When we buy seasonal produce we enjoy better tasting fruits and veggies, maximize on nutrition, and save money!
One of the biggest concerns Joe and I had when switching to a healthier lifestyle was the cost of high-quality ingredients and organic produce. We thought buying “better-for-you” anything would affect our budget, and as new parents, that’s a scary thought.
Yes, healthier can mean expensive but it’s doesn’t have too. One trick I learned early on is to shop seasonally. Seasonal produce can be cheaper and healthier.
Why healthier? Because seasonal fruits and vegetables don’t go through lengthy transit times to get from the farm to your kitchen. Which means vitamins and minerals are more likely to be preserved by the time you’re ready to eat them.
Why cheaper? When fruits and veggies are in season, the farmers will most likely have an abundance of the crop and prices tend to do.
Next time you’re in the supermarket, check which produce are on sale, then compare it to your list of seasonal produce. See what I mean? J
Here’s a list of seasonal ingredients available in the New York metropolitan area this season. This includes: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and their principal cities. Make sure to check local listings for what’s growing in your area.
Seasonal Produce: Spring Guide
Peas: Peas are delicious and great for kids. Because peas tend to be sweet, they taste great in salads, pasta dishes or served as a side sautéed in olive oil and garlic. Carolina likes peas in her mac n cheese.
Carrots: Here’s a fun fact, did you know that “baby” carrots aren’t really baby carrots? They are regular carrots cut and shaped into bite-sized pieces! We’ve been fooled all these years! J
Rhubarb: I have to be honest, I have never cooked or baked with rhubarb. Have you? I have some recipe ideas I’d like to try this season and will report back.
Asparagus: April is peak asparagus season! Roast, grill, steam, or boil them.
Artichokes: Artichokes are in season during spring and fall. Look for artichokes that feel heavy when you pick them up, and whose petals (leaves) haven’t opened wide. Joe’s family stuffs them with breadcrumb, olive oil and garlic then bakes them. They are so delicious and fun to eat.
Fava beans: Fava beans are pretty amazing given the amount of nutrition they contain. In addition to being a lean protein choice with lots of fiber, fava beans contain vitamin K, vitamin B6, zinc, copper, iron, magnesium and more. To cook, toss with in avocado oil and season with salt and pepper. You can also mash them up and use as a spread. Anything goes!
Radishes: If you love radishes, spring is the time to buy them. Serve them thinly sliced in a salad or roast them and serve as a side dish. They are also delicious with butter and a sprinkle of salt.
Leeks, Spring Garlic, Spring Onions: Leeks grow in mounds of soil to keep their stalks white and not exposed to the sun, so smart! Use spring garlic and spring onions in recipes that call for regular garlic or onions.
Fennel: Slice raw fennel and toss with your favorite dressing. You can also roast fennel and serve it as a side dish. Fennel is one of the most widely used herbal plants. Fennel essential oil and all parts of the plant are used for cooking, baking and as medicine for over 40 types of disorders. Read more on the health benefits of fennel here
Where to buy Seasonal Produce:
Local online grocers: If you follow us on Instagram and Facebook you know we get our groceries delivered by a local, online grocer, Fresh Direct. Fresh Direct works with local farmers to bring us the best produce of the season. Unfortunately, Fresh Direct only services NYC. However, I encourage you to check your local listings for online grocers that offer locally sourced produce in your area.
Farmers Markets are a great place to shop for local produce and take advantage of special prices. Plus you can meet the farmers! Most farmers love talking about their harvest, offer samples of other produce they grow and share recipe tips which can be helpful especially if you’re not too familiar with the product. (joe and I like split up at the farmers market – I end up at the veggie and flower section while joe ends up chatting with the guys that make moon shine). J Make vising the Farmer’s Market a family affair. This is a great way to teach the kids about healthy eating. Carolina loves adding fruits and veggies into her bag and taking it to the check-out counter.
CSA (Community Supported Agriculture Program) or Farm Share: Farm shares are becoming quite popular (or at least popular for us). CSA or Farm Share commonly refers to a group whose members receive weekly shares of food from a certain farm (or groups of farms) in their region. Joe and just bought into a Spring Farm Share with Local Roots here in NYC. Our first produce box will be ready for pick up on next week. I’m excited to share with you what the farmers grew for us and how we incorporate it in our recipes.
I hope this guide is helpful and encourages you to eat seasonally as often as possible. Remember that a healthy lifestyle is the best gift you can give yourself and your family and trust me when I say it can be done. Healthy doesn’t have to be difficult, tasteless or expensive – it’s exactly the opposite and I will be here to help support your journey by offering helpful tips, seasonal guides and easy to follow recipes that you and the family can enjoy!
I’ll leave you with related links that incorporate seasonal produce. Hope they serve as inspiration!
Don’t forget to share your recipe photos by tagging them with the hashtag #OurFlipSideLife
Until next week, guys!