This year’s National Whole Grain Sampling Day was the best ever, and today’s blog will share some of the highlights. We’re going heavy on the photos, so you can get a feel for all the wonderful variety of activities that happened across the country.

We had dozens of great partners this year, including Google, one of our most creative collaborators. Google took Whole Grain Sampling Day to the international level, with all kinds of fun at their many workplace cafes.

Our friends at Google emailed saying, “We had a great time celebrating Whole Grain Sampling Day over here at Google. A great event, with huge turnout. On Wednesday, we had over 100 Google cafes around the globe participate by serving up whole grain dishes and showcasing whole grains through an additional activity.” 

Google’s “additional activities” varied creatively from location to location, as you can see in the photos below of a chef demonstration and tasting, a “Spot the Grain” challenge, displays of grains and whole grain foods, and special labels on whole grain dishes being served.










WGC staff experienced Google’s creativity firsthand, when we stopped by the local Google campus in Cambridge, MA, to play Whole Grain Trivia with Googlers as they came to lunch. Answer a question – win a prize! That’s Anders, our Danish intern, below, holding a jar of delicious popped sorghum, and then Danita, Mallory and Cynthia, standing ready with whole grain prizes for all the trivia all-stars (no Googling the answers allowed!)




Supermarket samplings happened across the country. Chrissy Watters, MS, RD, LDN, store dietitian at the Hy-Vee in Rock Island, IL, pictured below, told us, “I made the Latin Chipotle Red Quinoa Salad, but substituted a Full Circle 10-minute Bulgur and Red Quinoa mix for the red quinoa alone.  It went over very well and introduced customers to a couple of unique whole grains.  I had the bread out there for label education, but everyone was too interested in the salad for me to get to the bread!”


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At the ShopRite of Washington, NJ, Carly Sopko, RD, reported, “My sampling event went great! I prepared 3 recipes using whole grains and sampled them out. I also gave out boxes of the Ronzoni whole wheat pasta, Barbara’s Snackimals, Belvita Breakfast Bars and Puffins Honey Rice Cereal that were all donated. I also had coupons for several products on my 2 tables. I also had copies of handouts available for the recipes I prepared and the whole grains guide from the WG Council website. It was a very successful event.”

Ever heard of CaveChick cookies? Shoppers in Schaumburg, IL now have, since Lori Diversey, the mom who invented these dairy-free, egg-free cookies, worked with the Whole Foods store there to sample them on WGSD. Lots of whole spelt flour and oats in these cookies – and no unpronounceable ingredients. Here’s Lori with Joe, the bakery manager.




Meanwhile, in Charleston, SC, whole grains advocate Madeline Leadem, a high school senior, convinced her local Whole Foods store to serve three different whole grain salads to shoppers: Tri-color Quinoa with Peas and Toasted Almonds, Greek Farro Salad with Cucumber and Tomato, and Black Rice with Carrots, Orange, and Toasted Cashews. Madeline and Whole Foods employee Danielle (shown below) also made Chocolate Oat Truffles.




Madeline didn’t stop there. She also organized a great WGSD celebration in her school cafeteria, at Ashley Hall, working with Sodexo to serve several delicious whole grain dishes – ending of course with whole grain cookies.




Also in the Restaurant / Foodservice world, Barilla offered a free case of whole grain pasta to any restaurant interested in showcasing it on Whole Grain Sampling Day. Restaurants stepped up to the plate with some great dishes, just a few of which appear below.







Online partners helped spread the gospel of whole grains, too. Our wonderful corps of more than twenty Whole Grain Ambassador bloggers received a slew of products from manufacturers, and shared information about the health benefits of whole grains and how to identify them, with their followers. This blog, from Delicious Dishings, was typical – but you can read them all here.





Healthy Dining Finder was an incredibly helpful partner, too, talking up WGSD with restaurants around the country, and posting some wonderful information on their website, including this slide show about whole grains. (Thanks, Erica Bohm!)




We’d also like to salute the American Institute of Cancer Research, for helping to spread the word about whole grains’ role in reducing cancer risk. We worked with them to post an infographic on their website (part of which you see below) – and they also sent out whole grain recipes in their newsletter on WGSD.




A big, big thank you to all of the people and organizations nationwide that worked with Oldways and the Whole Grains Council to make Whole Grain Sampling Day 2014 a big success. This blog is only the tip of the iceberg – you can see a list of all this year’s partners here. (Cynthia)

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