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April Celebrations

April Brings Us:
Passover – April 15th sundown - April 23rd sundown
Easter - April 17, 2022
Earth Day - April 22, 2021
National Soy Month

Passover
This Jewish holiday is celebrated by Jewish people worldwide, and fresh produce plays an important role in this significant holiday. Passover usually falls around Easter Sunday, and this year Passover overlaps with Easter. Easter is Sunday, April 17th this year, and Passover will begin on April 15th at sundown. Passover commemorates the deliverance of the Jews from slavery in Egypt.

Passover is also known as the Festival of Unleavened Bread; in their flight into exile, the Hebrews had time to prepare only unleavened bread (matzo) to take with them. The holiday lasts one week. Families gather for a Seder for one primary night and often additional nights. Generally, it is the second night of Passover. A Seder is a feast filled with Passover traditions, including reading, singing, drinking wine and eating special foods.

Image of Passover soup with meatballs

In the center of the table at every Passover Seder is a plate arranged with foods symbolic of the holiday, almost like the popular charcuterie platter but with just a sample of the significant holiday foods. The only food on the plate that requires a recipe is charoset: a mixture of fruits, nuts and spices. Charoset represents the mortar the Jewish people made while laboring as enslaved people in Egypt. Melissa's offers a complete variety of fruits, nuts and spices to accommodate the variety of ways it is prepared in Jewish communities worldwide.

Wine is also served during the Seder and is used and drank throughout the service. Children are served grape juice so they, too, can participate. The evening's highlight is when the leader of the Seder hides the Afikoman, a piece of Passover Matzo used in the Seder, and the children have to search the home to find it. The child who finds it uses it to "bribe" the Seder leader who needs it to finish the service. He or she, in turn, gives the child a coin or a dollar bill. It is all in fun. The youngest child who can read is asked to read the FOUR QUESTIONS — these are simple questions explaining to the child and the group why we have Passover. Most services conducted in the home last from half an hour to one hour.

For a special Passover Seder, choose from a variety of Melissa's potatoes, boiler onions and fresh parsley for karpas; horseradish for chazeret and morror; and apple-pears for a unique charoset. To accompany pot roast and poultry dishes during the Seder dinner, try Melissa's Baby Red Potatoes, Pearl Onions, Celery Root and Parsley Root to enhance your meal. Baby beets are a great side or garnish for entrées. Fresh herbs and spices are popular for many Passover recipes, so be sure to have plenty on hand.

Easter
This year Easter is Sunday, April 17th. Typical Easter Sunday may consist of church, family and food. This year, Good Friday is April 15, 2022. Many people attend church on Good Friday in preparation for Easter the following Sunday.

Image of crepes

Plan your Easter menu around your favorite entrée like ham or lamb, potatoes, fresh peas, fresh herbs, spices and beautiful citrus for garnishes. Colorful salads using Melissa’s ready-to-use beets and artichokes are popular sides. Fresh fruit for dessert with homemade whipped cream is always popular. Prepare as much as possible in advance so you can enjoy the day.

Some fun trivia on Easter: Did you know the name "Easter" originated with the name of an ancient Goddess? Easter was named after Eostre. She was the Great Mother Goddess of the Saxon people of Northern Europe. Her name derives from the ancient word for spring, "eastre." The ancient Saxons celebrated the return of spring with a festival commemorating her. Easter was originally a pagan festival. The second-century Christian missionaries came across these pagans and decided to convert them to Christianity. They did it slowly, allowing them to continue celebrating their way, then slowly changing the holiday to a Christian holiday. Easter is celebrated by Christians worldwide with food and festivities.

Earth Day is April 22
Earth Day began in 1970 as an annual day to demonstrate support for environmental protection. There are events held worldwide to create awareness. Take a moment to think about how much waste you might produce, then try some of these simple solutions to help the earth for generations to come.

Some states have outlawed plastic straws. Buy a glass or metal straw and keep it handy for when you want to use a straw.

Some states have banned plastic grocery bags. Use your reusable bags to help cut down on wasteful plastic.

Recycle, recycle, recycle!
Don't forget to recycle your plastic, glass, newspapers and aluminum.

Save water
HAND SANITIZER! Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you want to clean your hands quickly. Especially now with COVID-19, hand sanitizer is a MUST. However, you still need to wash your hands thoroughly, so try to use less water when you do.

Take shorter showers.

Don't leave the water running when you brush your teeth or wash your hands.

Always have a full load when doing laundry.

Always fill the dishwasher before running the cycle.

Monitor your outdoor sprinklers; make sure they don't go on in the rain!

Don't use your hose to wash your driveway or sidewalk; use a broom and sweep.

Walk instead of drive, especially with the astronomical gas prices happening now!

If it is a quick, close errand, walk. Save gas and get some exercise, too!

Carpool
Save gas and traffic by carpooling to work or school.

Teach your children to respect the world, and it will be a better place for everyone!

National Soy Month
Soy has become a trendy food in today's food scene. Ten years ago, soy products were generally only available at health food markets or nutrition stores. Today, you can find soy products in your local supermarkets, and plenty of them! You can even find soy products at fast-food restaurants used in dishes like Impossible burgers — plant-based and delicious!

Image of Soyrizo

Soybeans are a subtropical plant native to Asia, where they have been a dietary staple for over 5,000 years. Soy was introduced to the United States in the 1800s, and soy cultivation began during World War ll.

Soy is an excellent protein source, making it the perfect alternative for someone who doesn't eat meat, like vegetarians or vegans. Melissa's has a full line of soy products, including several types of tofu, edamame with or without the shell, Soy Taco, Soy Ground, Soy Cheese and Soyrizo. Yum!

During National Soy Month, try something new and tasty featuring soy products. Even fast-food chains are hopping on the vegan bandwagon. Some offer plant-based soy products, and others are just plant-based, but it’s definitely gaining popularity. And make sure you check out your local retailer… you will be surprised at how many new soy items are available in the marketplace. Take one step closer to a healthier lifestyle by incorporating more soy into your diet this month.



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