On the East Coast, we are fortunate to have a variety of locally grown produce options available to us. From peaches, watermelon and blueberries to tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers and a variety of leafy greens – there’s no shortage of good for you fruits and veggies here!
Why purchase locally grown?
- Full of flavor: Local produce is picked at its peak of ripeness and can often make it to shelf within 24 hours – now that’s fresh!
- It’s seasonal which translates to freshness: Although you can find many fruits and vegetables such as strawberries for instance year round, they are not at their “in-season” best in January. However, when they are at their seasonal peak, they are full of flavor and color which means they’ll taste their best!
- Local = Nutrition: Since local produce has a shorter distance to travel from farm to store, it is less likely that the nutritive value will have decreased. Food that has a longer distance to travel will lose more nutrients along the way.
- Local food benefits the environment and wildlife. Well-managed farms provide ecosystem services: they conserve fertile soil, protect water sources, and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. The farm environment is a patchwork of fields, meadows, woods, ponds and buildings that provide habitat for wildlife in our communities.*
*Source: University of Vermont. Cultivating Healthy Communities extension.
Here’s a list of top Local Produce options:
Vegetables- Tomatoes, Green Pepper, Cucumbers, Green & Yellow Squash, Eggplant, Green Beans, Corn, Cabbage, most leafy Greens (Spinach, Basil, Chards, Chicory/Escarole, Cilantrillo, Dill, Leeks, Scallions, Collards, Kale, Mustard, Turnip Tops, Radishes, Parsley)
Peperonata "Stewed Summer Vegetables"
You can’t go wrong with mixed summer vegetables, you can toss them with pasta, serve over ground beef, fish or just eat them as is. This is a recipe my mother-in-law made over the weekend and I just loved it! Tip: You can scale back or add more of the veggies you love!!
- 2 large onions
- 2 zucchini
- 2 yellow squash
- 1 small eggplant
- 1 large yellow pepper
- 1 large orange pepper
- 4 green bell peppers
- 5 tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon Oregano
- 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning that you had
- Olive oil
- 1 (8-ounce) can of tomato sauce
- 1 cup water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cut all vegetables into 1-inch pieces and set aside.
- Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat, add olive oil.
- Add all vegetables to the pot along with the water. Season with oregano, Italian season and salt and pepper and stir.
- Simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetable tenderness is to your liking.