Posts Tagged ‘produce’

by , Director
I've been at the Museum sooooo long - longer than many of our interns have been alive. I do a little bit of everything as part of my job: care for the animals, work with the keepers and other staff, spend time with guests. Lucky me!
I spend a lot of time behind-the-scenes, or here after hours, but if you really want to see me, you'll have to sign-up for a behind-the-scenes program.

The Produce Bomber Strikes Again.

April 17th, 2013

If I only had a video camera to show you how the following played out you would laugh so hard.

my gift bags from Donna

Last week, I approached my driveway at 9 PM, I stop the car because someone is at the foot of the driveway. I assume it’s a dog walker, but my neighbor turns around says something like “oh…I’ve been caught” and starts to run back to her house with a large grocery bag in her arms.

I yell for her to come on back. I’m laughing as I do this (and I hope Donna is too). I then yell “Does it need to be refrigerated?” The conversation continues back and forth somewhat. I park the car and come out to greet her. We chat for a minute or so - she is embarrassed. (Me, I’m thankful for the gifts).  She places the bag into my truck (which has been parked in the driveway). She leaves walking away talking about making “Popsicles” for the critters since it’s been so hot.

I thank her and head to the truck to not only find the large grocery bag she just placed there (watermelon inside), but three other grocery bags. I evidently caught her on her last drop off rather than her first one!

 

this week’s gifts from the “produce bomber”

People like Donna and all that she does for us and the animals make days like Monday a little bit easier.  THANKS DONNA!!!!!

Join the conversation:

  1. What do you do with the marshmellow creme?

    Posted by Wendy
  2. Tell Donna I made “Pina Colada” popsicles/ice cubes for the critters out of the pineapple and coconut! We haven’t tried them yet, but I’m sure they’ll be a hit.

    Wendy- I don’t know what other keepers use Fluff for (bears maybe?), but Jill and I used a small amount last fall to make popcorn balls for pig enrichment.

    Posted by Sarah
  3. Director Comment :

    fluff is a good thing to mix bear medicine in for sure. (Katy likes it too).

    Posted by Sherry Samuels
  4. Usually Jill eats all the fluff before the animals can get any!!!

    Posted by Katy

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by , Director
I've been at the Museum sooooo long - longer than many of our interns have been alive. I do a little bit of everything as part of my job: care for the animals, work with the keepers and other staff, spend time with guests. Lucky me!
I spend a lot of time behind-the-scenes, or here after hours, but if you really want to see me, you'll have to sign-up for a behind-the-scenes program.

Spotlight: My Anonymous Neighbor

March 24th, 2013

 My neighbor prefers to remain anonymous, which is a bummer since she is so supportive of me, the animals at the Museum and the community as a whole.

Probably about once each week I open my front door and there is a bag of goodies waiting. Most recently, I’ve been finding 2-4 watermelons on my doorstep. Donna’s (whoops, now you know her name) first donation was a delivery of 10 watermelons loaded directly on the back of my truck! Watermelons show up on my door step, in my truck, and she even delivers them directly to the Museum. She asks store owners if they want to donate melons too. I’d say she has donated no less than 100 watermelons over the past 3 years!

 But it’s not just watermelons. She knows when the bears are eating a lot of sweet potatoes and I’ll have 40 pound cases of sweet potatoes left on my door step. I’ve received well over 120 pounds of sweet potatoes. If avocados or mangos are on sale, I’ll have  a few bags of those hanging on my screen door knob. A good 50 pounds of nuts have appeared as well.

The list is endless. Bags of canned pumpkin for Chummix goat, leafy greens for the rabbits. The purple potato was pretty cool. Unique squashes and pumpkins and other roots and veggies. One of my favorite times was her walking into my driveway with the produce drawer from her refrigerator. I took her oranges (she said she didn’t eat them and I should have them).

She’s appeared with a bag of money for me to give to the Red Wolf Coalition. And then there’s school supplies: crayons and pencils and paper and… She donates items for the kids at the neighborhood school which I deliver for her.

Her thoughtfulness and interest in the animals is constant. A HUGE THANK YOU goes out to Donna for all she does for the Museum’s critters and the community. Thanks Donna!

Join the conversation:

  1. Director Comment :

    UPDATE: right after I posted this I opened my front door to find a grocery bag full of walnuts!!!

    Posted by Sherry Samuels
  2. I second that, Thanks Donna!

    Posted by kimberly
  3. You know it is going to be a good day when Sherry starts off the morning saying “My neighbor Donna…” She helped the bears get a brand new bright red barrel to play on and one time she brought several containers of marshmallow creme!!! The bears and Keepers alike enjoyed the creme! Thanks Donna for all you do for us and the animals.

    Posted by Katy

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by , Keeper
I have been working at the museum since 2003, and I feel fortunate to have a job where I can start my day with amazing animals surrounding me. I enjoy camping, hiking and rock climbing in my spare time when the weather is nice.
I work Tuesday through Saturday and spend a lot of time behind the scenes, but you might find me at a public program or feeding the farmyard animals in the afternoon.

Oh yay, produce day…

May 11th, 2011

I can’t speak for all of the keepers, but I do know there are at least some of my fellow co-workers who don’t particularly enjoy produce day.  Produce day falls on Wednesday, when our new Lead Keeper, Aaron, goes to several different stores and buys an amazing array of food for the animals.  Then, of course, all the food must be put away making sure to place the older stuff on top so that it gets used first. While putting the food away, it gives us a chance to go through all of our food and compost anything that’s starting to go bad.  Our animals only get the freshest and yummiest produce! The lemurs also have their grocery list for the week set aside separately from the rest of the produce so that it can be specially cleaned and then placed in its own refrigerator for “lemur use only”.

Along with all this lovely produce, we have lots and lots… and lots… of greens. Some of the greens change from week to week depending on what Aaron can find on sale, but the staples that we always have are collards, mustards, turnip greens, romaine lettuce, green and/or red leaf lettuce, cilantro, parsley, kale, spinach, and cabbage. The other greens that we always have at least some of at all times are chard, carrot tops, bok choy, celery leaves, dandelion greens, mint, broccoli leaves, beet greens, escarole, watercress, baby spring mix, basil, endive, radicchio, and chicory. Whew! And for anyone out there who has had animals that require lots of fresh greens, like bunnies, you probably know the importance of your produce being as dry as possible before you put it in the fridge! The dryer we can get the greens, the longer they will stay good. And for as much produce as we buy in a year, it’s essential that we use as much of it as possible and not allow it to brown, mold, or get slimy. Therefore, we have devised an extremely advanced and technical method for drying our greens. Towels!

We take the greens and lay them out in a single layer on towels or old museum shirts, and then we place another towel on top of that layer and do it all over again. What we end up with is layers of greens in between towels, and it’s actually quite effective at drying the greens with little work from us! (And we also can just hang the towels up to dry so they can be used again the following week!) We get the greens laid out before lunch, and then let them sit through lunch before we put them away in the afternoon. The time-consuming part comes when all the greens must be put away. They all get placed in separate tupperwares and layered much like with the towels, but instead we use paper towels. This helps absorb any of the remaining moisture from the greens. I personally enjoy doing greens, but some keepers do not. Check out the pictures below!

Lead Keeper Aaron places some mustard greens on shirts to be dried. More shirts will go on top of them when he's finished laying them out.

Her's a layer of turnip greens that Aaron already laid out under the mustards.

And there's collard greens under the layer of turnips!

Mmmm... looks like the bunnies will be enjoying carrot tops this week!

This is what our greens fridge looks like BEFORE all the new stuff is put away. When we are finished, this fridge will be packed full with tupperwares.

All the tupperwares are easily labeled, and the older stuff is assigned to be used first.

Layers between paper towels helps with the remaining moisture. These greens are over a week old and they still look perfect!

This fridge is just for our apples, oranges, corn, avacado, and eggs!

Lots and lots of produce! Broccoli, cauliflower, grapes, squash, zucchini, peppers, peaches, plums, pears, tomatoes, kiwi, bananas, green beans, sweet potatoes, carrots, celery, beets, radishes, and melons are all kept in here!

Join the conversation:

  1. I actually really love this system. I might implement it at Piedmont Wildlife Center, even if the only one to appreciate its brilliance would be Walter the bearded dragon lizard (I’ve found that snakes & raptors aren’t too fond of greens, dry or otherwise).

    Posted by Natalie
  2. Volunteer Comment :

    After seeing how well the produce kept at the Animal Department, I started doing it at home too!

    And, Marilyn, you are very trendy today. Lifehacker has a post about keeping veggies in papertowels too! http://lifehacker.com/5800692/keep-your-produce-fresh-longer-with-a-paper-towel

    But your post went live first :)

    Posted by Karyn Traphagen
  3. I hope it works well for you, Natalie! And Karyn, I’m glad the system is popular around the WORLD!;)

    Posted by Marilyn

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by , Keeper
I am most famous here in the animal department for "expanding" the barred owl exhibit, clogging the wolf pool, and splitting my pants. My other less notorious work, since 2003, includes keeping, purchasing our animal supplies, coordinating our volunteers, and managing our animal enrichment program.
Find me training the lemurs or in other various animal enclosures Monday through Friday, or at the grocery store on Wednesdays, when I shop for produce!

QuikPost: More reusable bags!!

April 7th, 2010

A "3B Bags" reusable produce bag!

A few months ago I found some reusable produce bags at the grocery store. Props to the Kroger on North Pointe Drive who sells these!   These bags eliminate the need for those hard to open plastic bags on the roll that you fill with green beans,  kale, or whatever loose fruit or vegetable your opossum needs that week, and then toss once you’ve unloaded into the fridge.   They’re strong enough to hold apples and sweet potatoes, yet weigh next to nothing (so it doesn’t affect the price of those veggies that have to get weighed out in line).

in use! with a ton of greens!

As a weekly buyer of overflowing cart fulls of produce, I highly recommend them in your quest to be greener!

Join the conversation:

  1. Keeper Comment :

    I did a side-by-side weight comparison of the hard to open plastic bags on the roll vs the 3B Bags, and while the 3B Bags weighed slightly more, it was negligible. As a frequent produce putter awayer, I have no complaints.

    Also it’s pretty funny because when she came back from the store after buying the 3B bags for the first time, we all thought she had bought underwear because of the way the bags were packaged. I think Kristen took a picture, and I’ll post it if we can find it.

    Posted by Erin Brown

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by , Keeper
I am most famous here in the animal department for "expanding" the barred owl exhibit, clogging the wolf pool, and splitting my pants. My other less notorious work, since 2003, includes keeping, purchasing our animal supplies, coordinating our volunteers, and managing our animal enrichment program.
Find me training the lemurs or in other various animal enclosures Monday through Friday, or at the grocery store on Wednesdays, when I shop for produce!

Our talented bears

July 10th, 2009

If you ever had any doubt about how very dexterous a black bear is, how’s this for evidence?

This is a watermelon produce sticker that I found in the bear yard yesterday while scooping. (yes, we are using up all those watermelons on my desk) I’ve actually found even smaller apple and orange stickers before, taken off so smoothly that you’re still able to read the produce number!
I’m not sure whether they are using their teeth or their claws, but it’s fairly impressive. Two things have convinced me that it’s not just the sticker “falling” off the produce. 1) it is a great frustration when I make up the bear food and have to pry those darn things off (and I have primate fingers!) and 2) I’ve seen the bears shell sunflower seeds better than a baseball benchwarmer.
Even though the produce stickers would not be harmful to the bears, we usually try to de-sticker all the fruit and vegetables before feeding. Occasionally we’ll miss a sticker, and Urs, Virginia, Mimi, and Gus take care of things for us!

Join the conversation:

  1. can they come to my house and peel the darn stickers off for me?

    Posted by julier
  2. I like this blog so much that I added it as a favorite blog off of my blog:-)

    Posted by Maryann Goldman
  3. I like this blog so much that I added it as a favorite blog off of my blog:-)

    Posted by Maryann Goldman
  4. Glad you're enjoying the blog, Maryann. Thanks for the comments!

    Posted by kristen

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by , Keeper
I am most famous here in the animal department for "expanding" the barred owl exhibit, clogging the wolf pool, and splitting my pants. My other less notorious work, since 2003, includes keeping, purchasing our animal supplies, coordinating our volunteers, and managing our animal enrichment program.
Find me training the lemurs or in other various animal enclosures Monday through Friday, or at the grocery store on Wednesdays, when I shop for produce!

Another produce shopping trip

April 28th, 2009

I only had to do a mini run to the grocery store this week for produce. We just needed greens, beets, and some other random fruits and vegetables that aren’t available at the buy-in-bulk store where I sometimes stock up on apples, oranges, grapes, etc.
It’s taken me a good while to get into the habit, but it is finally second nature to grab my cloth bags with me before I head out. For many years, I agonized over which was the better choice to make for the environment- paper or plastic? After a while, it was clear…neither is a good choice! I needed some reusable bags!
When I first started trying to use cloth bags more, I’d often forget them completely. Or I’d leave them in my car, forcing me to run back out to the car while my overflowing cart sat in the grocery store terrorizing the poor employees (“aaaahhh- are we going to have to restock all that produce?!?”)
Here’s a pic of my more eco-friendly grocery cart, and as you can see, I try to advertise the museum on my trips out for supplies!

If you’re trying to move to cloth, don’t give up just because you’ve forgotten sometimes. Force yourself to turn around once, or run back to your car once or twice, and the next time you’ll remember!
I’ve been able to remember in my personal shopping as well, thanks to my husband’s trick: Hang the bags on your front door knob as soon as you finish unloading groceries; that way they’ll make it to the car when you next go out. Then, even when you make an unplanned trip to the store, the bags are magically there for your use!

Join the conversation:

  1. Sometimes when I forget to bring my bags in with me I just put my groceries back in the cart as is and bag them when I return to my car.

    Posted by Sherry

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