BENEFITS OF EATING LOCAL & IN-SEASON + AN EASY & DELISH SEASONAL RECIPE
THE RECIPE: END OF SUMMER SALAD (Serves 4-6)
This is a fast, easy crowd pleaser that takes advantage of the bursting flavors found in fresh, local, seasonal produce. We're lucky enough to have a nice long stone-fruit season in California, but if you're no longer seeing peaches at your farmers market or grocery store, you can sub any tender-flesh fruit. Enjoy this delightful salad and don't forget to read on to the benefits of eating local and in-season below the recipe!
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
For the Salad: I suggest going organic on all these ingredients if possible, as most are members of the "Dirty Dozen," which means when conventionally grown they're known to be very high in pesticide residue.
- 6 Cups washed & dried arugula (I just use an entire pre-washed box from Whole Foods or Organic Girl)
- 2 ears of corn, cooked then sliced off the cob
- 2 peaches, pitted then chopped
- 1/2 Cup washed & dried blueberries
- 1 avocado, pitted then chopped
- Small handful fresh herbs, finely chopped (chives, parsley or basil are all excellent in this!)
For the Dressing:
- Juice of 3 limes
- 2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (I get mine at Trader Joe's)
- 2 Tablespoons local honey
- 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a high-speed blender, excluding salt and pepper. Blend on high for about 30 seconds until emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste and set dressing aside while you chop corn, peaches, avocado and herbs.
- Once all your salad ingredients are ready to go, toss them in a large serving bowl with the arugula and about 1/2 the dressing. Serve immediately.
Suggestions: Serve the extra dressing alongside the salad for those that like a heavy pour OR freeze in an ice cube tray for later use! Oh and this goes REALLY WELL with barbecued chicken!
THE FUNDAMENTAL: BENEFITS OF EATING LOCAL & IN-SEASON
Before we dig in, its important to point out that as in all areas of nutrition and lifestyle, my philosophy is to do your best and let that be good enough. We do NOT eat 100% local or 100% in-season in our house by any means, but we do the best we can to incorporate local seasonal produce and local food products as much as time, budget and availability allows. So why should you give local and seasonal a shot?
- BIGGER FLAVOR: Let's be honest, this is up top because taste is what got me into this whole seasonal thing in the first place. I mean come on! Why have bland when you can have spectacular?! Have you noticed that greenhouse berries from New Zealand in the winter are just kind of "meh" but local farm fresh berries in the summer are like an explosion of flavor? It's not all in your head. Produce that has been ripened naturally and picked recently has more intense flavor and....
- MORE NUTRIENTS: Fruits and veggies start to lose nutrients as soon as they're picked so if they're getting shipped across the country or the world, they're just not packing as much power as they were days or weeks ago when they were picked. Bummer, eh? I wish we could all have gardens in our back yards, but since that isn't likely in the foreseeable future, the next best thing you can do is hit the farmers market or join a CSA (community supported agriculture) to get the freshest possible stuff! You can also ask the produce staff which suppliers are local at your regular grocer.
- BETTER VARIETY: Eating the same thing all year long is boring. And unfulfilling. A great way to keep your palate happy AND your body healthy is to allow the seasons to influence what you put on your plate. This way you get a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals while treating your tastebuds to the variety that is so important for satiety.
- MONEY money money moneyyyyy. MO-NEY! Yup, local and seasonal is often cheaper. Seasonal goods are more abundant (think supply and demand) AND you're not paying for the shipping, storage, cooling, etc thats involved in getting your mangos from Costa Rica. They do have some amazing mangos down there though. Not gonna lie.
- GREEN MACHINE: Buying local, which usually means seasonal, reduces your carbon footprint. This is a controversial one, since we all know the benefits of a global economy, BUT think about all the energy and fuel that goes into shipping tons of Whole Trade bananas from Columbia to Boston year-round. That is one helluva carbon footprint. Insert monkey emoji with hands over eyes here.
So, what are your favorite ways to incorporate local and seasonal goodies into your diet?