I ran across this mantra on Pinterest which led me to a great article over at Mother Earth Living – “The Benefits of Eating Locally Grown, Seasonal Food.” Tabitha Alterman brings up some great (and often overlooked) benefits of eating locally grown produce. Not only are you helping farmers in your own communities, but you’re also reaping increased nutritional benefits. According to the Alterman, “most fruits and vegetables reach their nutritional peak around the same time they are harvested.” Let that sink in for a second as you wonder how long ago that imported peach you just ate was picked.
In Cleveland, we have unbelievable (year-round) access to a plethora of fresh, local food options including the legendary West Side Market. Check out Local Food Cleveland for a list of farmers’ markets and CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) available throughout Northeast Ohio.
Here’s a useful produce seasonality chart from Sirna & Sons Produce (NEO local!):
As for spicing things up…
Why not discover a new Asian or Middle Eastern seasoning at the West Side Market?
Or stop by Penzey’s Spices just across the street?
Adding herbs and spices not only enhances flavor, but can also provide various health benefits. Basil, paprika, and oregano are rich in antioxidants. Ginger is known to combat nausea. Cinnamon can help the body process sugar and cholesterol. Crushed red pepper contains capsaicin, which reduces pain and inflammation and helps improve blood flow (source). And these are just to name a few!
So, why not get more bang for your buck and maximize your nutritional and health benefits from the foods you eat?? If it almost sounds too easy, it’s because IT IS.