Dole Food & Wellness Blogger Summit

by Marla on November 29, 2010 · 45 comments

Follow Me on Pinterest

Food Bloggers visit Dole corporate headquarters to learn about brand.

One of the perks of my job as a food writer, recipe developer & blogger is trips to learn & eat & spa. Yes, I said eat and I said spa. Myself & a group of fab bloggers gazed upon this image of a fruit bowl as we munched al fresco breakfastin sunny Westlake Village, California for a trip to Dole.

Nude women oil paintings in spa foyer at Four Seasons Hotel

These paintings epitomize wellness & beauty. What is one of the biggest ways to achieve that?  A healthy diet filled with fruits and veggies. This artwork can be found adorning the walls at the giant spa within the California Health & Longevity Institute inside the Four Seasons hotel. This institute is located across the street from the Dole headquarters. They started it to help educate people on a life full of wellness & nutrition.

Dole Wellness & Nutrition Institute in the Four Seasons hotel

From the moment we stepped foot into the world of Dole we were kept busy with information on the companies history, mission and current projects. Blogging trips are mixed with education, fun & mixed opinions. It is always interesting to discuss food with bloggers & to hear the brands promote their products & ideas. Dole is a giant company that corners the market with fruit & vegetable growing and imports.

Food Blogger Dole Summit trip to the spa

I found myself mesmerized by the vintage textiles throughout the hotel. My background is in textile design so I felt the urge to take photos of the wall papers and fabrics. And then I needed to re-color them because thats how I roll.

Food bloggers visit Dole Headquarters & Wellness Center

The schedule for the day included cooking demos, information about Dole products, tastings, a blogger cook-off and a blissful spa treatment and life balance treatment at the hotel spa. I had a massage (well needed) & my first acupuncture treatment. I have to say the needles freaked my out a bit – especially the ones in my tummy.

Health & Longevity institute at the Four Seasons Hotel

Learning & Re-Comfirming the Obvious

At Family Fresh Cooking I always encourage you to eat healthy, whole food ingredients. The fresher, the better. Real food Fast-Not Fast Food. Hence, the self portrait I have floating around everywhere.

Business with Family Fresh Cooking Marla Meridith

It was fun to learn from the folks at Dole. The company has a long history of growing fruits and veggies. Below I have listed a few points to remember when choosing your fruits and veggies.

Food Blogger trip to Dole headquarters in Westlake Village LA

  • Eat the rainbow: Fill your plates & recipes with as many colors of fruits & veggies you can. Within those beautiful hues lies many different vitamins & minerals unique to that piece of produce.
  • Organic: Source organic ingredients when you can find them & they are affordable. Dole is the largest importer of organic bananas. We are bananas for that over here.
  • Volume: Fill your plates with mostly veggies, then add small amounts of protein & healthy fats to add flavor & help satisfy.
  • Portion control: Read labels & pay attention to portion sizes when it comes to your proteins and fats. Remember the proper size of animal protein is a deck of cards. A single serving of full fat cheese is one ounce.
  • Measure: To learn proper portion sizes don’t be shy to use a kitchen scale. I do.
  • Balance: If you have a 3-4 ounce piece of fuller fat steak or burger perhaps skip the cheese. If you go with a chicken breast, eat the cheese. Play around with ratios & be mindful.

Breakfast at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles California,

Follow Dole for Updates

Here are a few ways you can keep up on new product information and health & wellness tips.

  • @dolenutrition– serves as Dole’s corporate handle, incorporating Dole Food Company, Inc., Dole Fresh Fruit and the Dole Nutrition Institute.
  • @DOLESaladGuide – serves as Dole Fresh Vegetables’ handle.

There are three DOLE Facebook accounts:

Bloggers Who Attended

It is always wonderful to spend time with great friends & colleagues. These gals work their tails off to bring us fabulous recipes, gorgeous photos & divine inspiration daily! Here are their blogs and @Twitter handles.

Marla Meridith with food blog friends at blogger trip.

Link Up Your Dole Posts Here


Family Fresh Cooking Full Disclosure: This trip including the meals, spa treatments & post were sponsored by Dole. The opinions expressed are my own and should be taken as such. The content for this blog are carefully selected to fit the overall message of our mission.

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amanda November 29, 2010 at 6:27 am

Looks like a fantastic time filled with great information!



2 Maria November 29, 2010 at 6:30 am

LOVE your recap! Not sure I love the one photo of me though-I look less than thrilled…ha!!! So glad you were able to meet Josh. Now you have to come ski in Utah!!! We are waiting for you!! Love ya girl!


3 Rosa November 29, 2010 at 7:54 am

A great event! You must have had lots of fun.




4 Jenny Flake November 29, 2010 at 8:37 am

Love your re-cap girl! Such a fun event, so glad we could hang out. Looking forward to seeing you this week! xoxox


5 Kelly Lester November 29, 2010 at 8:56 am

Stunning post as usual Marla. Besides your gorgeous pics and cool graphics, there’s a wonderful wealth of info and resources here I’ll be sharing with my readers. The cherry on top though – your fabulous aqua cowboy boots. You’re a total foodie fashionista!


6 Marla November 29, 2010 at 9:10 am

Kelly: Of course you noticed my aqua cowboy boots! Thanks for the love :) Got ’em back in NYC a number of years ago. Dang I love cowboy boots & cherries!

Jenny: Always a treat to see you to my friend. So happy we live close to one another.

Maria: You were just deep in thought right?? Looks like you & Josh were heavily concentrating on that nutrition talk, yes? xo

Amanda: This event would have been even better with you there!


7 Damaris @Kitchen Corners November 29, 2010 at 9:14 am

what a fun trip! i love rachel, la fuji mama, these trips always sounds like a good time because you get to meet like minded people and talk shop.


8 theUngourmet November 29, 2010 at 9:29 am

Such a fun and informative trip. Great photos!


9 Chris @nestlefoodie November 29, 2010 at 9:42 am

Marla, great recap! I didn’t realize your background was in textiles…I studied textiles/interior design too! I see that you met Donna Skidmore – head of Dole kitchens – she is wonderful! I use Dole products all the time, even in Nestle recipes. Great company!

BTW, love your green boots!!


10 judy meridith November 29, 2010 at 10:15 am

looks like you had a lot of fun with everyone. I, too loved the cowboy boots. Cute.


11 FoodFitnessFreshair November 29, 2010 at 10:18 am

Ah so much fun! Does Dole sponsor these trips? Love the message of filling up on fruits and veggies…you really can’t go wrong there! Did they talk at all about any organic initiatives?


12 Marla November 29, 2010 at 10:24 am

Grace: Dole is the largest importer of organic bananas. That was the clearest message I go regarding organics. I too would like to learn more about their other organic initiatives.

Chris: I bet you guys come up with some great recipes combining the Nestle & Dole brands.

Damaris: Love Rachael! She is a great friend with a great sense of wit & soooo fun to be around. Her blog & recipes are fabulous.


13 Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking November 29, 2010 at 10:21 am

What an incredible retreat – you were so lucky to have participated! Thanks for sharing these wonderful pictures and all about your experience. I really love those blue boots you wore – super fun!


14 Shaina November 29, 2010 at 11:40 am

It was great seeing you again, and I still love your boots. You totally rocked them!


15 Angie's Recipes November 29, 2010 at 11:55 am

What a great recap! I bet you ladies had some fun time!


16 Jennifer (Savor) November 29, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Aweosme recap – I am almost done with Part 2 of mine! Hope to see you again soon


17 Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. November 29, 2010 at 2:29 pm

This trip looked like it was a blast! Can’t wait to go on with you one day soon!


18 Marla November 29, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Alison: I know one day soon, hopefully in 2011 we will connect for real. We connect all the time in every other way!

Anna: I say a blogger trip to Australia!


19 Anna Johnston November 29, 2010 at 3:29 pm

Fantastic write up of an awesome event, thanks for sharing & introducing us to all these fab bloggers.


20 A Canadian Foodie November 29, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Another wonderful opportunity for you, Marla. As a member of Slow Food International, I am concerned that large corporations like this are mindful of the environment and their workers. Is the fruit good, clean and fair? That is, chemical free, farmed and produced with properly paid employees and is the farming environment respected in maintained in a sustainable fashion? I am such a buy local kind of gal… but understand we do not grow pineapple here, but do love to eat it. Yet, the power of these mega producers reduces the opportunity for so many small farms to thrive. That is a grave concern of mine in this time on our planet. Did you find out any information about these questions?


21 Marla November 30, 2010 at 5:22 am

Valerie: I always love your well thought out and educated comments. Dole does indeed provide many opportunities to communities around the world with health, economical & sustainable farming practices. They mentioned one particular city in Honduras that is virtually supported entirely by Dole job offerings & farming. I agree, local is always best & I too would love to support each & every small farmer & food artisan. I guess what it comes down to is balance. We can all only do our best & try to make the most informed choices for what is good for our budgets and families. Here is the link to Dole’s Social Responsibility mission:


22 Kelsey/TheNaptimeChef November 29, 2010 at 5:43 pm

I know those gals! What a fun trip, glad you all enjoyed the fun break. :)


23 Daydreamer Desserts November 29, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Great recap Marla, you are definitely a Dole poster child if I ever saw one! 😉


24 Kristen November 29, 2010 at 6:32 pm

What a great recap – definitley one of my fave’s that I’ve read so far. As always, love your pics!


25 Philip November 29, 2010 at 8:03 pm

this is great and nice ….. DOLE gives big opportunity to the farmers… what are other products that DOLE produces?


26 Gena November 30, 2010 at 4:39 am

Awesome recap Marla! It was so nice meeting you.


27 A Canadian Foodie November 30, 2010 at 6:27 am

I appreciate your response, and the link… thank you! :) Have you read The Omnivor’s Dilemma by Michael Pollen? Love that book!


28 Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather November 30, 2010 at 6:28 am

What a fun time! I’d be a bit scared by the needles too.


29 Faith November 30, 2010 at 7:07 am

What a fantastic summit, Marla! Such an important message…and I love their incorporation of spa into wellness! So true, and yet it’s something I often forget in my tendency to focus solely on food and exercise. Our bodies need time to relax and rejuvinate too though! By the way, I’m in love with those gorgeous textiles!


30 Nicole, RD November 30, 2010 at 7:20 am

Gorgeous! I agree…F&V’s all the way…and lots of’em!!


31 SMITH BITES November 30, 2010 at 7:42 am

I remember watching an Oprah show about the founder of Dole and being so impressed with his passion and life’s work; he started this foundation because his wife died from cancer and in his research discovered the health benefits of veggies and fruit every day. Great recap Marla!


32 Megan November 30, 2010 at 8:13 am

What a fun trip and with so many fabulous bloggers! Thanks for sharing!


33 Angie November 30, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Hey girl! That sounds like work and fun. Love the photos.


34 My Man's Belly November 30, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Sounds like a good time was had by all.


35 Lesley Miller November 30, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Great post, Marla! I love seeing what brands are doing. It’s so helpful for me, and you covered the trip beautifully. I want to hear more about that acupuncture treatment though… :)


36 Alisa Cooks November 30, 2010 at 4:35 pm

What a fabulous trip! Great to see all of these blogger events.


37 Heather at Multiply Delicious November 30, 2010 at 7:51 pm

What a fabulous recap Marla! Sounds like an amazing trip and so much valuable information learned about Dole. Great pictures too…and those boots!! FAB!! Love them!


38 Mariko November 30, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Nice. Looks really fun. And yes. I totally agree — eat your fruits and veggies! I actually have a way easier time with my veggies than my fruit. No idea why.
And it looks like you were in good company especially. That’s the best part.
Uh, yeah. I think I would have also been freaking out about needles in my stomach. Yiiiiikes. It didn’t hurt? Really?


39 Marla December 1, 2010 at 4:41 am

Mariko: Well, really-yes those needles kind of did hurt. I kept trying to convince myself that they didn’t. The therapist left the room for 20 minutes for the treatment to do it’s thing & I kept trying to talk myself out of having a panic attack! If I moved the slightest I felt those suckers. Wish you were there with us-you would have been a great addition to the group :) I too have a much easier time with my veggies than fruit. Fruit can be too sweet for me. Veggies are 70% of all my meals. xo


40 Jaden December 2, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Oh you guys had a blast!!!!!


41 Marly December 5, 2010 at 9:43 pm

That looks like it was a lot of fun! I love your motto – eat real food fast rather than fast food. Also, I’m so jealous you got to meet Kathy from Finding Vegan/Lunchboxbunch. She and I have chatted via email and I’m going to be interviewing her over the phone soon, but would love to meet her in person. Looks like you got to meet lots of great people at this conference. Love your site – looking forward to returning!


42 Rachel December 6, 2010 at 7:51 am

Simply beautiful post, I really liked it. Thanks for sharing the post.


Leave a Comment

{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: