Eat with the Season:
What’s Ripe for the Picking and the Benefits for You and Your Community
By Ingrid Wells
Today it is virtually possible to buy any fruit or vegetable at the typical grocery store regardless of the time of year. A visit to the supermarket can make it hard to imagine that produce items have “in-seasons.” Immediate and consistent food access is a comfort we have grown accustomed to, but we are exploring the benefits of eating locally and in season.
Eating seasonal, locally grown fruits and vegetables ensures you the freshest produce while also supporting local farmers and the environment. In particular, foods sold at farmer’s markets typically embody these qualities best because they have been grown nearby and in accordance with regional weather patterns and soil conditions.
A primary attribute of local produce is its freshness, which is a consequence of the limited time it spends in transit from the farm to the market. Additionally, foods are highest in nutrient levels immediately upon being harvested. As a result, eating local, seasonal produce gives you access to nutrient dense foods since you are purchasing and consuming the produce closer to when and where it was cultivated.
Clean and Green:
The fewer steps that are required for produce to reach your plate from its original growing habitat, the less likely contamination becomes due to preservative. Flavor, much like nutrient density, is also at its prime when the produce is picked!
Along with the benefits reflected in quality and flavor from the short farm to table trip of local, in-season eating, the environment also profits as it’s growing flora that suits its natural state. In season-eating results in reduced transportation pollution and less reliance on growing-assistants, such as pesticides or agrochemicals, used in generating artificial growing conditions.
A well-balanced diet is just that, well-balanced with variety. Allowing seasonal produce to guide your meal ingredients, will ensure that you are consuming a mix of foods with an array of nutrients.
Try in-season August vegetables with this nutrient-filled and flavorful gazpacho. Combining some widely available seasonal vegetables, this cold soup pairs great with cornbread (paying tribute to in season sweet-corn)!
- Yellow and cherry heirloom tomatoes: Heirloom tomatoes are non-hybrid and typically have a heritage of many generations. High in antioxidants, good for cardiovascular and bone health.
- Cucumber: Anti-inflammatory factors, support digestion and aid in hydration.
- Red Bell Pepper: High in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients.
- Garlic: Aids immune system, anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular health and improves iron metabolism.
- White beans: Low-fat plant-based protein source.
- Cilantro: Rich in antioxidants, aids in digestion and bone health, assists in metal removal from the body.
- White Onion: Anti-inflammatory nutrients and aids in cardiovascular and connective tissue and bone health.
- Water: Helps you stay hydrated in hot summer
Pick up the ingredients at your local market and try this nutrient-filled soup to stay cool in the summer heat.