We just keep on growing, so it’s fitting to welcome this very special new guest. Elizabeth Almeida is founder of organic vegetable farm Fat Moon, and the Center for Healthy Living and Learning. Her passion for helping folks untangle their way to health is just what the doctor ordered!
The weather is turning warm, the farmers markets are starting and you may feel inspired to cook fresh, local foods. But on a visit to the farmers market or farmstand, you may be disappointed that you can’t find your summer favorites of sweet corn, tomatoes, or cucumbers. This, my friends, is where your commitment to start eating locally and seasonally may come undone.
Let me give you the inside scoop from your local farm so you know how to spot local produce.
What can you expect to find? Spring peas are abundant right now – both shell peas and pea pods. Expect to pay a higher price than the grocery store – picking them is laborious and labor isn’t cheap in Massachusetts.
The spring greens season is wrapping up. Lettuce & spinach prefer to grow in cool weather. Look for greens, like lettuce, that you can eat fresh & raw, and look for hearty greens that can be steamed, sautéed, or tossed into soup, such as kale and collard greens. Both raw and cooked greens have tremendous health benefits and should be a part of your daily diet. Expect locally grown greens to taste fresher and last longer in your fridge, but eat them quickly! Quality and nutritional content can deteriorate with storage.
Early root crops that do well in the cool, spring weather include beets, radishes, kohlrabi, and turnips. They have a distinct crispness when grown in the spring and eaten fresh.
And strawberries…pause to hear the angels to sing!!! These are in season in the month of June and the flavor of fresh, local strawberries is enough to make you stock up your freezer and swear off California strawberries forever.
What should you question? The fields are full, but we have few ‘fruit’ crops. For crops to bear fruit, the plant first has to flower and be pollinated. These include tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, cucumbers, beans, corn, squash, and a few others. So, if you see these at a local farmstand, look closely at the signs & labels. If your farmer is well equipped, she may have produced those in a greenhouse. Otherwise, they are probably being shipped from a far away land.