June is national fresh fruit and vegetable month and a great time to start eating more produce. Connecting with local farms, farmers markets or a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm can make getting fresh and seasonal produce easy. Check out these “fresh” suggestions for purchasing and preparing fresh fruit and vegetables this summer.
Farm to Table
One way to get fresh produce this summer is to join the farm to table movement that is spreading across the country. This is a practice of acquiring farm fresh fruits or vegetables grown locally and then preparing them on the same day or nearly the same day. The cooking is done either by you at your home or by a restaurant specializing in serving locally grown produce. Practicing a farm to table approach can ensure delicious, high quality, nutrient dense produce for you and your loved ones.
A CSA farm offers shares (or memberships) for purchase to the public. A share entitles you to a weekly box or bag of the farm’s fresh produce. This makes for a great opportunity to try new vegetables as the produce varies throughout the growing season.
Benefits of Fresh Produce
Besides the benefits of having high nutrient content, fresh vegetables and fruits have taste and texture appeal. Learning to love veggies is much easier when you begin with fresh as opposed to frozen or canned. When preparing fresh veggies, it’s best to not over-cook them because you lose nutrients as well as texture. Instead, try steaming, sautéing, roasting or grilling to a slightly underdone state or even eating them raw for the crispiest of textures.
Fresh vegetables and fruit will lose some nutrients, like Vitamin C, as storage or shelf time increases, so it’s best to consume your fresh produce within a few days of picking or purchasing. But, even if several days go by, you will still benefit from a number of nutrients that remain and from the high fiber content that isn’t lost with storage.
Ready to Get Fresh?
Go online and search for a local farmers market or a CSA farm share in your area. If you are able to, grow some of your own fresh produce! This can be as easy as creating an herb garden or growing tomatoes and peppers in containers like these. Still need help getting started?
Check out these produce filled recipes created by Boston Heart’s Registered Dietician Coaches:
- Kale, Pomegranate & Almond Salad
- Zucchini Tomato Salad With Lemon Pepper Vinaigrette
- Fresh Pineapple and Spinach Smoothie with Chia Seed
- Baked Tortilla Chips and Homemade Salsa
- Spicy Green Beans with Ginger
- Roasted or Grilled Mixed Vegetables
However you decide to “get fresh”, you will soon be hooked on the taste and texture of fresh fruits and vegetables. Enjoy the bounty of summer!
In good health,