July 01, 2020

Fresh summer produce

Improve your diet, locally

By the time spring rolls around, you may be sick of eating off-season produce such as mealy apples and watery strawberries. So why not take advantage of the summer months to indulge in fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables?

Look to your local farmers market or to a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Both allow you to support local agriculture. In a typical CSA, a membership fee paid to a farm entitles you to a regular share of that season's produce, such as a weekly box of vegetables. Some farmers markets and CSAs let you use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits — sometimes called food stamps.

Note that farmers markets may be modified due to COVID-19, perhaps by offering a pickup option. If you visit in person, follow the same guidelines you would follow as if visiting a grocery store, including keeping your distance from others, wearing a mask, sanitizing your hands and looking to shop at times when it's less busy.

Consider the potential health benefits of mixing more local produce into your menu, whether it's from a farmers market or a CSA:

  • Eating more whole, fresh foods — Many foods in the store — such as chicken nuggets, chips and frozen dinners — are processed to make them safe, available and convenient to use. But the processing may also add unwanted fats, sugar, salt and preservatives. Fresh fruits and vegetables tend to be healthier choices because they contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.
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