Have you ever noticed that your body craves different foods during certain times of the year?
During the winter our bodies crave heavier foods like soups, grains, and starchy vegetables. Springtime is when your body is ready to clear out the heavy and rich foods from the winter. It’s a time for renewal, to feel refreshed, and to feel lighter. During Spring and Summer, the body naturally craves light and refreshing foods like fresh fruit, vegetables, salads and smoothies.
One of the best ways to discover which foods are ‘in season’ is to go to your local Farmer’s Market. Eating seasonally helps you to stay aligned with nature and not so coincidentally also helps you to eat the foods that your body is craving. By eating produce that is in season, you get the maximum nutrient density from your fruits and vegetables. Additionally, the price of produce significantly decreases when you eat seasonally because there is an excess amount of produce available.
One of the best parts of shopping at Farmer’s Markets is that you get to taste the produce before you buy it. This is a great opportunity to try new fruits and vegetables that you might not have tried before. Getting variety with your produce will help to get a wide array of nutrients instead of eating the same foods over and over again.
Top 5 Farmer’s Market Picks
To help guide you with spring and summer produce, here are the top five Farmer’s Market picks:
Artichokes are best known for their anti-oxidant properties. Studies show that the polyphenols in artichokes contain anti-cancer properties.
To best prepare artichokes, you’ll want to boil them first and then put them on the grill.
If you are used to adding a mayonnaise dipping sauce, make sure to upgrade to a high-quality mayonnaise like the Avocado oil mayo from Primal Kitchen. Otherwise, you can make a citrus, olive oil and mustard dipping sauce for a lighter option. Another way to eat artichokes is to chop up some artichoke hearts and put them in a salad.
During the spring and summer, there are many different types of lettuce that are available such as mixed greens, bib lettuce, and spinach. As a general rule of thumb, the darker greens (mixed greens, arugula, spinach) contain more nutrients than lighter greens (romaine, iceberg lettuce). A great way to use this fresh lettuce is in a summer salad. Adding fruit like strawberries or orange slices to a salad is always a pallet pleaser.
This is a wonderful brightening ingredient for the spring and summer. A simple way to use lemon is to add a few slices to your water to give a refreshing flavor. Adding lemon juice as a secret ingredient when cooking helps to bring out even more flavor from the ingredients. You can also add lemon juice to salad dressings and soups.
They are rich in the anti-oxidant called Betanin. They are a root vegetable that have an earthy and sweet flavor profile. This root vegetable can be consumed cooked or raw. A classic preparation for beets is to roast them in the oven and peel them. They can also be eaten raw, either shredded or sliced thinly, and incorporated into a salad.
5. Green Peas
These are a classic springtime addition to dishes like frittatas and salad. They add a wonderful starchy and sweet flavor to meals or when eaten on their own. Green peas contain two antioxidants, Lutein and Zeaxanthin, that are both known for improving eye health. Make sure to try them while they are in season!
Here is a recipe using all of our favorite Farmer’s Market picks:
Farmer’s Market Salad
This salad is a great starter or a side for an outdoor summer dinner.
- 3 cups mixed green lettuce
- 1 cup peeled and shredded beets
- 4 artichoke hearts, chopped
- 1 cup cooked green peas
- 1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Optional: Add a piece of grilled wild salmon or halibut to make a complete dish.
Mix all salad ingredients together in a large bowl. In a separate container, mix all of the ingredients for the dressing. Pour dressing over salad.
Make sure to head out to a local Farmer’s Market over the weekend to see what’s fresh and what’s new. These five top picks are just a few of many delicious produce options available. Enjoy the seasonal bounty that spring and summer have to offer!
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