We are fortunate enough to live in a province that has a huge variety of local foods produced by local farmers. The fruit season in BC is under way with cherries coming out shortly followed by peaches, nectarines, blueberries…the list goes on and on. Buying local produce has many benefits to the customer, community, and environment.
Going to your local produce market may have more impact than you think. On average food travels 1,200 km from farm to plate(1). This is a huge impact on the environment. The produce is usually harvested before it is ripe so that it is ready once it is in stores. On the journey sugars turn to starches, plant cells shrink, and plants lose their vitality. On the other hand, local farmers markets have fresh produce and they are close by. If they are close by you can easily walk or decrease driving time (less emissions) to create a healthier environment. Shopping locally and driving less is not just great for our environment, it is great for our health. Walking to local markets or going to U-Pick Farms increases our daily physical activity. Local produce is harvested at the appropriate time, making it more nutritious. Studies have found that red peppers, tomatoes, apricots, peaches and papayas contain higher amounts of vitamin C when picked ripe from the plant, than when they are picked early and allowed to ripen during shipping(2). So what are you waiting for? Check out your local markets and support BC farmers!
If you don’t know what produce is in season or where to find them in your neighbourhood you should check out the free ‘We ♥ Local’ BC app for smartphones. In the meantime here is a list of some farmers markets that are open weekends in the lower mainland until October: Trout Lake, Riley Park, Main St Station, Mount Pleasant, Coquitlam, Royal City Market, and Burnaby Artisan Farmer’s Market. Follow the link for more details: http://eatlocal.org
Here is a preview of what fruits you can expect throughout the summer:
Cherries- They are a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C(3), and powerful antioxidants.
Blueberries- They are a good source of Dietary Fiber, and a very good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Manganese, and other antioxidants (anthocyanins)(3).
Peaches-They are a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and a very good source of Vitamin C(3).
Nectarines- They are a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin C and Potassium(3).
Don’t forget to try the Salal Berry this summer! For more info on this nutrition powerhouse see our ‘March Food Madness’ newsletter.
2. Lee, SK, Kader, AA. Preharvest and postharvest factors influencing vitamin C content of horticultural crops. Postharvest Biol Technol. 2000; 20: 207–220.