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Summer's Bounty

Tomorrow is the first day of summer for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. Living at an altitude of 8,000 feet means summer always takes a bit longer to start for me, so I'm excited for the warm days ahead.


One of the great things about this time of year is the availability of fresh, locally-grown produce. There's nothing more satisfying and delicious as picking a fruit or vegetable and eating it in that moment. Maybe you have a garden in your backyard and can relate. Cherry tomatoes fresh off the vine, warm from the sun, taste like summer to me.


Even if you don't have your own garden, this is the time of year that farmers' markets are popping up, and many local farms offer Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares. Find a CSA in your area at Local Harvest.


The difference in the flavor of locally-grown produce is noticeable. Not only that, produce is more nutritious and higher in antioxidants, vitamins, folate, and carotenes when picked at the peak of natural harvest. When you buy produce that's out of season, it usually has to travel from far away, meaning fruits and veggies are picked before they're ripe, and they start losing nutrients from the moment of harvest.


Not only do you benefit from better flavor and nutritional content, buying locally-grown foods is more affordable, because you're buying produce that's at the peak of its supply when it's easy to grow and harvest. An additional benefit is supporting your community. For example, when you buy strawberries from a farm in your town, that money gets reinvested into your local economy, keeping it healthy and thriving.


Eating seasonally is also more sustainable. When fruits and vegetables are forced to grow outside their natural seasons, farmers use chemicals and other methods to ensure that out-of-season harvests meet the cosmetic standards that consumers expect. That produce also has to travel long distances, contributing to green house gas emissions.


In his book The 3-Season Diet, John Douillard writes about how eating the foods that nature provides seasonally can create the best diet for balancing weight, mood, and energy. The book also includes a meal plan for each season, food lists, and recipe suggestions.


If you're interested in adding more plant-based foods to your diet and would like support, check out Firefly's Whole Foods for Whole Health coaching program.

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