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Fresh & amp;amp; Tasty 

by Susan Hamilton and Ann M. Colford & r & & r & Edible Gifts FRUIT BOUQUETS & r & Floral arrangements are nice gifts. They're beautiful to behold and offer a pleasant aroma. But the flowers soon fade and their scent goes south as well. Chocolates and cookies are yummy presents, but they can wreak havoc on a diet, not to mention the waistline.

Enter a new gift company, Edible Arrangements, with a novel idea -- fresh fruit bouquets that resemble their floral counterparts, with high-quality fruit crafted into flower-shaped designs and artful arrangements. The seven-year-old Connecticut-based company has been featured on Food Network's Top Five program and given by E! News as gifts to Golden Globe nominees. Now the edible gifts have come to Spokane, with a shop recently opened near the north bank.

"Our customers say they've never seen anything like it before," says local Edible Arrangements owner Ken Lamoreaux. "We're only the second Edible Arrangements store in the state."

Some of the more popular designs include the Delicious Fruit Design (a large arrangement with pineapple daisies, strawberries, grapes, cantaloupe and honeydew melons) and the Delicious Celebration (a fun design filled with pineapple stars and daisies, strawberries, grapes, cantaloupe and honeydew). For those with a taste for chocolate, there's the Sweetheart Bouquet (featuring fresh strawberries hand-dipped in gourmet chocolate and arranged in a ceramic container) or the Apple Blossom (an arrangement overflowing with pineapple daisies, fresh strawberries, grapes and Granny Smith apples hand-dipped in gourmet chocolate). Prices range from $4 for a fruit salad to $200 for the banquet bouquet that feeds more than 65 people.

"It's all fruit and healthy, so it's a great alternative gift idea to flowers and cookies," Lamoreaux adds.

And just who's receiving the fruit arrangements?

"Easter was big, and Mother's Day will be huge for us," Lamoreaux explains. "And guys like to receive the arrangements because, well, guys like food."

Each arrangement is made to order and can be customized with a jar of all-natural fudge and a Mylar balloon. Lamoreaux says they deliver the fruit arrangements all over Spokane, including Liberty Lake.

But the Edible Arrangements slogan says it all: "The best gifts in life are edible." -- Susan Hamilton

Edible Arrangements, 821 N. Division, Suite B, is open Mon-Fri 8 am-5 pm, Sat 8 am-3 pm. Call 325-4996.

A Quilting Tea BENEFIT

Back in the day, quilting bees drew women together to socialize while helping out others and weaving the community together. This weekend, quilts will draw people together once again to help the Spokane Valley Community Center at its second annual fundraiser, "Garden of Quilts & amp; Tea," Saturday and Sunday at the Horizon Middle School, with proceeds benefiting programs for children and families. The Center brings social services like the WIC clinic, the food bank, the clothing bank, emergency assistance and an immunization clinic under one roof for Valley residents.

Last year's inaugural one-day event sold out, so this year it's expanding to two days. About 140 quilts from all across the region will be on display beginning at 9 am, with the benefit garden tea scheduled for 1 pm each day. At the tea, individual table captains will decorate each table for eight, choosing a theme and then bringing in their own table linens, place settings, teapots and d & eacute;cor to set the mood. The creativity and imagination of the decorators makes each table a unique aesthetic delight.

"Last year, we had 30 tables and not one duplication in theme," says volunteer decorator Jan Myhre. "We had a Red Hat table, a Victorian table done in shades of cream with pearls and lace, and another with shades of peach and a touch of black for an Art Deco look. My favorite was a Fiestaware table -- a brilliant bouquet of gerber daisies set with Fiestaware on a table-topper quilt in the same vibrant colors."

Saturday's tea is nearly full, but several open seats are available on Sunday. Your ticket to the tea ($30) will also get you admission to the quilt show; if you just want to see the quilts (and not stay for tea), it'll only cost you $5 and tickets are available at the door. In addition, raffle tickets will be available for a chance to win a complete tea service for eight plus a king-size quilt in a Mariner's compass design. The Center's auxiliary will provide the food and tea, Plantland and Gooseberry Country will set the atmosphere, and there will be entertainment besides. -- Ann M. Colford

"Garden of Tea and Quilts" is Saturday-Sunday, April 22-23, at Horizon Middle School, 3815 S. Pines Rd., Spokane Valley. Doors open at 9 am for the quilt show; teatime is 1-3 pm each day. Tickets: $240, table of eight; $30 per person; $5, quilt show only. Call 927-1153 ext. 18 for information.

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