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September 2013

Peanuts4Peanuts

There's an ambitious new start-up in Boston that I'd like to share with you: Peanuts4Peanuts. It's the brainchild of my colleague Kendra Wilkins and her roommate Lizzie Faust, pictured here:

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Lizzie is an economic consultant who spent time in Haiti recently and was moved by the plight of malnourished children there (shockingly, over 80,000 of them die annually). Her travels included a trip to a medicinal peanut butter operation, where she learned that peanut butter provides hungry children with vital nutrients to support growth and a healthy immune system. In fact, after 6 to 8 weeks of treatment with medicinal peanut butter, 85% of children recover (compared to the 25% recovery rate with older, milk-based treatment methods). Peanut butter is known as Ready-To-Use Therapeutic Food because it does not require water or preparation, key to adoption in developing countries.

Eager to help get this medicinal peanut better into the hands (and bellies) of more hungy children, Lizzie and Kendra have borrowed a page from the Toms Shoes social enterprise playbook: for each jar of Peanuts4Peanuts peanut butter sold in the US, a malnourished child in Haiti will receive a 3.2 oz. serving of medicinal peanut butter.

Here they are explaining the program themselves:

Kendra and Lizzie already have some local stores lined up to sell their product, they just need some additional funding to make it happen. So they are using the popular the crowd-sourced funding platform indigogo to raise money to support peanut butter production here in the Boston area, as well as product labeling, storage, transportation, and marketing materials.

They are just $3,270 and 5-days shy of reaching their campaign goal of  $16,000 by September 13th (the campaign only receives funds if it meets its monetary goal by that date), so please consider supporting them by making a donation (and getting some swag!), liking them on Facebook, following them on Pinterest, or simply spreading the word.

Later this month, Kendra and Lizzie will embark upon a 7-week entrepreneurship program at Draper University in Silicon Valley, a boarding school created by venture capitalist Tim Draper to encourage proactive entrepreneurship among 18-24 year olds. There, they'll receive mentoring and coaching from experts, plus an opportunity to pitch for funding from Silicon Valley VCs. It's a fantastic opportunity for two young women that are doing a fantastic thing. Good luck, ladies!


Assembled at Assembly Row

There are only a few weeks left to check out Assembled, the handmade arts market at Assembly Row  in Somerville. Featuring artists from all over New England, as well as [the now ubiquitous] food trucks and live music, it's giving Boston's SoWa and Greenway Open Markets a run for their money.

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Among the booths that caught my eye: The Crunchy Home, a line of beauty, baby, and home products like face scrubs, lotions, and candles, all made with natural ingredients (find them on Etsy here; they make a great grapefruit scrub):

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...and Chappy Girls Jewelry, which offers affordable bracelets like these Breast Cancer Awareness ones that support the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation in Providence, RI:

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There were also some pretty Swarovski crystals at the Karol Peralta Jewelry booth.

Assembled runs Saturdays from 11am to 4pm, through September 21st.  Also this weekend: Charlestown's Art in the Park and the Boston Calling music festival on City Hall Plaza. But I'll miss both because I'll be searching for treasures in Brimfield!


A Cherry on Top

After a long wait (and some controversy), the new Whole Foods market in Charlestown has finally opened up and I couldn't be happier (and it's not because of their signature Charlestown sandwiches!).

Together with the Charlestown Farmers Market (which sets up shop on Main Street, Wednesdays through October) we now have two great options for fresh produce in town.

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Have you ever heard of a lemon cucumber? I hadn't until I came across this one at the farmer's market:

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It's not actually a hybrid of the two fruits, but rather a cucumber that happens to look like a lemon. But it tasted similar to the more familiar green kind (maybe a bit milder) and I chopped it up into a summer salad.

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And while I think cherries peak in July, Whole Foods had some gorgeous ones in there on my last visit, which allowed me to make this delicious recipe for Cherry and Goat Cheese Crostini, courtesy of Women's Health magazine. The recipe below is copied from their site, but the photo is my own!

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Set oven rack five inches from the broiler. In a bowl, toss 2 cups cherries (stemmed, pitted, and halved) with 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, 1/8 teaspoon sea salt, and 1/8 teaspoon sugar. Let stand 10 minutes. Meanwhile, brush 24 baguette slices (3/4-inch thick, from a 12-ounce baguette) with 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Broil until just golden around the edges, about 90 seconds. Cool. Spread with 1/2 cup goat cheese. Spoon cherry mixture onto crostini, dividing equally. Garnish with 3 thinly sliced sage leaves.

Makes 24 pieces
Per piece: 80 cal, 2.5 g fat (1 g sat), 13 g carbs, 135 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein