Dole Summit, Day 2 & 3: Impressions and Shenanigans

Greeting from Brussels! I have been in Belgium since Thursday and hope to start recapping that (and all the glorious food) soon. I didn’t have back-to-back California and overseas trips. I’m just slow to do recaps.  Please forgive me. 

This is my last post on the Dole Summit, but if you have any questions about any of the recipes (which you can find here), products, or general experience, feel free to ask in the comments or email me directly at


One of our last planned activities during the second day of the Dole Summit included learning about how dietitians are being used in grocery stores to help consumers make healthier choices.

We also took a trip to a local grocery store to talk about produce we like and produce we didn’t like and learned specifically the benefits of each.

Do you know what I grabbed as my favorite and least favorite produce(I couldn’t find pineapples)?

Favorite – Strawberries
It was a tough call between strawberries and apples, but I couldn’t find my favorite type of apple so I went with strawberries. 

Least Favorite – Radishes
I don’t really hate radishes per se, I think I’m just at a loss as to what to do with them, especially after receiving multiple bunches in my weekly CSA shares.  There just aren’t enough things to do with radishes! 

If you know anything about me, you probably know that I absolutely love scoping out new grocery stores, so this whole experience was a lot of fun. We also did an interesting activity where we picked our favorite “healthy” cereal and then lined up according to calories and then according to the healthiness of the first ingredient (whether the word “whole”, as in whole wheat for example, was a descriptor), and also by sugar content.

Then, it was time for my very favorite part of the summit — we got one complimentary spa treatment at our hotel’s spa, which was bea-U-tiful. I had the very first facial of my entire life and it was absolutely glorious.  I will not be going another 29 years without having another one, that’s for sure. Of course, I didn’t take my camera into the spa area, but take my word for it, it was amazing. My next facial has a lot to live up to.

After a bit of R&R at the spa, I was off to dinner where I joined all the blogger ladies at the bar at The Onyx, a restaurant in the hotel. Dole had developed their own cocktails for the event, which was being served at the bar.  But you know me;I rarely do cocktails.  I ordered a glass of the Pinot Noir instead, which was excellent.

The decor of the restaurant was intimate, modern, and very chic with a lot of nature inspired decor.

I especially loved the aquarium behind the bar.

The dinner was super fun and yummy.  We were served several different dishes and shared everything family style, including fish, tofu, and chicken dishes. I had such a great time chatting, I took the meal off from snapping photos and instead worked on making connections (and sweet talking my way into getting a Yonanas :))

And after dinner…

Yeah, well that’s where the shenanigans come in.

You see, the past two days all of us had been eyeing this room in the hotel that was set up to show a mock wedding reception. The room was basically a mini-reception with only one table and all of these extravagant decorations.

We called it “the wedding room”.

And at this point in the evening, it was just too tempting.

So a few of us grabbed a bottle of champagne and four glasses and “broke into” the wedding room.

And by broke in I mean we walked right in and sat down like we owned the place. We kept seeing people walk by, knowing that at any minute the hotel staff would ask us to leave their display room, but it never happened.

I’ve never claimed to be well behaved.

The next day included a wonderful breakfast from the Dole employee cafeteria and then we learned about Dole the company from a Human Resources rep.

I have to say that after her presentation, I was very impressed with Dole as a company. From hiring teachers to relocate to Honduras to creating most of Honduras’ infrastructure, Dole has done a lot to improve the lives of the people in the countries where they farm their products.

The most touching story she told was about the desk shown in the photo above. Dole sends their wooden pallats to a cooperative in the Philippines which turns the materials into school desks and church pews.  Dole then donates these desks and pews to schools and churches in the Southern Mindanao area of the Philippines.  In turn, the schools and churches agree to plant a tree per X number of desks.  Dole provides the tree seedlings and holds a tree planting ceremony for the organization.  They do this because the school is in the Philippines do not have enough resources for all of the children in their schools. You can read more about the Chair to Tree program on Dole’s Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability website, as well as other programs that focus on the sustainability of the environment and the communities where they farm.

A big thank you to Dole for providing me with the opportunity to learn about your products and how you operate as a company, as well as a chance to meet the awesome ladies that attended the summit with me, which included:

 **Dole picked up the tab for my involvement in the Dole Summit and all travel costs.  However, I was not compensated for my time there and am not being compensated for any related posts. All opinions (as always) are my own.**