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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

‘Tis the Season for Local Produce

May 25, 2017 12:22PM
by Rachel Feidelman
While it’s all too easy to stop by a grocery chain and pick up any kind of produce year-round, taking the extra time to go to a local farmers’ market and purchasing fruits and vegetables seasonally can really pay off. Seasonally grown foods taste better, contains more nutrients, benefits the environment and helps grow and support local economies.

Finding a variety of locally grown produce is difficult during the winter, this is a much more realistic possibility of doing so in the warmer months. Here is a list of some seasonal fruits and vegetables in the D.C. area that may not come to mind right away, and a few easy ways to incorporate them into any summer diet (see below for the recipes):

Garlic: Instead of purchasing store-packaged garlic seasoning, try something new this summer by investing in a fresh clove. Fresh garlic is a great addition to any dinner to give it some extra flavor, whether it be pasta, meat, vegetables or really anything. Beans are in season during June, July and August as well, so one great recipe to make the most of this summer is a homemade garlic rosemary hummus. This light and fresh dip would be perfect for a picnic or as a quick grab-and-go snack.

Kale: Kale has been classified as one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world, and it’s a perfect thing to stock up on over the summer when it’s in prime growing season. Aside from having over 100 percent of the minimum daily recommended amounts of vitamins A, K and C, kale is low and calories and can be very tasty if prepared correctly. If you’re looking to switch up your breakfast routine, try making ricotta, kale and mushroom toast. This combination of flavors is great if you have a sophisticated palate, it is quick to make and jam-packed with health benefits.

Plums: Though most people see plums as a snack to bite into, they can also be incorporated in a wide variety of meals and desserts to give a pop of flavor. If you’re looking for a simple summer treat, plum smoothie popsicles are a great option, and this recipe only requires four additional ingredients. These pops are perfect for cooling down in the heat if you’re looking for a more health-conscious alternative to ice cream. Plus, plums are low in calories and contain no saturated fats.

Along with these items, dozens more are currently in season, including collards, tomatoes, watermelon, blackberries, cucumber, carrots, squash, blueberries, raspberries, onions and more. Over the course of the next few months, stop by a local market, pick up any of these fruits or vegetables and taste the difference yourself.

Rachel Feidelman is a student at the University of Maryland, studying journalism and economics. She is also an editorial intern with Natural Awakenings DC.

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Recipes:

Garlic Rosemary Hummus (from AdventuresInCooking.com)
    • 3 15 oz cans garbonzo beans, drained and rinsed
    • 7 cloves of garlic, peeled
    • 1 cup olive oil
    • ¼ cup water
    • ¼ cup lemon juice
    • 1 Tbsp vinegar
    • ¾ tsp salt
    • ½ tsp pepper
    • 3 Tbsp fresh rosemary
Blend all ingredients together in a blender or food processor until relatively smooth. Serve immediately and refrigerate any leftovers.

Ricotta, Kale and Mushroom Toast (adapted from BonAppetit.com) (quantities to taste)

      • wild mushrooms
      • garlic
      • olive oil
      • kale
      • fresno chili
      • white wine vinegar
      • salt and pepper
      • ricotta
      • country-style bread
Cook wild mushrooms and sliced garlic in olive oil, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp. Add torn kale leaves and sliced Fresno chili (seeded for less heat) and cook, tossing, until kale is wilted; season with white wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Season ricotta with salt and pepper and spread onto toasted country-style bread; spoon mushroom-kale mixture on top.

Plum Smoothie Popsicles (from CountryLiving.com)

        • ¼ cup sugar
        • 1 Tbsp corn syrup
        • 1 lb assorted plums
        • 8 tsp fresh lime juice
        • 6 oz plain yogurt
Bring the sugar, corn syrup and ¼ cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and cool. Puree the plums, cooled syrup and lime juice until smooth. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds, leaving about ½ inch at the top, as the mixture will expand when it freezes. Follow popsicle mold manufacturer's instructions and freeze until solid—about 4 hours.

 

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