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Food in Season

Buy Fresh, Buy LocalChoosing foods according to the season is not a new concept, but in recent years has regained popularity. Not only can you expect maximum flavor when utilizing produce grown in its natural season, you are also reaping maximum nutrition as well. Furthermore, holding off on those strawberries throughout the winter means more flavor and ultimately better value come springtime! As we transition into the summer months, nature’s bounty is spilling over everywhere you look. Here are some tips on how you can eat more seasonally:

  1. Know what’s in season in your area. Do a online search on seasonal produce in southern California (or wherever you live) or better yet, look it up on a local farmer’s web page. Most will have lists or spreadsheets of what they grow and when it’s available.
  2. Support locally grown produce. Visit your nearest farmer’s market or go directly to the farm itself. Eating seasonally supports local economy, which eventually means more produce, more variety and better value.
  3. Talk to the produce people at your favorite local grocer. Higher-end retail grocery stores are focused on employee education and customer satisfaction (as a former Whole Foods employee, I have firsthand knowledge of this!) Produce employees should be able to provide you with information on the fruits and vegetables sold there, including where it came from, how long its been sitting around and when you can expect shipments for the freshest selection.I’ve even had produce clerks ask me to wait right there so they could go and get better stuff in back as opposed to what was already out…now that’s customer service!
  4. Dehydrate, preserve or freeze leftovers.  Invest in some mason jars and preserve what you can’t use up right away.Dehydrators are also a great way to increase the shelf life of overripe fruits.  Puree vegetables and freeze them for later use in soups and stews, or get really creative and sneak them into your baked goods!
  5. Compile recipes that focus on your favorites used in various ways. So, you absolutely adore asparagus? Search for recipes that call for various cooking methods: steam, braise, broil and roast.Look for ways to incorporate your favorites in every meal: a breakfast frittata, a lunchtime wrap, or dressed up as a side for a fancy dinner. Experiment with new ways to incorporate them into your next social gathering. How impressed your friends and family will be when you can say you just whipped something together from your farmer’s market finds that morning.

By Maria Diaz, a Sunshine Wellness chef

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