We walk in to the doctor’s office and read about achieving optimum health in the magazines.
The ads on television are talking about it; politicians are making speeches about staying healthy. A consistent topic is our diets and watching what we eat. Here in the Hudson Valley we have the bounty of our area to nourish us and to bring us good health. It’s like taking the farms and putting them on our plates.
The season runs from around May to the end of November. During this time, if we shop at local markets, we can see the changes in our produce matching the changes of our seasons. Think of asparagus, an early spring sprouting vegetable that is the first to hit the farm stands. Sprouted herbs are also a common spring sight. We get the chance to ingest the young, new growth of spring. In the summer we see berries and succulent juicy fruits thatcool us and keep us going. Then in November we see heartier vegetables like pumpkins and squash. They are warm and hearty foods to warm us and prepare us for the colder months ahead.
"There’s no coincidence—nature knows best. If people eat in-season and locally there is a reduced risk for heart diseases, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and some cancers."
Choosing to eat more local foods does not require alot of effort. We have numerous farm stands, farmers’ markets, and CSAs (community supported agriculture) to guide us. Start with foods you know, then ask questions to learn more about the abundance of food choices growing in our area.
Summer in the Hudson Valley is a perfect time to become a locally grown, healthier you. Connect with the food source and local growers to learn about their practices. Get out to our local grocers and spend more time at our farmers’ markets. Each market has its own charm and offers its local produce and home goods. You can pick from various seasonal produce and even local honey, maple syrup and jams, free range, hormone-free meats, homemade baked goods, pickled vegetables, herbs, eggs, specialty cheeses, and many other high quality items.
I can’t express the difference enough between savoring a local plump blueberry, bursting in my mouth, versus a blueberry that I might find at the store from Chile. The long journey that some foods take diminishes the nutritional value. Local blueberries are a part of the nature around me, that I see every day—the same recycled country air and sunlight.
Farmers’ markets are found in most areas, somewhere close to your community. It’s a perfect start to a day, meeting up with friends and making new ones. Bringing the children can help them benefit by learning more about sustainable living. Help them on their way to understanding good health, growth, and community-based support for local business. It has been proven that a child who sees where food comes from and who assists a parent with healthy food choices can make him or her think twice about always going for that cheeseburger with fries.
One simple lifestyle change can really make a big difference for your family’s and your health. And it’s delicious too.