It’s a lush growing season and whether you planted a garden or not, local farmers markets are open and grocery stores are brimming with fruits and vegetables fresh from the fields and at peak flavor. It’s a welcome contrast to the produce available during the winter months, which is picked before its peak ripeness and trucked or flown long distances. While it’s nice to have some variety during the winter, those veggies and fruits are not nearly as tasty and are quite a bit more expensive than the local bounty available right now.

Try It Fresh, You’ll Like It!

An important step for the nutrition of the next generation is to introduce your children to what fruits and vegetables look and taste like when freshly picked. What better time than now, when we are growing produce ourselves and eating more meals at home? In today’s busy world, many kids have only been exposed to canned or frozen vegetables, sometimes in already prepared frozen meals. These are convenient but with flavors and textures that probably won’t encourage  them to develop a life-long love of veggies. Have the kids help in your garden or take a trip to the farmers market, have them choose some unique vegetables and fruits, and have them help you prepare them for dinner or snacks. We have found that children are much more willing to try new foods when they have been involved in selecting and prepping them. Try our recipe for Quinoa, Sweet Corn and Green Bean Salad. The sweetness of the corn has huge appeal for kids, and most like the unique texture of the quinoa compared to other grains.

Veggies Are Not Just Side Dishes

Having vegetable-based entrées isn’t a novel way to eat anymore. More people are enjoying great-tasting meatless meals. It’s good to remember that a nutritious, tasty meal doesn’t need to feature meat—it’s not only possible, but also smart, to prepare a few meals each week that feature protein from non-meat sources. While meat provides great nutrition, it is also higher in saturated fats, which should be consumed in moderation. Try our Lentil Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette.

Support Your Local Farmers

While farmers markets are a great way to support your local growers, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is another option. You may not have signed up for it this year because you didn’t realize you can buy a part share in a CSA, which delivers a weekly source of both new and familiar varieties of seasonal produce. It’s also good to know that farmers markets feature not only produce but also are a great source of other local products such as honey, organic meats and fresh flowers.

Salsas Add Zing

Try some salsas from a traditional tomato-based one and others that use unique fruits and vegetables like our Watermelon Salsa. This is a creative way to use our seasonal bounty and these make great condiments for both vegetable entrées and meats.

The Time is Now

Just as we take advantage of seasonal bargains when shopping for clothes and school supplies, we are reminded that August is a great month to take advantage of our seasonal bounty of produce. It can be used in a variety of ways and adds major flavor and nutrition to our meals. Try some fresh produce this week and learn how easy and tasty it is. And continue to seek out new items as the harvest progresses and more delicious, nutritious offerings become available.

You will love the way you feel!