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Dole Hosts First-Ever FRESH Fest at North Carolina Research Campus

To mark the end of the summer-long Get Up and Grow Tour across North America, Dole invited Blogger Ambassadors, Registered Dietitians and healthy eating enthusiasts to the first-ever FRESH Fest at the North Carolina Research Campus, home of the Dole Nutrition Institute’s research laboratory. FRESH Fest, which stands for Finding Reasons to Eat Simply Healthy, was a celebration of fruits and vegetables and an opportunity for Dole’s nutrition partners to explore and learn more about Dole’s efforts in nutrition research.

The three-day event kicked off with a healthy, chef-inspired dinner at Blue Restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina. Though the menu for the event featured plenty of produce, vegan options and nutrient-dense selections, Chef Gene Briggs emphasized that not much needed to be changed from Blue’s typical gourmet offerings, which center on fruits, vegetables and healthy foods.

On day two, Dole’s guests were treated to an early morning yoga session to kick off the day on an energized note. After a wholesome breakfast, the group traveled to the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis to get a first-hand look at how the Dole Nutrition Institute conducts scientific research on fruits and vegetables and their connection to health. The visit began with a presentation from Nicholas Gillitt, PhD, Vice President Nutrition Research. Dr. Nick discussed how Dole’s research team investigates the nutritional properties of fruits and vegetables in the lab and partners with universities on the campus to explore the effects of diet and exercise on human health. Highlights of the presentation were a discussion of Dole’s well-known 2012 study finding bananas as a natural alternative to sports drinks during exercise, a recently published study on how antioxidants may work in the body, and breaking new results from a research project on bananas that is currently underway.

Other activities of the day included a tour of the research labs, including the Dole Lab and Appalachian State’s Human Performance Laboratory in which attendees got a hands-on experience testing their power on exercise bikes. The visit to NCRC also included a nutrient-packed lunch at Restaurant 46; a tasting of new Dole products including DOLE Take Aways’, DOLE Premium Celery Hearts, DOLE Chopped Pomegranate Salad Kit and DOLE Chopped Poppy Seed Salad Kit; and a boot camp exercise class hosted by Fresh Start Connection.

The day concluded back at the Dunhill Hotel in Charlotte with a culinary demonstration from Dole’s Chef Mark Allison. Chef Mark showed how easy and fast it can be to prepare healthy, delicious and eye-catching dishes that will both impress and nourish friends and family. After a produce-filled dinner, participants had fun competing in Dole Jeopardy, which tested their fruit, vegetable and nutrition knowledge.

You can read more about Dole’s FRESH Fest from our Blogger Ambassadors. For the latest breaking research from the Dole Nutrition Lab, keep reading the Dole Nutrition News every month.

Published October 1, 2015

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