Golden and green squash, bright orange pumpkins and apples in shades of red, yellow and green -- a visit to the produce department of our local grocery stores is like looking at a still life painting. Nowadays, we can get strawberries from South America in December, tropical fruits in midwinter, but there's something about harvest time that fills our hearts with gladness. Maybe it is the fall nip in the air or the slant of the sun. After a summer of salads and light meals, it is satisfying to have a pot of soup simmering or a hearty stew filling the house with tempting scent.
Apples are not only good to look at, but also good for you. They are fat-, sodium- and cholesterol-free, and a medium apple has only about 80 calories. They consist of lots of fiber and antioxidants, which help prevent disease. There are 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the United States and 7,500 varieties worldwide. Apples are the second most valuable fruit crop in the United States, topped only by oranges. The average U.S. consumer eats 42.2 pounds of apples and apple products a year, 62 percent as fresh fruit. The red and yellow delicious varieties are the most widely grown apple in the United States.
Top apple producing states are Washington, New York, Michigan and California -- even though we think of California as growing oranges. The apple blossom is Michigan's state flower. China is the world's top apple producer.
So, bite into a crispy apple today -- it's one of the few things you can eat without feeling guilty.
Payson Senior Center
The Alzheimer's Support Group will meet from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20 at the Senior Center, 514 W. Main St. The meeting is open to family members and friends coping with loved ones afflicted with Alzheimer's disease. There is no charge to attend.
Blood sugar and blood pressure testing is done at the center from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. the second Tuesday of each month. No appointment is needed and there is no charge for the tests.
Bob Lawson is the Volunteer of the Month for October. Bob and his wife, Nadine, have been active in the Senior Center for several years.
You can help the center when shopping at Bashas' by using your "Thank You" card and designating a percentage of your total bill for the senior center. You need register only once, and it can be done at the checkout counter. The center's number is 23290.
Poker has been added to the games you can play afternoons at the center. Bridge and canasta are scheduled on Monday; Rumikube and pinochle on Tuesday; Rumikube and bridge, Wednesday; canasta and poker on Thursday; and pinochle and hand and foot, Friday.
Tomorrow, Oct. 19, is the October Birthday celebration. The menu includes stuffed pork loin, sweet potatoes, spinach, dinner roll, birthday cake and beverage. Cost of the meal is $3 for members, $4.50 for non-members and those under the age of 60.
Membership is always open at the center. For information, call (928) 474-4876.
The Senior Thrift Store, 512 W. Main Street, is having a closeout sale on remaining Halloween merchandise. The store is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Looking for a gift for that hard-to-buy-for friend or relative? The Thrift Store has gift certificates in denominations of your choice.
Payson Regional Senior Circle
The Senior Circle, 215 N. Beeline Highway, offers a number of health events and support programs.
The fibromyalgia support group meets the second and fourth Friday of each month from 10:30 to noon. There is no charge to attend.
Massage therapy is offered every Thursday by appointment from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Call (928) 472-9290 for an appointment.
A support group for sufferers of Restless Leg Syndrome meets the third Saturday every other month. Call the circle for the next meeting date.
Rim Country Writers is a new group for beginning and experienced writers interested in learning more about fiction and nonfiction writing and how to get works published. Meetings are the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. For more information or to reserve a spot, call (928) 468-9269.
The Senior Circle needs medical equipment donated for the Medical Loan Closet. Wheelchairs, walkers with wheels, bedside commodes and other medical equipment is loaned free of charge to those who cannot afford these items. Donations may be made from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
Library Friends of Payson
Volunteers are needed for the free homebound program to provide library books to individuals who are unable to get to the library. For information, call coordinator Carol Breen at (928) 468-8670.
Volunteers are also needed to work with teens preparing for their GED tests. Call Patty Urch at (928) 472-4513 to learn more about the program.
The Payson Public Library has received a grant to augment services to the local Hispanic community. The grant will be used for staff training, book purchases and the Cinco de Mayo festival.
"October is the jewel set in the hand of time. It is nothing to pass carelessly, and every bright hour must be cherished."
("The Stillmeadow Road" by Gladys Taber)