Flavors of Fall ~ Eat local, eat fresh!

I would like to point out a fact today that, though it is obvious to me, bears repeating; Fresh produce is better. It is healthier. It tastes better. There are no unidentifiable ingredients. If you have dietary concerns and restrictions, you are in control of the preparation. And perhaps best of all, there is no getting bored with eating the same old thing because the seasons rotate the flavors for you. Thank you Mother Nature!

Fresh produce is better. Sure, produce is canned, frozen, and packaged for convenience, then sold in grocery stores to busy people who trust that they are buying something good. There are ‘flavors’ and preservatives added to make sure that when you prepare it, it is safe to eat and has ‘good taste.’ I have purchased my share of pre-packaged foods, but my journey has taken me to more and more fresh and healthy foods in my kitchen. If you don’t know where to start, I have a number of thoughts for you today.

  • Search “seasonal produce” on your favorite search engine. Look at a few of the choices and find one you think is the most user friendly. If you add the word ‘chart’ you will get quick and easy guides. These sites will ask where you live as growing seasons change with location.
  • Watch for the changes in your local grocery store’s produce department. There will be some ebb and flow in the abundance of items. There will also be sales as particular produce approaches end of season. Oh, and ask. Talk to the people who work in the produce department. They will help you out and answer questions for you.
  • Yes, there is an app for that! I have an app on my Smartphone that gives me seasonal produce information. Since my phone has a gps locator, it reads my location and determines the information for where I live. It also has a glossary of produce with photos so that I know what I am looking at and how to choose what is fresh. All of that is right in my phone so I can check quickly at the store or farm market.
  • Farmers’ Markets are the very best way to get seasonal produce. With my daughter Tammy’s prodding, I began a journey last winter to explore the goodness in my own backyard. She helped me find a number of local restaurants and stores, but also coaxed me into visiting local farmers’ markets. I found that they were wonderful and that it was fun to go and pick my own fresh produce and talk to the vendors. I also found other treasures, such as a local coffee roaster, a lovely woman who makes her own jams, and local honey!
  • Grow something yourself. I suggest this with caution. I have no experience in this department but I have friends with gardens that produce their favorites. Find a local Agway, Southern States, or similar lawn and garden shop. The good folks there will help you buying the tools you will need and offer help with local growing seasons. Me? I have a black thumb. I will leave growing to the pros!

I am sorry to see the tastes of summer go, but the flavors of fall are already plentiful. I have begun to enjoy apples and Brussels sprouts. I am looking forward to mashed cauliflower, butternut squash soup, and so many delicious roasted root vegetables. I will be buying and sharing with you. So get ready to jump in with me. Explore your fresh local seasonal produce. And if you want to see how simple these preparations can be, join me back here and get ready to cook!