The cur­rent world cri­sis has revved up the power of Insta­gram, Face­book and Twit­ter plat­forms.

We’ve been humored by the cop­ing skills of par­ents, kids, teach­ers and stay-​at– home telecom­muters.

Uplift­ing sto­ries, videos and images lend bright­ness to oth­er­wise dark days.

We’ve seen health care work­ers being applauded in the streets. Fam­ily mem­bers in iso­la­tion have been shown on oppo­site sides of win­dow panes dis­play­ing devo­tion.

Total strangers are reach­ing out with meals, sup­plies and gro­ceries to neigh­bors in need. Good deeds are cap­tured on smart­phones and video cam­eras for the world to witness.

Read more: Stay­ing Connected →

Much has been writ­ten about these stay at home days. Inter­net jokes abound of free snack­ing and mind­less eat­ing our way through the cri­sis.

Also on the radar is the not so funny real­ity about true hair col­ors com­ing to light, post self-​distancing.

One truth is that self care comes in many forms. In the wake of stay­ing healthy, there are mul­ti­ple ways to nour­ish, soothe, com­fort and pam­per.

Tak­ing vit­a­mins and sup­ple­ments is an act of self-​care. Stay­ing on top of daily require­ments is a sim­ple, sin­gu­lar thing that may indeed pro­vide some immu­nity insur­ance.

Main­tain­ing a diet rich in fruits, veg­eta­bles, pro­teins and whole foods is a nec­es­sary prac­tice dur­ing stress­ful times. Stress eat­ing car­ries a num­ber of faults that derail healthy outcomes.

Read more: Self Care →

We mean the film, not the actual day when some crit­ter in Penn­syl­va­nia comes out to pre­dict the weather.

The iconic cult clas­sic is a movie in which the main char­ac­ter, bril­liantly played by Bill Mur­ray, is caught in a time warp.

His guy relives the worst day of his life, over and over. Part of the premise is around the self-​absorbed and arro­gant behav­ior of Phil Con­ners. With­out any con­se­quence, he indulges in reck­less activ­i­ties.

Cut to 2020 and the COVID-​19 cri­sis. Every day we wake up to more dis­mal news, climb­ing sta­tis­tics and what looks to be a repeat of the day before.

The cur­rent spell hangs over every per­son, every busi­ness and every agency. We are des­per­ate to break the cycle.

Stay­ing con­nected with oth­ers is a chal­lenge as mil­lions fol­low man­dates to shel­ter in place. The human spirit is tamped down with­out the pow­er­ful forces of touch, kind­ness and compassion.

Read more: Ground­hog Day →

Tech­nol­ogy has risen to the occa­sion when it comes to keep­ing us con­nected in these days of “social distancing”.

Online shop­ping and pick-​up ser­vices have enjoyed a surge in demand at retail.

Once we move past the COVID-​19 cri­sis, it will remain to be seen how this retail shop­ping seg­ment fares.

Restau­rants of all lev­els of ser­vice (fast casual to high end, white linen) have been hard hit in keep­ing the doors open. Ones that can offer curb­side pickup or take out, are being cre­ative in adapt­ing menus.

Feed­ing con­sumers is deemed an essen­tial ser­vice. Restau­rants have been there for our cel­e­bra­tions. Every mile­stone– birth­day, anniver­sary, retire­ment or pro­mo­tion feels spe­cial when enjoyed at a favorite din­ing place.

To those who are the reg­u­lar week­night home cooks, din­ing out is a big reward. The break from the norm gives an indi­vid­ual a chance to relax and be “waited on”.

Din­ing out typ­i­cally gives choices not usu­ally in the home meal plan rota­tion. Fewer choices is new norm. Picky eaters are with­out their favorite go to.

Read more: Curb Appeal →

Even though straw­ber­ries are grown year-​round in Cal­i­for­nia, it seems like we appre­ci­ate them more when they are at peak of sea­son.

Inclement weather this year has kept us guess­ing as to when the robust strawberry-​producing regions around the state will see some good spring vol­umes.

From San Diego to Mon­terey (Watsonville/​Salinas), Cal­i­for­nia has sev­eral straw­berry vari­eties in com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion. Each one has its own char­ac­ter­is­tics, advan­tages and har­vest time.

Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia sci­en­tists have bred straw­berry qual­ity stan­dards for size, firm­ness, shelf life, yield, and resis­tance to dis­ease. By name, some vari­eties include Aro­mas, Camarosa, Camino Real, Chan­dler and Ven­tana.

Con­sumers usu­ally never see the vari­etal named, but we know what we like. Sup­ple, juicy, sweet-​tart berries that make us grate­ful for short­cake, waf­fles and chocolate.

Read more: Oh Berry! →

Every day is Earth Day in the demand­ing world of agri­cul­ture. Today’s farm­ers are keenly aware of the value of water, soil and clean air.

These irre­place­able assets are essen­tial to pro­vid­ing for our food secu­rity. Sus­tain­able farm­ing prac­tices con­nect the dots for farm­ers and the land and sur­round­ing nat­ural habi­tats.

The future of food and that of the planet are insep­a­ra­ble. What we choose to grow, how we grow it and what we want to eat in the future deeply influ­ence the nat­ural envi­ron­ment.

It’s been sug­gested that adopt­ing one of three (Mediter­ranean, pescatar­ian or veg­e­tar­ian) dietary plans would not only improve human health fac­tors (Type 2 dia­betes, can­cer and heart dis­ease) but would also pos­i­tively affect envi­ron­men­tal impact.

Data is stack­ing up to sup­port the links between diet-​health-​environmental challenges.

Read more: Earth Days →