The fall season is upon us and there’s a pretty big change to what’s available that’s fresh and local. Read on for three key benefits to eating locally.
This quote that I saw somewhere sums it up nicely:
“Nature gives us what we need when we need it”.
We need nutrients that fit with the seasons and fall produce doesn’t disappoint. The colourful and fibre-, vitamin C- and antioxidant-rich root vegetables of carrots, sweet potatoes, including all the varieties of squash help support your immunity. I came across a new squash a couple of weeks ago at my local market called HoneyNut squash. Grab one if you can, it was delicious – denser than a butternut squash and sweeter too.
Apples are in abundance and if you haven’t had a Honey Crisp before, now is your chance! Nutrients are at their highest with the smallest amount of time from field to table.The longer it sits in storage, travels to the grocery store, and hangs out on store shelves, the more nutrient depletion can occur— for example, spinach, has been found to lose47 percent of its folate content after eight days of storage, and 80 percent of its vitamin C content after just three days. That’s a lot of nutrient loss when you think you’re upping your greens because you’ve heard me say that it’s good for your eyes, your heart and your immunity.
Fresh and in season ALWAYS tastes better. Think of all those strawberries from the summer. I call them little bites of sunshine! The longer that fruits and vegetables can ripen on the vine, they not only have more nutrients but their taste is like a party for your tastebuds.Out of season produce is harvested early in order to be shipped and distributed to your local retail store, and crops picked at their peak of ripeness are also better tasting and full of flavor. I visit a farmers market each week and have asked them what their best kind of peach is, for instance, and they tell me. They know their produce best, they’ve grown it and sampled it and talking and connecting at a farmers market is something that I am so grateful for. If you don’t have a market near you, then get to know your local supermarket produce manager. They’re in charge of ordering so they know what has come from further and what’s local and in season if you’re not sure.
Eating plants in general, no matter where they come from, is still one of the best things you can do for your health and that of the planet.Local food supports the local economy and reduces your food miles. The money you spend on products from local farmers and growers stays in the community and is reinvested with other local businesses.
Food not travelling long distances from the US when you can get it locally, or even something like your lemons from South Africa, make a difference byreducing air pollution and cut back on greenhouse gas emissions, and that helpsthe environment. Local growers can tell you how the food was grown. When you buy directly from farmers, you have the opportunity to ask what practices they use to raise and harvest the crops. When you know where your food comes from and who grew it, you know a lot more about the food that you’re putting in your body and that helps your relationship to eating and the food that you choose.
Not sure what to do with the fall harvest? I have a super easy Baked Butternut Squash Risotto recipe and my epic Sweet Potato fries from my book, Sprout Right Family Food, right here.
Egg-free, Gluten-free, Nut-free, Wheat-free, Vegetarian
TIP: Swap the butternut squash for 14 ounces (400 g) mixed mushrooms (shiitake, cremini, brown button), cleaned and sliced.
Dairy-free, Egg-free, Gluten-free, Nut-free, Wheat-free, Vegan
TIPS: 1. You can keep the skin on the sweet potatoes for extra nutrients and fibre. 2. Parsnips, carrots, and potatoes are good substitutes for a change of pace, but sweet potato works best.
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