Eating Local and Seasonally
June is a perfect time to focus on eating local and seasonal produce. As summer starts, I hope you and your family can find ways to incorporate fresh, seasonal food into your routine. Farmers Markets can be a great outing for the whole family. Talking to local farmers can be inspiring and provide new insight for how to make their farm-fresh foods shine in any dish. Produce that’s in season is usually so delicious and fresh that it hardly needs any seasoning or cooking. There’s nothing quite like that first juicy strawberry of the season, or a big bright tomato to really feel like summer has arrived.
Locally Grown, Seasonal Produce
Eating locally grown, seasonal produce is a great way to help reduce your carbon footprint. Locally grown produce doesn’t have to travel as far and is usually fresher, tastier, and has more nutrients. But it’s also important to consider what is in season in your area. Food production causes more greenhouse gases than food transportation, so when considering local ingredients, make sure they’re also seasonal, because food grown in greenhouses out of season requires significant resources to produce. Taking advantage of farmers markets or Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) helps support local small farmers, and provides wonderfully fresh ingredients, while encouraging more awareness about the challenges of farming. Having more interaction with the people that grow your food brings a greater appreciation for the impact of the weather, and the effort that goes into producing the food we eat. Raising your mindfulness of all the energy and effort required to put food on the table is a great way to really appreciate the food we have.
Seasonal produce is the most flavorful, and therefore usually the most nutritious. While it’s possible to buy almost any produce year-round at the grocery store, seasonal produce tastes best and is more sustainable. You’ve probably experienced this if you’ve ever bought strawberries in the winter. They look beautiful, but tend to be so bland compared to what you find when they’re in season in June. Buying food seasonally is a great way to feel in touch with the cycles of the seasons. And usually seasonal foods match our cravings too. When summer rolls around we’re ready for lighter, water-dense foods like strawberries and melons, until the fall comes and the weather gets colder and we want comfort foods like starchy squashes and potatoes. Eating with the seasons helps balance the needs of our bodies and provides the most nutritious food.
Gardening is also a great way to get in touch with the food you eat. Try planning a few of your favorite vegetables or herbs. Gardening is a great activity for the whole family and can inspire fresh, seasonal meals right from your own backyard.
What are you most excited to eat this summer? Do you have a vegetable garden? What are you growing this year? Let us know on the Sweet Life Wellness Facebook Page!
Sweet Life Wellness Student Intern
Dietetics student at University of Maryland-College Park
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