never be seen in compression socks. Somehow their lungs and feet are connected, and they feel like they're suffocating if they ever put them on. Stacey's tanks also can't be too tight in the Summer, but for Winter it's okay. Dana can never wear her race bib over her stomach and always lays out her race outfit from head to toe the night before. Jennifer can’t seem to double up on underwear. If the shorts have it built in, she's not going to wear another pair on top of it.

As if these weren't enough to earn us a reputation, we've saved the quirkiest for last. Jennifer really likes to run with mint flavored gum. She has convinced herself it makes the run easier and go by more quickly. She chews on one side and then switches to the other, back and forth. The way the flavor changes from side to side gets her attention each time, and it's just the smallest distraction that keeps her going sometimes. Our girls that carry HB Tune, typically wear theirs on their dominant hand, Stacey however favors the other. Her feet just won't work otherwise. No bouncing fuel belts for Debi. They drive her crazy! She does however have a very specific approach to protecting her sensitive skin. She uses several different products from Body Glide to Skin Sake, each with their own area to protect. In the name of complete disclosure, I think all of us, as well as runners in general, really appreciate a productive trip to the loo before a run. Some us accomplish it with coffee, others with Spark, or an occasional sugar free Red Bull.

We can't always explain why or where they come from, but these crazy quirks make us who we are. For some, it may be a lucky jersey on game day or a morning routine before work, for us, it's ponytail bands and bathroom trips that mentally prepare us for the challenge ahead. We don't fight it, we embrace it! Feel free to chuckle at our bizarre ways, and then let us know some of your unique running habits. We know we're not the only weird ones out there.

Women's Walk Run Memphis

Girls Run the 901 has partnered with Women Walk Run Memphis to raise awareness about this great event. Open to all women and all levels, the event is the perfect way to get started in running, improve upon your pace and meet some incredible new runners. We will be there supporting, volunteering and coaching this great program!




This 10-week training program (2010 RRCA Beginning Runner's Program Winner) has been in Memphis for 22 years and is for walkers, beginning, intermediate and advanced Runners. At the end of the program each trainee participates in the 'Graduation' 5K. This is a great source of accountability and encouragement. For the registration fee of only $30 (until July 1st) you recieved pace orientated training for 6 weeks, a tshirt, and a graduation 5k. What a deal! 



From talking to their staff, they are all about encouraging and supporting the runner. This is not a place for runners boast about the 100 miles you ran this week, it is about encouraging you in your fitness journey.

Women's Walk Run Memphis will kick off with our annual EXPO on Monday,
July 1, 2013 5-7pm at the AgriCenter International. Here you will have a chance to register (if you haven't already), meet the coaches and have any of your questions answered, purchase technical wear, learn from local running stores about shoes and proper running apparel and visit vendors and sponsors booths. 

Be sure to read the tips for beginning runners here as well as updates on program information

We are very excited about this amazing resource right here in the 901!

Tell us, have you have participated or plan to participate this year? 

We will see you there!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The mantra made me do it

By: Debi

Have you ever had one of those runs that for whatever unforeseen reason, went horribly? Did you keep going, or did it get the best of you?

Running can be as much a mental challenge as it is a physical test of strength and fitness. Some runners find that their body is willing to run longer, but it's too hard mentally to keep going. Picking a short phrase that you play over and over in your head while running can help you stay focused and centered. It can be your inner motivation when you need it most.

About 3 months after I first started running, my husband gave me a ring that had one word inscribed on it, "Believe." Well that single word has become my "mantra" and has gotten me through some pretty tough moments. You are probably asking, believe what? For me, some days it's different.


The other day I was listening to a podcast interview of Kara Goucher (US Olympian), and someone asked her what her mantra is, and I was really surprised by her answer: "Believe, it encompasses hope and faith in yourself." But for the Boston Marathon she had Nike sew the following mantra into her shoe, "Have the courage to believe!" Having the courage to believe, in yourself and that it is possible. 

In order to achieve our running goals, there will be times when strong legs are not enough, you will need to be strong mentally. Doubts and distractions can ruin a run but having a mantra to repeat in your mind can help keep you on target.

Here are some mantras that we use when the going gets tough:
I run to eat!
Suck it up buttercup!
Stay strong!
One mile at a time!

You may already have a favorite phrase to use as a mantra, but if you don't have one, check out these quotes about running motivation and running marathons for some inspiration.

Do you have a phrase or mantra to help get you through tough runs?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Triathlon Training


By: Janell

Recently, I have started to train for my second triathlon. Girls Run the 901 will be participating in a few Start 2 Finish triathlons this summer including the Mightymite Triathlon, the Annie Oakley triathlon, and possibly more! I have found that for me the training is much more enjoyable than just running during the summer. With shorter runs and incorporating biking and swimming into my training it lends itself the rising temperatures in Memphis. I am also thankful to be on my bike when I encounter critters (like the snake I saw the other day) that come out when it's warm! 

Additionally,  I feel that training for a triathlon has great benefits for your body in incorporating more than a single sport. Running tones your legs and stomach, and burns a lot of calories while swimming concentrates on toning your upper body, working your chest, shoulders, and back.  Swimming also greatly increases your lung capacity and helps circulation, surprisingly just as much as running.  Biking builds and defines your legs. 

For me, I follow a training schedule made by Lesley Brainard. She is an All American triathlete and an amazing coach. I attended her swim classes last year when I did the Memphis in May Sprint triathlon and will attend this summer. One of her many strengths is swimming so who better to take a swim class from? Seriously, if you are interested in improving your swimming skills, even just a little bit, I highly recommend her class. She will take you from square one and work with you at your pace. Swim for me will always be my challenge and while I can feel myself being more relaxed in the pool, it will always take a little more time and practice.

My weekly workouts look something like a 60 minute swim drills, and hour or so bike, a run, or a run and bike (brick-a term I learned because of how your legs feel while trying to run after a bike!). 

We have also have a group of girls who plan to meet and train together to get some experience in open water and transitioning from swim to bike and bike to run. What a great way to learn new skills and meet new people.

Here are a few tips when training for your first triathlon:
  • When training for your swim, make sure you go a little farther then your needed distance.  You will definitely have confidence then.  Swimming can be scary - especially if one can't touch or see the ground.
  • Remember, you can resort to your 'easy' swim stroke if need be such as the side or the breast stroke.
  • Do some open-water training if possible.  At least 1-2 times prior to racing.  Open water swimming will be more challenging.  Just make sure you have somebody looking out for you if you get into trouble.
  • Like the swim, do a few bike or runs over the distance needed.  Confidence again.  Try racing a duathlon OR race a 5 or 10K run.
  • Make sure to do a few 'brick' workouts several weeks before your first tri.  These will help you immensely for the bike to run (T2) transition.  For more on 'bricks', see Bricking It
  • Try to get familiarized with the course.  If you can, obtain a map of the course days beforehand.  Optimally, train on the different parts of the course before the event.  Don't do all the events on the same day, but separately.  If you can't train on the course before the tri, then at least drive and walk most of it.  Just being familiar with the course will rid you of a lot of butterflies.
  • Either at home or at the course, try to mentally visualize your set-up at the transition areas and how your sequence of doing things in each transition area.  This is key or you will blunder through the transitions losing unnecessary minutes.  Write your transition steps down on paper will help you.
  • Don't train hard the last two weeks before the race.  It's too late for improvement.  You can see this during the last few weeks of my Sprint Training Program and the Olympic Program
  • Get plenty of sleep several nights before.  (You should always be doing this though)
  • Do not change your diet before your first triathlon.  Keep things exactly the way they were during training.  Some people ask me if they should carbo-load a few days before.  NO!  Eat like you always do.  Do not try to pull a change-up to your system.  You are doing a Sprint or Olympic distance triathlon.  You should have plenty of energy reserves so long as you haven't been starving yourself.  When you move up to Half or Full Ironman, then you might consider a pre-race diet.
  • Check out the USAT Triathlon Rule Book.  Very detailed, probably a lot won't pertain to the beginner BUT has some good ideas.  Probably would be a good idea to get a rule book for your particular triathlon (if not a USAT sanctioned event)
  • Above all, REMEMBER:  If it is not broke, do not try to fix it.

    Article found here. 

    Here is another great article from Runner's World for tips as well!

Ready to race your first triathlon? We would love for your to join us in training and and at the race. Let us know if you are interested!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Make it Monday: Banana Blueberry Pancakes

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals of the day and since I workout or get my run in early in the mornings and I am super hungry afterwards! My kids and I love pancakes but never can agree on what kind: chocolate chip, blueberry, granola, plain. There have been mornings where I have made 3 different kinds! While searching for a healthy version we all could all agree on I came across this recipe from Fitfoodiele. It did the trick! This mom was super excited to find a healthy pancake we all loved!

Ingredients:

1/3 cup rolled oats 
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 of a ripe banana 
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk 
5 drops vanilla creme stevia
1/4 cup blueberries
2 egg whites

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together including the banana. Simply mash the banana with a fork. Spray your skillet with a non fat cooking spray, pour batter onto the skillet and let it cook on each side for about 3-5 minutes.

Top with blueberries, yum!

My boys say you can't have pancakes without syrup so try a sugar free version to save on calories or I like to melt almond butter and spread on the top.

I have an addiction to almond butter, it tastes good with everything!
Simplest recipe ever and so yummy! Enjoy! 

(Of course wanted to show you how delicious they looked but mine never turn out this pretty... But taste just as yummy!)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Question and Answer Blog

Thank you so much for all your questions! We wanted to answer questions people typically ask us about our group, running and our lives. We hope you enjoy and learn something new!

 1. Please explain tempo runs and how they benefit runners.

Tempo runs simply put are a controlled steady comfortably hard paced run done from anywhere between 20 minutes to an hour. 
Basically you are training the body to run farther and faster by teaching the muscles to utilize oxygen for metabolism more effectively. There is a point at which your body fatigues at a certain pace, called lactate threshold, by increasing your threshold your body can sustain more speed over distance. Tempo training increases your lactate threshold. Most running experts say that tempo running is the single most effective workout to improve your speed for any race distance. To make sure you are doing a tempo run at the right pace add 30-40 seconds to your 5k pace or 10-15 seconds  to your 10k pace. If you are unsure of that do the talk test. You should be about to answer a simple question like "what's your pace?" but not be able to carry on a conversation. Again, should be comfortably hard, as in this is tough, I can do this, but I can't wait till it's over! 

2. How do you girls not get bogged down with training schedules? Sometimes I feel like I do so much training that I forget running is fun.

I totally understand and think we have all been there. I would recommend changing it up. Trying running with a new partner, in a new area or with on a group run to get your training in. It gives me something to look forward to when I know I am meeting someone or getting to see something new. Also, there are days when I need to go technology free just to enjoy it-no watches, phones, etc.

3. Could you please talk about race etiquette?  At Harbortown, I saw so many runners having to dodge strollers and walkers.  It just seems so unsafe.

These rules for runners etiquette come from Road Runners Club of America:
  • In many races, runners with strollers are asked to line up at the very back, behind all of the other runners. It is a personal choice whether people abide by this.
  • Line up according to how fast you plan to run or walk the event. Slower runners and walkers should move to the back of the race pack. Just because you arrived early does not mean you should be at the front of the starting line. 
  • Run or walk no more than two abreast.
  • If you are walking in a group, stay to the back of the pack and follow the two abreast rule.
  • Move to the side if someone behind you says “excuse me” or “on you’re your right/left”. The person behind you is giving you a heads up before passing. It’s proper race etiquette to let that person pass you without blocking their effort.
  • If someone in front of you is wearing headphones, and they are blocking, gently touch their elbow or shoulder as you pass to alert them to your presence.
  • If you need to tie your shoe or stop for any reason (phone call, pictures, etc) move to the side of the road and step off the course.

4. What kind of deodorant do you recommend?  

We all use different brands but Secret Sport Deodorant and Secret Clinical strength are good ones to avoid the stinkiness!

5. Do you girls all run and train together?

Our schedules are very different throughout the week. For daily exercise and training, we are usually just fitting it in where each of our schedules allow. Of course, it is always better to run together if possible and some of us do, but mostly we are getting it in where we can. We do try to do events and races together and have a blast doing it!

6. What are some of your favorite 5k 10k or half marathons in the area?

The Winter Cross Country Series is a great series to introduce you to trail running. Each race of the series is a different length 3K, 5K, 8K and 10K. For the Spring and Summer the M-Town Series is a great way to see different areas of Memphis (Zoo, Harbor Town, Downtown and Liberty Bowl) and have great after parties. The Breakaway-Bardog 5K and Chick-fil-A 5K are fun end of Summer races.  St. Jude Marathon and 1/2 Marathon is the perfect way to end the season with the largest race that is hosted in Memphis and it supports an amazing cause.

7. What is your weekly running schedule? What other physical activities do you enjoy besides running? 

Our weekly running schedule depends on what race distance we are currently training for, marathon, 1/2 marathon, etc. On average, we run 3-4 days per week, plus a long run on the weekend. We enjoy bike riding, swimming, and taking walks with our family along the greenline and other areas of the city. 

8. Where do you run?

Check out this blog post from Choose 901 for a list of great places to run in the 901.  

We hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as we enjoyed writing it! Please feel free to send anymore questions our way!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How to feel safe on the road

By: Debi

Have you ever decided to try something new even though it scared you?


I recently made the decision to step out of my running comfort zone and train to complete a triathlon this Summer.

I grew up riding bikes, I still ride one occasionally along the trails near my home, or on the sidewalk. My bike has a basket on the front of it to carry food and blankets for family picnics at the park. So when I decided to train for a triathlon, I knew instantly my hardest obstacle to overcome would be my fear of riding on the road...with traffic. I have this intense fear that I'm going to turn in-front of a car or lose my balance right when a car is passing me...instant roadkill!!

Well, instead of letting that fear keep me from trying something new, I purchased a road bike. Then, I went on a group ride with Bikes Plus. Bikes Plus has a women's only beginner's ride group on Monday nights from their Germantown location. This group ride has a 'no rider left behind' policy.

So as we started out I was shaking, literally terrified, and debating whether I could handle being out on the road. The ladies in the group were so encouraging, and quickly made a protective barrier between them and other cars that there was no way that I could be hit. As we progressed through the ride I became more and more comfortable. While we did have to travel on some busy roads, it was only as a means to get to areas that have little to no traffic. Each time we had to cross traffic the ladies had a system to stop oncoming traffic until each rider crossed safely.

The ladies taught us how to communicate properly with other riders (advising of cars passing, locations of potholes, etc), how to ride as a group safely, and helped with my form to ease tension.

This past week, one girl's chain came undone on her bike. Something that most of us would have no idea how to fix if we were riding alone. One of the girls that lead the ride had it fixed within minutes, and the riders that were in front circled back in the meantime to ensure that everyone was okay. This truly is a no rider left behind group! 

I am so thankful that Bikes Plus hosts a beginner's ride! It is a safe way to learn how to ride the road properly. I can't wait to join them again.

Have you ever thought about riding, then you should come too! The ride is at 6pm Monday nights from the Bikes Plus Germantown location.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Dreadmill Running

By: Dana

With the heat rising and the south's humidity levels, sometimes running here in the 901 can be grueling!
Our last couple of posts have been a reminder of just that and how important it is to stay hydrated and safe in the sun. However, there are just going to be days when going out in that heat really shouldn't be an option. So how are we going to get our run in? It leaves us with..... The DREADMILL!

I feel very sure I am not the only one who would rather run outside in any weather element (well...except a thunderstorm) than to get on that thing! However, for our safety sometimes it's the best option. 
Running on a treadmill takes some serious mental strength.  Just look at it like it's a challenge and that if you can stick it out you will be mentally stronger. Let's be real though, no matter how mentally strong you are, the treadmill can be boring and monotonous!

Here are a few things you can do to entertain yourself and make the time go by faster:

1. If I must be on the treadmill I like to do speed work. My pace is set for me and there is a timer I can stare at to know when I'm done! Go for mile repeats or meter repeats  and rest and recover in between. Good news there, your water bottle is right beside you!
2. Fartleks (speed play) - Jog and then sprint whenever you feel like it!
3. Progression Runs - Run each mile faster than the last.
4. Chorus Sprints - I don't listen to music when I run but this one just sounds fun. When the chorus of a song comes on, bump up your speed by 1.0 or more (whatever you are comfortable with) miles per hour.

This next suggestion is super fun and well, could be considered a little silly, but whatever it takes to make working out fun, I'm all about it!
I first saw the "Deck of Cards Workout" on The Biggest Loser and thoughts how fun! Knowing that I had to find out more about this workout game I went to my favorite source, Pinterest...And there were several suggestions! This was a while back and I remember seeing a treadmill workout, but now I can't find it...So I decided to make one up for myself.

5. After a 5 minute warm-up, every 5 minutes choose a card, run at normal base pace for 5 minutes then choose another card.
Spades: increase your speed by 1.0 every minute for 5 minutes.
Diamonds: increase your incline by .5% every 30 seconds for 5 minutes.
Clubs: increase your incline by 3% for 5 minutes. 
Hearts: sprint the number of seconds on the card times 10. For example if you choose a 9 of hearts, sprint for 90 seconds.


Hope you have as much fun with this as I did!

If you aren't comfortable with taking a deck of cards to the gym, which is completely understandable, here is a treadmill workout from Jillian Michaels that is sure to get you a good workout in! 

Again, when the heat is too much, hop on a treadmill and get that run in!
  



Monday, June 10, 2013

Behind the Recipes


We’re going deeper than a recipe for today’s Make It Monday. You can have the best recipes in the world, but without good, fresh ingredients, your dish will still taste rotten.

Well, it just so happens that the owners of Whitton Farms, “a small, organically-inspired, specialty-crop farm in the Arkansas Delta,” are also the owners of Trolley Stop Market here in Memphis. Trolley Stop Market takes the idea of “Eat Local” seriously. Trolley Stop not only has incredible food on the menu that is predominately grown locally and organically, but they also offer, “a wide variety of locally made artisan goods, crafts, and a year round mini-farmers market” inside the restaurant. All things local and good are served and sold here as Trolley Stop partners with 16 different local farms to incorporate the freshest ingredients into their orders. 

I guess when you own both sides of a business, supply and production, you can do things the way you want them done. Whitton Farms and Trolley Stop Market offer an incredible opportunity for Memphians to encourage and support small, local farmers by joining the community supported agriculture program, or CSA.

Now before you think you’re going to have to go pick your own fruits and veggies, as if that wouldn’t be awesome, when it’s all said and done, this is an opportunity to pick up a big bag of groceries that’s prepaid, fresh, and locally grown. You don’t even have to decide which groceries you want. The beauty of the CSA program is that in order to provide the freshest ingredients, the bag of groceries you pick up weekly only has what was most recently harvested. To help out with what then could be a mystery bag of color and nutrition, your groceries (that you didn’t have to shop for or choose) come with their own suggested recipes (that you don’t have to look up).

I am currently eating through my first week of groceries from the CSA program. Thursday night I went to Trolley stop, ate incredible pizza, and picked up my grocery bag with my name on it. The ingredients inside were colorful, fresh, and changed up the rut I’ve already gotten myself into 3 weeks into cooking for my husband and myself. And even when I do make chicken, rice, and vegetables again and again, having a variety of fresh ingredients to toss in makes all the difference.

Check out Whitton Farms website or go visit Trolley Stop Market for yourself to taste and see what you can have in your own kitchen.