Although according to the calendar it’s not *technically* summer (June 20th makes it official), according to us, it is. And in honor of our favorite season, we’re making this, and a lot of this, and consuming our weight in the freshest local fruits + veggies around. In hopes that you will too, here’s 5 reasons to choose local and your seasonal guide to summer produce because fresh is best.
Why choose local?
1. No nasty pesticides, waxes, chemicals or preservatives
Most local farms use organic growing practices, which means no funky chemicals, pesticides, waxes, or preservatives were added to your produce. If local produce isn’t labeled certified organic, just ask what type of growing practices are used. Often times smaller farms and gardens can’t afford the USDA’s organic seal of approval so when shopping at the farmer’s market, just ask. (Btw, farmers are very friendly folk.)
2. Supporting your local community
When you buy local you are supporting your community. We would much rather give our money straight to local farms that have us and our health in mind, instead of big name food stores (that usually don’t care).
3. Better for you and better for the environment
We often overlook the shelf to plate process or the time it takes from raw ingredients to get from the ground to the grocery store to your fork. Between the transportation, fuel, equipment, plastic packaging, pollution, etc., it can be extremely taxing on the environment. Buying from local farms significantly cuts down on the need for transportation (and unnecessary packaging), which cuts down on pollution, which lowers your carbon footprint. Better for you. Better for the environment.
4. It’s cheaper
It’s usually much more affordable to buy fresh fruits and veggies straight from the farm or farmer than it is at the grocery store. When produce is grown in season (which it always is when you’re buying local), there’s usually more of it, which means, lower prices for you.
5. More flavorful
Local farms pick crops at their peak resulting in a taste that you just can’t find in food sitting on the supermarket shelves (which was probably picked too early, refrigerated, and shipped halfway across the world).
And without further ado, your guide to summer produce.
What’s in season right now
Loaded with healthy fats, fiber, vitamin K, calcium, folate and vitamin C. Their combination of fats and vitamins make them an excellent food for the skin. They also high amounts of lecithin (brainfood), and they assist in managing our cholesterol levels. We love em’ and eat ½ an avocado every single day.
Antioxidant rich, low GI strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries are everywhere right now and we’re loving the abundance. Add to granola, smoothie bowls, or enjoy by the handful.
Naturally hydrating due to it’s high water content, cucumber is a must for glowing skin and a flawless complexion. Cucumber contains high amounts of silica, an essential trace mineral that promotes healthy hair, skin, and nails, making it THE beautifying ingredient. Extracts from cucumbers have demonstrated the ability to scavenge free radicals, inhibiting inflammatory enzymes and preventing excessive nitric oxide production. Plus, cucumbers are rich in Vitamin C, beta-carotene, manganese, and taste amazing, so yeah, we love them.
You know we love greens and because we’ve talked endlessly about their benefits (see here and here), today we’ll keep it short and sweet. Kale, spinach, collards, arugula, mustard greens, and basically every other leafy green are in abundance right now and extra nutritious so, eat your greens, and eat them often.
Another favorite of ours. Basil, parsley and mint are all in season and conveniently growing in our backyard. Basil boasts major heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory benefits. Use it to flavor sauces, salads, and smoothies. Parsley contains high amounts of chlorophyll, vitamin A, B, C, and K, folate, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, vanadium, and zinc, making it a powerful little leaf. Mint aids in digestion, is rich in antioxidants, and has been shown to have significant antibacterial, fungicidal and insecticidal properties making it useful against many common bacterial pathogens and candida. Plus it’s really good in this recipe.
Watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew melon are naturally hydrating (thanks to their high water content) and loaded with immunity-boosting vitamin C. Melons digest incredibly quickly, so it’s best to consume them by themselves (think: mono-meal), or before meals for optimal digestion. (Though we’re known to break "food rules.")
You can’t even compare vine-ripened, garden tomatoes to their grocery store counterparts. They taste totally different. (Fresh is best and a thousand times more flavorful.) Rich in lycopene, studies have shown that tomatoes may reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Plus they’re naturally hydrating and loaded with antioxidants to keep your skin glowing all summer long.
What’s your favorite summer food? We want to know! Share your top picks in the comment section below. And one more thing: Share your farmers market finds with us on Instagram! Be sure to tag us at @thedailyalchemy and use the hashtag #thedailyalchemyeats so we can like your photo. Also if you hashtag #freshfoodmatters, Sub-Zero Appliances will donate $5 to Katie’s Krops, an organization that supports youth-run gardens that donate to local soup kitchens. (You can read more about the initiative here.)
Erika & Jess
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