The smell of freshly cut vegetables and the sound of laughter fills the air at Citrus Pear in Logan. One might think these women have gotten together for a girls night out, but they are actually preparing meals for their families — and having a great time doing it.
Citrus Pear is a place where women or men can go to make 10 or 20 healthy slow cooker freezer meals, without the stress of doing the menu planning, grocery shopping, prep work or cleanup.
McKenzie Rockwood is a registered dietitian and a busy mom of three boys. She opened the business last March, recently expanded to Idaho Falls and has plans to open another location in Weber or Davis county in the near future.
“I worked at the hospital for six years before starting Citrus Pear, educating patients on all different specialized diets,” she said. “This is one thing that made me want to start Citrus Pear, so I could give those patients a tool to implement the dietary modifications that have been recommended by their medical team.”
The classes are held twice a week, and four menus are offered every month. Private classes are also available; for those, a group signs up and chooses the items on the menu.
Angie Olson has made the drive from Pleasant View to Logan twice to prepare meals for her family.
“I do it because the meals are delicious and healthy,” she said. “It’s nice to throw something in (the slow cooker) at 10 in the morning and have dinner by 5 p.m.”
A few of the meals Olson was preparing at the class she attended included cashew chicken, lettuce wraps, pulled pork, orange chicken and a beef stew. She raved about how tasty the pesto-tossed lasagna was and how she couldn’t wait to feed her family that meal for dinner.
“We use all whole foods. Nothing is processed, and pretty much the only things we use from a can are beans and tomatoes,” said Rockwood. “I can modify meals for allergies and/or intolerances such as nuts, dairy, gluten, etc.”
When you arrive at Citrus Pear, large bowls in blue, green and white line the work space, as well as the needed cooking supplies.The counter top looks almost like a farmers market display on the right, with baskets full of carrots, bell peppers, celery and zucchini, and a grocery store with spices, canned tomatoes and beans on the left. A white apron with the Citrus Pear logo on the front is waiting at each station.
The meals are prepared one at a time, and Rockwood is there to walk participants through each step and answer any nutritional questions.
“I came up to be able to provide dinner for my family for 20 days,” said Pleasant View resident Lindsay Heitz. “This is going to save me so much time and stress and will make my family excited to have meals on the table.”
Heitz also said she doesn’t like touching raw meat, and being able to just transfer the meat from one plastic bag to the next without having to touch it was a plus for her.
By the end of the night, after about 2.5 hours of cutting, chopping, pouring, mixing and laughing, the women fill their laundry baskets, coolers or large bags with plastic bags of meals for their families. It takes two of them to load the meals into each car, then they head home, leaving the mess behind for Rockwood and her staff to clean up.
To sign up for a class at Citrus Pear, go to citruspeardinners.com. Classes range from $175 for 10 meals to $310 for 20 meals.