Fresh cherries from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Montana
Photo: Provided by The Northwest Cherry Growers
Photo: Provided by The Northwest Cherry Growers

Buy This: Three things to pack in your lunch bag whether it’s for office or school 

Back to school. Back to the office. A healthy treat in your lunch is just that - a treat. We’ve got three ideas for you. 

Fresh cherries from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Montana 

There are 2,100 growers in the Northwestern United States busily picking cherries so you can enjoy this luscious late summer snack. At our house we are crazy about fresh cherries, and the fact that the season is limited just means we have to jump when the cherries start arriving. You should see Northwestern cherries at market now through the end of August and the growers tell us the cherries you buy today got to the grocery store within two days of being picked. Look for cherries that still have their stems attached and refrigerate them right away. Then rinse just before eating. This year we’re packing little bags of cherries as a treat for lunch, and we’re dehydrating some (just rinse, halve, pit and dehydrate cut side up until they’re leathery but still moist) to extend the season just a little bit longer. 

More information at nwcherries.com

Val’s Kale Chips

Val’s Kale Chips 

In Fayetteville, Valerie Burroughs spends almost every day massaging curly kale with a puree of cashews, herbs and spices so you can enjoy her delicate chips and know you are having a healthy snack. The seasoned kale is dehydrated, not fried, and the result is a crunchy snack that’s low in sodium and fat. With only about 55 calories in a snack-size bag, it’s low calorie as well. Val’s Kale Chips are available in five flavors: original, garlic, ginger spice, spicy curry and sweet garlic. She sells bigger bags, too, but these snack-size bags are just right for tucking into lunches or keeping on hand for any time you need a quick snack that will fuel you instead of weighing you down. 

$2.99 per .5-ounce bag. Available at Grant Park, Heritage Sandy Springs and Brookhaven farmers markets. Check Val’s Kale Chips website and social media to be sure of dates she will be at each market. valskale.com/

Cheesy Crackers from R. W. Garcia

Cheesy Crackers from R. W. Garcia 

Robert William Garcia started R. W. Garcia in the 1980s in Santa Cruz, California,with a plan to make great tortilla chips and sell them out of the family van. Now the third generation of the Garcia family is making chips and crackers they sell around the world. We tried their Cheesy Crackers and it’s official. We’re addicted. These crackers are made with corn, cheese and cassava flour so they’re gluten free, but for those of us not eating gluten-free, they are still a real treat. If you and the kids love salty, crunchy snacks, you’ll all enjoy these. The 5.5-ounce box holds just over 5 servings and we recommend you make up little snack packs as soon as you open the box or you’ll find yourself doing what we did, munching on cracker after cracker until before you know it, half the box is gone. 

$4.99 per 5.5-ounce box. Available at Kroger. rwgarcia.com/ 

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