Friday Food: Eating in {Summer} Season

I have a fridge full of produce (some of which is on the verge of spoilage, admittedly), all of which can only be found in the summer.

Isn’t that one of the best parts of this season? Fresh berries, melons, summer squash, asparagus, tomatoes, basil and the wonder that is a Colorado peach!

I can’t even purchase “regular” peaches these days. I’m jaded.

Summer, I’m not discounting your other assets. Adding tasty eats to the camping, hiking, pool-day-ing and vacationing is just a cherry on top.

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Why am I preaching the “Eat in Season” spiel? Well, the simple answer only requires a taste test – eat a peach in January and come to Colorado for a fresh on in August (I know Georgia, you have them, too).

You’ll answer me with a peachy-juice filled mouth and mutter “Point made”.
And I’ll be like yeah, I KNOW. Let’s go get more.

But to really make my point, take the following into consideration –
Eating in Season will:

  • Support the Farmers who work hard to turn over crops, keeping them fresh and flavorful for the market-going customers they serve.

    Needless to say, you can do this by going to Farmer’s Markets. We all love them, they’re around in the summer, just go and enjoy.

    You can also do this by checking which supermarkets carry local produce. Colorado, ignore the unattractive retro sign that yells “KING SOOPERS” and go in there anyway. They carry a lot of Colorado goods.

  • Make you realize the true potential of that fruit or veggie in hand. See above statement on the peaches – the same goes for tomatoes, melons, berries, etc. Buying them out of season won’t do you any favors, the meaty texture and flavorless bites leave the senses teased and the taste-buds with much to desire.
  • Provide you with more nutrients. When fruits/veggies are grown and harvested out of season, they don’t reach their  full “potential”. This doesn’t just translate to flavor, it may result in lower nutrient profiles, defeating part of the purpose behind eating them in the first place!

    No one wants a low-antioxidant blueberry, right?
    Tell me that’s not just a Dietitian’s woe.

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Baby blueberries, enjoying the summer (from our trip to Cascadian Farm in June).

On that note, if you’re seeing unseasonal fruits/veggies in supermarkets (which is extremely common), it most likely means they came a long way to get there. There is always some location with the ideal climate for a variety of produce at any given time, therefore these things are always available in some capacity. But when the journey from farm –> market (-> table) is long, it means that piece of produce was harvested very early. Basically it’s growth was stunted, so that it can ripen on the way and show up ready to sell.

Logic comes in here: if it ripens off the vine, tree, root, etc, it isn’t receiving nutrients, right? Right. Ergo, it is lower in nutrients.

Start looking at those little stickers, and taking note of origin. When it says “USA” – or even better, your state or a state near you – you’ve got a winner.
If you’ve got something from across the Pond (e.g. Europe, Asia, etc), you could probably do better.

{More on this, here – Sustainable Table}

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For a FULL list of Seasonal Summer produce, click here.

My personal “top 10” (in no particular order, except that the first one is definitely my favorite):

Watermelon, Blackberries, Strawberries, Peaches, Basil, Tomatoes (and/or Basil + tomatoes!), Cantaloupe, Grapefruit, Avocado & Zucchini.

And asparagus!

Stopping at just ten was difficult. That list is long.

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I had a photo shoot with my fridge-o-produce this morning. See above results, we had a good time.

******

What are you favorite summer foods?

Do you eat seasonally (even if you’ve done so unknowingly, until now)?

Searching for Healthy Seasonal Recipes? Cooking Light to the rescue.

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11 Comments

Filed under about me, Dietitians, food, Nutrition, weather love

11 responses to “Friday Food: Eating in {Summer} Season

  1. Ohhh, fresh peaches are my favorite thing about summer! Oh, and strawberries. I do love watermelon too. Don’t make me decide, it’s too hard!

  2. I am OBSESSED with eating as many local fresh fruits and veggies this season! We joined a farm share program at the local farm and have been having a blast coming up with ways to use things we’d never tried before (like mustard greens!). Still no idea what to do with kholrabi though, any ideas?? I have a huge love affair going on with watermelon and cherries right now. Both are sitting on the counter giving me the “eye” – I think it’s time to tear into some!

  3. Mamacita

    Love your top ten list. I bought cherries and blueberries yesterday so have been snacking on the cherries while making some blueberry muffins. Wish you were here to sample one. I enjoyed our trip to the farmers’ market last week; the tomatoes were yummy.

  4. I guess my tasted have always enjoyed in season foods because I am usually a seasonal eater. The taste just can’t be beaten.

    My favorite summer food? PEACHES! They are so sweet.

  5. I love all the produce of summer. I just love fresh veggies and my fridge is always full. You’re veggie photo shot is cute!

  6. I love hitting up the Sat market for local produce in the summer. Berries are by far my fav. I got two pints of raspberries last weekend from a local farm and froze one. My next berry craving is to go blueberry picking…

  7. vivoir

    Couldn’t agree more- I just wish that supermarkets would fluctuate prices to reflect seasonality more. It’d encourage us to eat to time of year- can’t stand it when there are strawberries out in the middle of winter… it seems so pointless to eat a flavourless fruit when there are so many ‘ripe’ and ‘in season’ one’s to choose from xoxo pop by and say hello btw! i’ve been awol for a while!! xoxo

  8. Such great points in this post! I try to buy as local as I can, but it’s not always easy. I need to make it a point to go to the Dallas Farmers Market more often – such great selection there! I’m with you on the watermelon, and I eat an avocado almost every single day. 🙂

  9. Since King Soopers is only 2 blocks away from my apartment, I do most of my grocery shopping there. I love that they has stickers and signs for their produce that is Colorado grown – that’s my first and preferred stop at the produce. Colorado lettuce tastes so much better than the mass produced salad kits or bags of lettuce. Great post!

  10. Happy Birthday SWEETS!!!

  11. You had me at watermelon!!!!!

    And I need to try one of these Colorado peaches…

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