Remember when you were a kid, how excited you’d get as your birthday drew near? You could hardly sleep, anticipating all the special things that were on the horizon. 

That’s how we’ve been for the last few weeks here at Oldways, as we’ve been anticipating the arrival of Whole Grain Sampling Day on the first Wednesday in April. Luckily for us, we haven’t had to wait all the way until the Big Day (tomorrow! April 2!) because things are already beginning to happen. Take a look at some of the early buzz, and make your own plans for how you’ll celebrate Whole Grain Sampling Day.

Our first two Whole Grains Ambassador bloggers have already weighed in. Meghan Malloy, at Travel Wine Dine, started her blog with words to warm our hearts: “With so many people giving up carbs (again) these days, I think it’s really important to remember the benefits that carbs like whole grains can offer in our diets.” And Leslie Mayorga, of Leslie Loves Veggies, told readers she’s been on the whole grain bandwagon for 25 years. Love it. Twenty more bloggers will be talking up whole grains and WGSD for us, so check out their posts this week.

We’ve also gotten some great early press. On Monday, the Huffington Post’s Ellen Kanner wrote about our WGSD plans and partners and included a fun recipe (go ahead and substitute any greens if your lawn isn’t yet pushing up dandelions!). And on the trade press side, SmartBlog on Food & Beverage talked about all the great activities and promotions taking place in restaurants and foodservice cafeterias across the country. 

Perhaps the most moving PR comes from our youngest Whole Grain Sampling Day partner, Madeline Leadem. Madeline’s a senior at Ashley Hall school in Charleston, SC. She’s been promoting whole grains all ye as her senior project. For WGSD, she worked with her school cafeteria to come up with a great menu featuring quinoa salad, tabouleh, barley salad, brown rice, and oatmeal cookies — and she also convinced her local Whole Foods Market to partner with her on a sampling event tomorrow. She practices what she preaches at home, too: her blog a few weeks ago detailed a dinner party she cooked for family and friends, featuring bell peppers stuffed with quinoa, black beans and sweet potatoes.

Manufacturers and supermarkets are on board too. Here’s a post today from Attune Foods, sharing their excitement about Whole Grain Sampling Day, which they’re observing by providing Uncle Sam and Erewhon coupons and cereal to East Coast grocery stores. And that Whole Foods Market in Charleston is far from the only store letting shoppers enjoy a whole grain nibble. Check out what’s happening at this Hy-Vee in Council Bluffs, IA, and at a Weis Market in Huntingdon Valley, PA, to see typical examples of this year’s many nationwide supermarket sampling events.

What are we doing, here in Boston? We’re sending a team to nearby Cambridge, where Google’s local office has invited us to stage a rousing game of Whole Grain Trivia in their cafeteria, during lunchtime. We’ll challenge Googlers about everything from amaranth to wild rice, and hand out scores of whole grains prizes. It’s no-holds-barred Trivia with just one rule: no Googling the answers will be allowed!

The Whole Grains Council website features a list of all of our WGSD partners. Take a look and see what might be happening near you. And don’t forget — you can create a Whole Grain Sampling Day special event in your own kitchen, too.

— Cynthia

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