Not sure what I’m talking about? I encourage you to visit Pursuing Our Passion One of our new initiatives is to keep out the Sunday night blues by talking about why we are thankful it’s Monday. Our first post asks the question, “what did you want to be when you grew up?”
I can’t remember far enough back to the crazy ideas I must have had — Jill remembers wanting to be a dolphin instructor! — but I do know that ever since I read Harry Potter at the age of 12 or 13, I’ve wanted to be a published author. That dream lives on today. Let Jill and me know what yours were/are!
Sorry for leaving you over the weekend, but Mama Bender is in town! I appreciated all of your feedback on the wedding cake vs. cupcake question. I see both sides and think we have some big decisions to make. I suppose we’ll just have to go for a tasting sometime…darn 😉
Today we have a Guest Bender from an amazing friend and blogger, Miss Brittany from Eating Bird Food. She’s going to discuss eating locally, a great topic as we start slowly edging into spring and finding local, fresh and healthy foods becomes even easier! Take it away, lady!
Eating Bird Food — Locally!
Hi everyone. My name is Brittany and I’m the lady behind Eating Bird Food, a blog about eating healthy, staying fit and enjoying life. I am truly honored to do a guest post on Eating Bender as it’s is one of my favorite blogs to read and Jenn has become a dear friend of mine.
What I want to talk about is eating locally and how to be successful at it, even during the cold winter months, which are hopefully coming to end soon. 😉 Bring on the warm sunshine and fresh berries!!
Here in the US we have become accustomed to having whatever produce we want when we want it. Berries, bananas, tomatoes, summer squash etc. are all sitting at my local grocery store right now. However, they’re definitely not being grown nearby and they don’t have as much flavor or nutrients as they do when they’re in season. Have you ever eaten a juicy, deliciously sweet tomato in the winter? Nope, didn’t think so.
Eating unseasonal foods every once in a while isn’t going to hurt you, but eating them on a consistent basis isn’t the ideal way to get the right nutrients or to protect the environment. There’s a reason we don’t crave salads everyday in the winter – our bodies need the vitamins and minerals in the foods that are in season during this time. For instance, less sun exposure during the winter months may cause the need for extra consumption of foods high in vitamin D such as fatty fish, dairy products, and fortified cereals.
Seasonal local produce is fresher, it tastes better, and it’s production and transportation have a smaller impact on the environment. As far as money goes, locally grown seasonal produce is cheaper than the items grown out of season. In addition, the money you spend is going back into the local community.
Most of the above is common knowledge, but what’s a person to do when their tried and true summer farmers market goes into hibernation for the winter? For starters, there’s a cool website I’ve found, www.localharvest.org, which can help you find a farmers’ market near you that is open year round. Hopefully you’ll be able to find one, but if not, don’t fret! Ask the produce manager at your local grocery store if any of the produce they carry is locally sourced and look for these winter delights:
Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Carrots, Celeriac, Cooking Greens (Kale, Collards, Chard, Spinach, Beet Greens) Garlic, Herbs (Sage, Thyme), Kohlrabi, Onions, Parsnips, Potatoes, Rutabagas, Sunchokes, Sweet Potatoes, and Sweet Potatoes, Winter Squash.
Make cooking during the winter fun by looking up recipes for winter vegetables you aren’t familiar with. You might just find a favorite out there.
If you’re having trouble finding local or seasonal produce, now would be a good time to look for other locally produced goods like breads, cheeses, beans, rice, and pasta or preserved items. If you live near the coast, lots of seafood is at it’s best during the colder months. And, you can always check out the frozen foods section of your grocery store to stock up on veggies that have been frozen when they were freshest, often containing more nutrients than a vegetable from the produce section that has traveled many miles to sit in your store.
Last but not least, if you are on top of you game and start planning ahead of time you can preserve, can, and dehydrate fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs during the summer months and save them for use during the winter months. Of course, that tip is more for this coming year rather than right now.
Just so you know, I’m not writing this because I’m perfect at eating locally and seasonally. I often eat tropical fruits, most notably bananas, and I don’t always buy locally sourced produce. But, every little bit helps and I’m trying to make a conscious effort to eat more locally produced items (even outside of the fruits and veggies), less tropical foods, and more seasonal fare. I’m also in the midst of trying to secure a spot for a 2010 CSA, where I’ll get to pick up an assortment of locally grown, organic produce every week from April through October.
Overall, my point is that you can support your local community by shopping at local markets or joining a CSA. Save money and enhance your health at the same time. A total win- win situation!
Need some inspiration? Check out these winter recipes:
Black Eyed Peas, Tomatoes, and Greens (with Tempeh)
Thanks again to Brittany for sharing her expertise!
Do you eat locally? Is it harder in the winter? If so, how do you change your strategy?
I’m curious to hear what you think and am sure Britt is, too!
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: #TGIM!!