Healthy Morsels from HEAL: Posted May 8, 2014 “What’s in Season: Spring”
With the throes of winter finally behind us, it’s time to turn a fresh eye and a new palette towards the bounty that spring bestows upon us. We can finally say goodbye to comfort foods such as root vegetables and butternut squashes, and hello to a lighter, fresher fare. Warmer weather, longer daytime hours, and springtime produce all set the scene for a season full of backyard grilling and family friendly cookouts.
We have all heard that we should eat foods that are in-season and try to buy local produce where possible, but what are the true reasons for doing so? To start, purchasing seasonal produce is a great way to take advantage of foods that are at the peak of their flavor and texture. Fruits and vegetables that are seasonally fresh and eaten soon within harvest, maintain the richness of their flavor; whereas foods that are bought out of season lose flavor and nutritional value to factors such as transport, warehousing, and refrigeration.
Buying in-season fruits and vegetables is a cost effective way to help reduce your food shopping costs. Generally speaking, when fresh produce is in abundance, the price goes down due to competing grocers and farmers markets. Moreover, if you purchase the produce locally and the food doesn’t need to travel far, the result is an additional cost savings for you, the consumer.
Purchasing locally sourced, seasonal, produce is a great way to help your local economy. We are very fortunate that in our tri-state area we have a plethora of local farms, food markets,grocers, CSA’s, and independent growers. By purchasing from our neighboring farmers, we can help to ensure the future of our local farms, and keep our local economy strong. Click here for a list of local farmers markets.
Many of our local restaurants are already adopting these practices of seasonality and local sourcing with regards to their food purchases and menu planning by implementing the concept of “farm to table”. This term comes from the idea that the less time and fewer hands it takes for the food to get from the farm to the table, the fresher, more environmentally sensitive and community minded it is*. It’s certainly a practice that we all can implement at home by utilizing fresh local ingredients in our home cooking, and having an ever-evolving menu of different tastes based on the changing seasons.
Lastly, if you’re up for the challenge, growing your own food can be a rewarding and satisfying means of providing healthy and nutritious foods for you and your family. There are thousands of resources available online for how to start your own garden. It’s a fantastic way to get kids interested in establishing healthy eating habits and positive attitudes towards healthy foods.
As you prepare your shopping lists this spring, try to include some of those items that are in season. And if you’re looking for some cooking inspiration to get you started, try one of these great recipes below.
*Information obtained from foodservicewarehouse.com
To out more about HEAL of Washington County and their programs, please visit them online, or call (301) 991-0899.
Meet the Author:
Hannah Ghattas is the author and creator of the lifestyle and food based blog fourcoursefamily.com. She is a wife, a mother of two deliciously adorable children, and a lover of all things food and cooking. Her passion in life is bringing family and friends together to enjoy each other’s company and sample delicious recipes. She finds cooking inspiration in all aspects of her life: from our local Maryland farms, to her favorite restaurants, travel adventures, and close friends. She created Four Course Family as a means of bringing together a great resource of successful homemade meals, recommendations, and tips for life and parenting.