Seasonal Fruits and Veggies

Scenes from the May Day Celebration at the West Broad Farmers Market on W Broad Street in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, May 4, 2019. The event kicked off the the market's 2019 season, and included vendors, food, live music, demonstrations, and the wrapping of the May Pole. (Photo/Caroline Barnes, http://carolinembarnes.wixsite.com/photography)

In the age of supermarkets and mass storage, not many people consider eating seasonal foods anymore. However, there are multiple benefits to thinking about what you put in your shopping cart each season. Fresh food, in season, tends to have much more flavor than those out of season. Additionally, it is better for both your pocket and the environment. The most sustainable way to get quality fruits and vegetables is to go to your local farmers markets: Athens and West Broad.

Cantaloupe

July through August

Though the cantaloupe served during the school year at UGA’s dining halls may not look too appealing, you should give this nutritious fruit a chance during its prime season. The orange-fleshed melon is packed with beta carotene, an antioxidant that is converted into vitamin A in the body. This essential vitamin is important for eye health and a strong immune system. As The Wiggles once said, “Chop up some melons and put them on your plate.”

Okra

May through October

This versatile vegetable can sneak its way into many colorful summertime dishes. Okra is filled with fiber, which helps promote healthy digestion. It is also a decent source of non-dairy calcium — one serving of 100g is about 8% of your daily value when eaten with foods high in vitamin D. Try roasting or grilling this vegetable for a healthy alternative to fried okra.

Peaches

May through August

This juicy fruit is equally as good eaten fresh and chilled after a day outside or baked in a pie after dinner. Peaches are not only tasty both raw and cooked but are also loaded with nutrients, including potassium. At about 11% of a woman’s daily potassium value, it’s a good idea to snack on a peach after exercise to prevent muscle cramps. After all, we are in the peach state … when in Rome!

Summer Squash

May through October

Not to be confused with winter squash, this nutritional powerhouse can be sauteed, roasted or grilled to be thrown into almost any summer dish. It is packed with various vitamins as well as folate, magnesium, fiber, riboflavin and potassium. Summer squash is also high in manganese which is good for bone strength as well as processing carbohydrates and fats.

Strawberries

April through June

These delicious summer berries are great sources of vitamin C, a nutrient that is important for healthy skin and a strong immune system. They are also full of folate — also known as vitamin B9 — which aids in tissue growth and cell function. Make sure you take a trip to Washington Farms to pick fresh strawberries, as this is will be their last strawberry-picking season.

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