monthly health topic

eat like a local

Get well on your way to a 5-a-day with our quick tips and recipe ideas for using fresh local produce.

eat like a local - quick tips and recipe ideas for using fresh local produce

enjoy the local flavors of summer

In regions that experience cold winters, consumers rely on produce from all over the world. However, during the summer months, local farmers provide many grocery stores in their surrounding areas with a variety of their delightfully fresh fruits and vegetables. Now that there is an abundance of local treats at your fingertips, take advantage of this opportunity while you can!

Benefits of Buying Local

When you buy local products, you get some of the season’s best flavors. Local fruits and vegetables are picked at their peak ripeness, providing you with the freshest and most delicious tastes and aromas. You gain a better appreciation for what the farmers do to get their crops to your plate. But you’re not the only one to gain from buying local—you’re also supporting the local economy and helping to maintain the farmland in your community. It’s like having your cake (or fresh peach crisp) and eating it, too! /p>

Fill Half of Your Plate with Fruits and Vegetables

The abundance of local produce can make it easy to meet the USDA’s MyPlate guidelines that recommend filling half of your plate with a colorful array of fruits and vegetables. It’s the delicious way to eat a well-balanced diet and get the boost of nutrients you need to take on each day. Most fruits and vegetables provide vitamin C and contribute fiber to your diet without adding sodium or fat.

Simple Cooking Tips and Ideas

Making fruits and vegetables part of each meal is not only tasty, but it’s easy, too! Try roasting or grilling fresh produce, or create new ways to enjoy fruits and vegetables with each meal.

  • Breakfast: Layer diced cantaloupe and berries with fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt and low-fat granola in a glass. Fruit parfaits are a great way to brighten up any morning!
  • Lunch: Toss fresh tomato, eggplant slices, and garlic cloves in olive oil. Sprinkle with thyme and roast on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. This beautiful creation is a wonderful side dish, but can also amp up the flavor of salads and homemade pizzas.
  • Dinner: Slice a medium zucchini in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and stuff with cooked diced bell peppers, onions, brown rice, chicken, and chili powder to make southwest zucchini boats. Bake the boats in the oven at 350 degrees, or wrap in aluminum foil, place on the grill for 15-20 minutes and sail away with scrumptious flavor!
  • Snack: You can bite into a juicy watermelon or combine tomatoes and onions to make a salsa for chips.
  • Beverages: For a refreshing twist to staying hydrated, add cucumbers, melons or other fresh fruit to water.
  • Freezing and canning: Enjoy local produce year-round. Freeze fruit, such as peach slices, to enjoy as a dessert during the winter months. Tomatoes and other vegetables are great for canning and can be used during the colder months for soups and sauces. Or, preserve the taste of summer by making jams and jellies.

Now that you have some ideas, get creative! Fill your shopping cart with seasonal produce and use your imagination in the kitchen to enjoy the flavors of summer.