It’s time to tuck away your cold weather gear and celebrate springtime in Northern California. A new season and an unmatched growing climate brings loads of local fresh food options your way. Kick-off the season with a quick exploration of the Northern Coast Grower’s Association website. It has tons of tips about what’s in-season, where to find it and how to use it. There are also ample recipes that utilize in-season local veggie varieties. Food Geeks is also a good resource to explore what you might find when you venture out to local farmers’ markets.
Fresh vegetables you might see right now at markets can include, but are not limited to:
Fruits you’ll encounter include:
There are many health-minded reasons to eat local fresh produce. The less distance a vegetable travels, the less of a need there is for it to be treated with fungicides, preservatives or chemicals. In addition, local produce requires little transport, which means less fuel is used getting it from the farm to your table. There is also more of a chance the food you buy has been picked at the peak of freshness. The nutrients in produce start to fade after picking. In addition, buying locally often means you can converse with the grower directly and ask details about whether or not the produce is organic or genetically modified.
So, get thee to the farmer’s market. You’ve got cooking (and eating) to do!
Here are 2 winning recipes that draw on local in-season produce.
1) A simple Beet Salad with Walnuts and Goat Cheese.
It calls for beets, which are rich in iron, Vitamin C, potassium, folate and magnesium, and arugula, otherwise known as “rocket plant.” Arugula is full of nutrients like protein, copper, calcium, iron, Vitamins C & K, fiber and more. Local goat cheese can also be found fresh around here this time of year according to Northern California CUESA.
2) Kunde Family Winery’s Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Toasted Walnuts and Balsamic Vinaigrette.The second recipe comes from a Sonoma winery (day-trip?!) and incorporates local fresh vegetables and fruit. Both your body and your taste buds will thank you. Spinach is full of nutrients like folate, Vitamins K, A and B, magnesium, copper, potassium, phosphorous and fiber. Strawberries have their fair share of magnesium, folate, iron, copper fiber, Vitamins C, E, and K.
Check out the CUESA recipe page for more ideas. Cook-up some farm-fresh produce in your own kitchen - it doesn’t get more local (or healthier) than that!