‘Smoothies are a worldwide phenomenon’

Smoothies have become a popular fixture at the MOON Co-op store in Oxford.

A smoothie is a thick, cold drink made from fruit (and often yogurt or ice cream), mixed together until smooth.

I am focusing on MOON’s smoothies this week because the co-op’s current smoothie of the month is honoring a 12-year-old friend and neighbor Miles Dumyahn.

Miles recently staffed MOON’s table at OCAC’s Chocolate Meltdown for the entire 4 hours. He was scheduled for 1 hour but enjoyed the hard work so much that he asked if he could staff for the entire 4 hours.

Miles is a frequent customer for smoothies at MOON Co-op. In recognition of his preference, the Miles smoothie consists of an orange juice base, pureed with banana, mango, mint, and strawberry.

Using the name “smoothie” to describe a beverage made by pureeing fruit and other ingredients in a blender is attributed to a man named Steve Kuhnau, who founded a chain he called Smoothie King in a New Orleans suburb in 1973. Kuhnau picked the name based on fruit drinks he heard referred to in San Francisco in the 1960s by “hippies” (Kuhnau’s term).

Smoothie King is now owned by a South Korean company, and “smoothie” has become such a popular term that it is often used to describe beverages that are not fruit-based and not very nutritious.

Around half of MOON shoppers choose a preset blend (perhaps slightly tweaked), and the other half start from scratch to build their own. MOON’s two most popular blends are Superpower (almond milk, banana, peanut butter powder, cacao, hemp protein, and cinnamon) and Tropical Refresher (coconut milk, orange juice, mango, pineapple, raspberry, and ginger).

Pantry & Larder, a food advice column, used Google search trends for the past 3 years to determine the most popular fruit-based smoothie in each of the 50 states.

Strawberry is the most popular base in 11 states, including Indiana and Kentucky, followed by peach and blueberry in 9 states. However, Miles is on target locally, because orange is the most popular base in Ohio, as well as 7 other states.

Smoothies are a worldwide phenomenon. My friend Keith Muir, who lives in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, starts most days with a smoothie.

Keith’s ingredients are banana, gold kiwi, strawberries, blueberries, milk, ice cream, bran oats, linseeds, psyllium husk, and unsweetened yogurt.

Gold kiwi, rarely seen in the United States, is more nutritious than the more familiar green variety. Linseed is more commonly sold as flax seed in the United States, and psyllium husk, which is relatively rare here, is said to reduce the threat of heart disease.

I asked MOON Co-op staff whether other shoppers are ordering the Miles. The answer: are you kidding? It’s proved to be one of our most popular smoothies ever!

Thank you, Miles, for your support of MOON Co-op. By the way, June 21 (the first day of summer) is National Smoothie Day.

Smoothies are available at MOON Co-op, Oxford’s consumer-owned full-service grocery, featuring natural, local, organic, sustainable, and Earth-friendly products. The store, located at 516 S. Locust St. in Oxford, is open to the public every day. Visit it online at www.mooncoop.coop.