|Where is Waldo? LOL|
The Field to Restaurant tour gave me a chance to see where the food on my plate (or err white paper bag) is coming from. First interesting fact: The same food that is shipped to McDonalds is shipped to your local grocer. Visiting the Taylor Farms in Salinas, CA gave me a wide open view of what a lettuce grower endures. The fresh smell of lettuce immediately hit us as we exited the luxury coach accommodations. Walking to the field the lush green color was too joyful to even get me depressed about walking in mud with my new Uggs on. LOL, always the StyleDIVA! They warned me but I never listen. Once we arrived in the area that was recently plowed for distribution we were given a presentation about how the lettuce is grown and picked to be shipped to the company’s distribution center for packaging. The workers were extremely knowledgeable and proud of their occupation; they explained it in a manner that was understandable to even a city girl. Second interesting fact: An average age of a lettuce picker is 55!After a walk into the fields amongst the recently cut crop (which I deemed my own personal runway) we were privy to watch how the machinery traveled in the field versus a man-made crew picking crops for distribution. Cropping season in Salinas is not year round the remainder of the year operations are handled in Arizona due to weather conditions.
Gathering back on the bus to visit the distribution center (about a 20 minute ride) we received nutritional information from one of McDonald’s dietician. Third interesting fact: Did you know you can get oatmeal anytime of the day? It’s not just at breakfast time. We also heard from three store owners about how important this trip was for them to share information on the healthy foods they offer at their restaurants. We learned about menu selections totaling 600 calories or less that could be used for a meal. I’ll post more on that in another post. Obviously I was impressed with this information since again I’m a frequent drive thru flyer that is obsessed working out as of late.
Visiting the distribution center was eye opening to me. Of course you imagine in your head what happens in a place such as this but to see it in motion was a totally different experience. All the moving parts were really surreal and it was refreshing to know that I really didn’t need to wash my prepackaged lettuce again because it really is tripled washed. Fourth interesting fact: Washing prewashed vegetables at home creates a higher risk of contamination.
We were treated to an gourmet lunch by two local celebrity chefs SakaBozzo using the ingredients found on the McDonalds menu to recreate into a different offering <sliders anyone?>. Here was our chance to mingle with various food suppliers about the products we eat as consumers at McDonalds. I was seated at a table with a gentleman from Cargill the beef supplier for the restaurant chain. He told of stories of the high standards set by McDonalds and that audit days are intense around the company but they have passed the test. Pretty comforting to know. Fifth interesting fact: We were served flourless chocolate cake (gluten free) for dessert and it tasted amazing!
On the drive back to the McDonalds in San Jose we were entertained with commercials from the 1960s until the 2000s. I’d almost forgotten about some of them, what a great trip down memory lane. What a great trip in all to find that farm fresh really is what I’m providing my family with when I’m not able to give them a home cooked meal. Thanks Mom Central for this great opportunity, I’m still a city girl but don’t mind taking a trip to the country for something as amazing as this!
Just think of all the items you purchase from McDonald’s that have lettuce in them…..
Big Mac Premium McWrap Chicken & Ranch Premium Grilled Chicken BLT Sandwich Side Salad
Just to name a few!