Slowly the days are becoming shorter, temperatures begin to drop and the smell of fall is in the air. One of my favorite times of year is almost upon us but also the beginning of cold, flu and now covid season. This has been the year of hand washing, social distancing, masking and repeat.
What if we dived in deeper not only in ways of preventing the spread of disease but building our immune systems to give our bodies a fighting chance against colds and viruses. I’m sure we have all heard how important it is to eat your fruits and vegetables but did you know not all fruits and vegetables are created equal?
With most of our food being produced over a 1,000 miles away there is a lot of nutrients being lost from the time fruits and vegetables are harvested to when they make it to the grocery store. Fresh foods begin losing nutrients within the first 24 hours of being picked. Not only is there a break down of nutrients being lost from the time it takes to reach the store but also fruits and vegetables are picked before fully ripening so as not to spoil in transit. This means they have not reached full nutrient potential before they are even picked.
This year more than ever we should be looking to get the most out of our produce. Farmers markets are a great source for buying fresh and in season fruits and veggies and this year many are offering a virtual farmers market including my little town of Paola. A virtual farmers market is where orders and payment are placed online with a central pick up location on certain days. Fruits and vegetables are picked at their peak of freshness when the nutrient content of minerals and vitamins are at their highest and are not subjected to chemicals, gasses and waxes to withstand long travels. Local farmers are also able to offer more varieties meaning more diversity of nutrients while food coming from a distance needs to be a hardy variety to withstand the bumps and bruises of traveling. I know one of my favorite meals, breakfast hash, tastes so much better when the potatoes, peppers and eggs are harvested from only a few yards away instead of 1,000 miles.
Buying local can be great for you and the environment by reducing the carbon footprint of not having food traveling long distances. If you haven’t tried your farmers market I encourage you to check it out! You might enjoy your fruits and vegetables so much more when you can taste the freshness.