One of the most important things you can do to limit your stress on the environment is to change the way you eat and the first step in changing your diet is to start eating only what is native and in season for your region. By doing this, you limit the resources spent transporting fruits and vegetables from other parts of the world and develop a diet that makes the most of fresh, local fruits and vegetables. You’ll end up supporting local farmers, too!
There are plenty of resources online (such as OurOhio.org) for finding lists of native and seasonal foods. So, you can do a quick internet search, or you can take advantage of your local farmers’ markets where local vendors will be selling the things they’ve grown right in your own backyard. Most farmers’ markets continue well into the fall. These local farmers are, perhaps, your best resource for information about seasonal produce. And you will be surprised by the fruits and vegetables they offer!
In the Ohio River Valley, you will be able to find high-quality, local apples, cauliflower, kale, peppers, pumpkins, raspberries, squash, and tomatoes through the end of October and maybe even into November. You might think this menu sounds limiting, but it doesn’t need to be. Throughout the rest of the year, you can do what many of the farmers themselves do and preserve as many fruits and vegetables as you can so that you can pull them out and eat them whenever you want! Invest in a few simple tools for canning or dehydrating produce and you’ll never feel limited by buying only what is in season. You can enjoy your preserved green beans, berries, tomatoes, and corn months after all the local produce has dried up for the winter.
Do your body, and the planet, a favor and learn to adjust your diet to the changing seasons. It will keep you healthy, keep your cooking menu creative, and support local farmers and farmers’ markets.
Contributed by Liz McEwan, Event Coordinator