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Denise Linke: A Bicycle Built for Smoothies?

Geneva Green Market offers a smoothie-making machine that's fun, educational and environmentally friendly. The smoothies taste good, too.

A trip to the always involves a surprise or two. Will the fruit stand have cherries this week, or are they still ripening in the orchard? Will local musicians be entertaining customers with folk tunes or string quartets? What flavor of free soup will market managers Mark and Connie Weaver concoct from the ingredients brought by local farmers?

But I never expected to find a bicycle built for smoothies.

“We’re always trying to be playful and think outside the box,” said Elan Margulies, farm manager and educator at Pushing the Envelope Farm on Geneva’s southeast side, as he showed off his latest “green” creation.

This week Pushing the Envelope Farm offered fresh blueberry smoothies, made with organic yogurt, Michigan blueberries, locally produced milk and honey, mixed to order in a blender attached to the back of an old three-speed bicycle. For $4, patrons can watch Margulies measure out the ingredients, mount the blender pitcher into its base, hop onto the stand-mounted bike and pedal until the mixture is smooth and creamy. For a discount, patrons can pedal the bike themselves.

It took Margulies less than a minute of pedaling to whip up my smoothie to a creamy froth.

“It wasn’t hard to adapt the blender to the bike,” he noted. “We took out the motor and connected the spindle to a bolt with a rubber bumper on the end. The bumper is turned by the bike wheel, which turns the spindle, which turns the blades inside the blender.”

Farm employees have used the bike-powered blender to make basil pesto and squash soup as well as smoothies, he added.

Pushing the Envelope will offer bike-mixed smoothies at its booth every Thursday until the Green Market closes in November, Margulies said. Connie Weaver couldn’t be happier about it.

“The bike-powered smoothie blender is a unique and wonderful addition to the Geneva Green Market, supporting local foods and helping the environment,” she asserted. “Now that fresh watermelon is coming in, I think Elan should be making watermelon margaritas.”

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