Summer is finally here. The weather has not been very summery but the hydrated soil has provided an abundance of leafy greens and crispy cucumbers. Let’s celebrate summer with some local seasonal fruits and vegetables!
What Are Some Benefits Of Buying Local?
1. More Nutritious
Vitamins and antioxidants in fruits and vegetables can diminish through storage and transportation. Even a week of storage can impact the nutrient values of fresh produce significantly. Vitamin C is one of the most sensitive to loss and can change to a less active form as the result of storage; many B vitamins are also affected by temperature of storage; vitamin A in leafy vegetables are readily lost through storage.
Many naturally ripened fruits and vegetables contain more antioxidants. Ripened berries have the highest levels of anthocyanins, a purple flavonoid that provides anti-inflammatory benefits for the brain and vascular system. Tomatoes develop the highest level of lycopene, an anticancer, and heart-healthy flavonoids, at their peak ripeness. When buying out of season, produce is often picked unripened and artificially ‘ripened’ using calcium carbide gas to make produce change colour. Sometimes, berries are also treated with radiation to reduce fungus and mold. A good way to make sure you are getting your money’s worth of antioxidants is to use your sense of smell as a guide. Artificially ripened produce often doesn’t have an aroma like their naturally ripened counterparts.
2. Less Pesticides
Pesticides are chemicals used on produce to prevent diseases and pest damages. They can be synthetic or naturally-derived. Organic produce is also sprayed with regulated pesticides. Health Canada sets limits for maximum amounts of residue for domestic and imported fruits and vegetables.
When produce is grown in BC for local consumption, they are exposed to less pesticides because they don’t have to have the perfect aesthetic to meet exporting standards.
That being said, small amounts of pesticide residue still requires us to take proactive steps to minimize our exposure:
- Soak produce with 1 part vinegar and 4 part water solution for 20 min
- Rinse your product for 30 seconds
- Remove outer leaves for leafy vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage and kale
- Scrub root vegetables such as potatoes and carrots with a natural bristle brush
3. Supporting Local Economy
When you buy local, more money stays within the community. Researchers from The New Economics Foundation in London compared scenarios when people buy produce at a supermarket vs. a local market found that twice the money stayed in the community when people buy produce locally. On the other hand, when people buy from supermarket chains and other non-local retailers online, money flows out of the community.
COVID-19 has impacted our local farmers as less skilled labour is available due to travel restrictions and quarantine requirements. Let’s support our neighbours and protect the livelihood of our local farmers by shopping locally.
4. Save Money
When you buy local, there are fewer costs related to transportation, storage and treatments (above mentioned radiation and gas), so these savings can be passed on to you. Fresher and cheaper produce, why not?
What Is In Season This Month?
Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, lycopene, biotin, and vitamin K. It also contains B6, B5, B3, B9 andfibre. Lycopene has a protective effect against breast, colon, lung, skin and prostate cancers. It also has been shown to lower the risk of heart diseases, cataracts and macular degeneration by neutralizing free radicals that damage cellular structures.
Internally, cucumber is an excellent source of silicon, a mineral that supports collagen production.
Externally, cucumbers are also excellent for skin health, including undereye bags, dermatitis, dark circles and sunburn. Ascorbic acid and caffeic acid prevents water retention.
Red raspberries are an excellent source of fiber, manganese, vitamin C, flavonoids, and ellagic acid. They are also rich in B2 and other B vitamins and relatively low in sugar. Anthocyanin, a flavonoid that is mainly red, purple and blue incolourhas excellent anti-inflammatory properties. Ellagic acid is the aromatic compound found in raspberries that provides protection against free radicals generated by inhaling smoke or ingesting smoked or burnt food.
What Else Is In Abundance In July?
Vegetables: Artichokes, Beans, Beets, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard, Corn, Cucumbers, Fennel, Garlic, Green Onions, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce/Salad Greens, Mushrooms, Onions, Peas, Peppers, Potatoes, Radishes, Rutabagas, Spinach, Summer Squash, Sunchokes, Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Turnips, Zucchini
Fruit: Apples, Apricots, Blackberries, Blueberries, Boysenberries, Cherries, Currants, Gooseberries, Loganberries, Nectarines, Raspberries, Rhubarb, Saskatoon Berries, Strawberries, Tayberries
3 Easy Recipes To Celebrate Summer
Tomato Basil Pasta
- 4 cups quinoa fusilli pasta, dry
- 7-8 local tomatoes, seeds removed and diced
- 2 bunches, fresh basil, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 8 tablespoons organic extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup organic goat feta, dice into chunks (optional)
- Pink himalyan salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, cook according to package instructions to al dente
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, stir tomatoes, basil, shallots, garlic, olive oil together
Drain and cool the pasta for about 15 min
Toss pasta with the rest of the ingredients in the mixing bowl
Top with goat feta, and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste right before serving
- 2 local English cucumbers, diced into chunks
- 5-8 sprigs of dill
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seed oil
- Zest from 1 lemon
- Juice from ½ lemon
- Pink himalyan salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Toss everything except for salt and pepper
Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste right before serve
Raspberry Lemonade Smoothie
- 2 cups fresh raspberries
- 1 banana
- ½ lemon
- 2 tsp Vanilla MCT powder
- 1 tsp Vanilla plant-based protein powder
- 1.5 cup unsweetened plant-based milk
- Filtered water if desired
Blend in a high-speed blender until creamy smooth
Tahlia Sage (Certified Nutritional Practitioner, Bsc Food, Nutrition & Health) is the founder of Tahlia Sage Wellness (tahliasagewellness.com) and a partner at Healing House Natural Wellness (healinghouseherbal.com), she is also an instructor at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition.
Her coaching practice helps clients achieve their wellness goals by embracing functional foods and healthy lifestyle changes. Tahlia’s own health challenges and weight issues prompted her to pursue an education in nutritional science and holistic nutrition. Tahlia empowers her clients to regain balance with easy, concrete steps. Connect with Tahlia for a free 15 min discovery session
This article is written for informational purposes only. Please seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for your health concerns.