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Burlingame Produce Goes Back to School

Get your child's new school year off to a healthy start at this one-stop back-to-school shop.

Remember that feeling on your first day of elementary school each year? How you aren't sure which you're more excited for--to show off your new clothes and the latest TrapperKeeper or to see who your teacher will be and who is in your class?

It's a cocktail of excitement, nerves, hope of a fresh start, relief to see old friends, anticipation of upcoming challenges--sometimes served straight up, others on the rocks, some with a twist.

Mom wakes you up, adrenaline gets you out of bed, enthusiasm carries you to school. Once you get there everything is shiny and new. Classrooms smell like new carpet with a hint of fresh paint. The rulers and erasers on the desks are clean and unmarked, the name tags crisp and upright. And the excitement lasts through morning - and depending on your class, through the afternoon - until you realize the long nine month haul that awaits you.

What's this? What's this quivering emptiness in my stomach? What's this mild strain in my heart? What's this weight suddenly on my shoulders? Dread. Dread that there are nine months of early mornings, homework, tests, bullies, conferences, report cards...

On the other side of those nerves, parents beam with excitement and pride as they see their child off to the first day of school. Backpack packed the night before and hanging by the front door, class list and emergency papers signed and ready to go and the determination to make this year the year to stay organized is fully stocked. Sure, some dread may set in - probably similar dread to their child's, really - but there's also the excitement of a fresh start, of new waves of inspiration and creativity and a little more life experience under their child's tiny belt.

Compound those first-day-of-school-jitters with the pressures of newly set standards for child education, health and safety, and a parent has a lot on their shoulders. Thanks to the steadfast Let's Move campaign driven by the First Lady Michelle Obama, childhood obesity has become a primary focus of schools nationwide. (I just want to throw out there that perhaps my favorite part of the mission of the Let's Move campaign is that it blatantly calls out common sense - something that is frighteningly in short supply these days it seems. Without making this a political piece, I'll just highly encourage you to take a closer look at the Let's Move website.) I digress.

Thankfully, the world - or at least, Burlingame - has been listening, and with the increased frequency and number of , in addition to the opening of various produce markets nearby, it is now easier than ever to send a healthy, wholesome lunch to school with your child. Back when I was in elementary school (about a thousand years ago), kids were mocked for having carrot sticks over Doritos or grapes over M&Ms.

Now, I'd hate to see how vicious kids would be for witnessing a classmate pull (gasp!) "processed junk foods" from their crumpled paper bags...wait, those are out now, too. I mean from their plastic Saturday morning cartoon emblazoned lunchbox...wait, those are gone, too. I mean from their eco-friendly cold-pak lunch bags.

Enter Burlingame Produce on Lorton Avenue. It is quite honestly a one-stop back-to-school shop. First thing's first, grab a cup of freshly and individually brewed Blue Bottle Coffee. If you have an extra minute or two, order something foamtastic like a non-fat latte and they'll top if off with a surprise picture in the foam, like a heart, a fern frond or a smiley face.

While you're there, a freshly baked and delivered daily pastry makes for a perfect treat to bring to teacher (though maybe an apple is more hip nowadays, or you could go all Ralphie on teacher and get a whole fruit basket).

Piled high in a natural cascade, gorgeous organic fruits and vegetables light up the room. With plenty of versions of the basics to choose from, Burlingame Produce also offers the often harder-to-find produce like fresh okra, purple cauliflower and tomatillos; whatever is the freshest and in season. And with Autumn just around the corner, keep an eye out for those deliciously dark stone fruits like dates and plums, and the nutritious root vegetables like beets, parsnips and sweet potatoes.

In addition to local organic produce, Burlingame Produce also carries a variety of imports you're not likely to find many places in the area. Items like jarred grape leaves from Greece, canned sardines from Italy and olive oils from around the globe. A varied selection of artisan cheeses and a variety of organic milk and yogurt sits near the back of the store near the deli.

Gluten intolerant? Then keep an eye out for the extensive variety of gluten-free products throughout.

Oh the deli. We all know by now how . House sandwiches like the roast beef, a "melt-in-your-mouth good" pastrami, the buzz-generating crab, and a Vietnamese Pork, the sandwiches are globally inspired and made with local ingredients.

So put that dread behind you, get excited, and start your child's school year off on the right foot with a healthy lunch, and a time-saving trip to Burlingame Produce. This will be your year.

Good luck, happy - healthy - eating.

Ana Lucia Novak August 28, 2011 at 05:57 PM
Burlingame Produce is my favorite one stop shop for fresh veggies, fruits, specialty items, but mostly, I love drinking Blue Bottle coffee and eating the Pulled Pork sandwich. Yum! It's a great place to surf the net, catch up on reading, people watch, and the staff treats you like family!

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