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Local Food is good for your HEALTH!

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This time of year it is important to GATHER YOUR FUEL for the fall & winter seasons locally!

To me there's nothing better than knowing that the food we feed our family is healthy, wholesome and is grown with care. It's even better knowing we've got an entire freezer full of it for the whole winter! We try to freeze and preserve as much as we can at this time of year...and you can too if you start planning now!

At this latitude our summer growing season is shorter and although the Fall Equinox doesn’t occur until September 22nd now is the time to begin preparing if you haven’t already.

Rick with Corn

Healthy eating will undoubtedly improve your overall health, help you benefit much more from your exercise, will reduce frequency of sickness, reduce injury from physical activity or slipping on the ice this winter! It will give you more energy so that even during those cold, dreary days you will have the energy to rock your day and your workout! Healthy eating is more than just shopping the outside perimeter of the grocery store and eating less refined foods. I believe it’s about an emotional connection with food, an understanding of it and where it comes from. It’s about accessing local, whole foods that are truly more nutritious, delicious, enjoyable, plentiful and more affordable because they are in season! It’s more fun to know more about the food you eat!

Don’t miss the boat again. I’ve heard it before …”I wish I would have stocked up”

We are in the midst of the greatest time of year for stocking up on awesome quality local food so you can stay healthy and prepared all winter long!

The desire to be healthy is useless without taking action, making a commitment and doing some work to prepare!

I highly recommend that you visit your local farmers market in the next couple weeks and connect with your local food producers. Take your family out to a U-Pick and get your hands in the dirt and show the kids how food is really produced. Food production is often a scary mystery for many people and that’s a shame when there’s so darn many awesome local food producers just out your back door!

So, why not just do nothing and get all your fruits and veggies from the grocery store all winter long? Well, there are many benefits to buying local. Here are just a few.

Health Benefits of Local Food

  • Fresh – usually within 1-2 days from picking/harvesting
  • Taste – huge difference in eating quality, flavor, texture, varieties, etc.
    • This is because vegetables are able to fully mature before they are harvested, allowing them to use key nutrients and obtain flavor that is otherwise gone.
  • *Many varieties of fruits and vegetables found in grocery stores are bred to be suitable for travelling long distances – not for nutritional quality & flavor
  • Better quality – fresh food has higher nutrient content, especially from black soil zone and when ripened in cool temperatures (Sweet Corn, Root Vegetables)
    • Produce such as broccoli, green beans, kale, red peppers, tomatoes, apricots and peaches are susceptible to nutrient loss when harvested and transported from longer distances over longer periods of time, while those that are heartier such as apples, oranges, grapefruit and carrots keep their nutrients even if they travel long distances.
  • “Greener” - less packaging & freight Promotes Sustainable Farming Practices
  • Fewer chemicals – when you buy direct from your farmer you can talk to them about their production practices. You can’t do that at a grocery store!
  • Most small farmers do not use GMO seeds, herbicides or chemical fertilizers. If they do they are usually transparent about it.
  • Irradiation – non-organic fruits, vegetables and grains get irradiated before crossing borders. Local and organic produce does not cross borders.
  • Supports your Community and Neighbours - keep $ in community instead of it going to an international corporation
  • Community Focused
  • Better Prices - Direct Marketing – There is no middle man (Grocery Store)
  • End of season deals for bulk (beets, kale, potatoes, corn, etc)

Want some tips on storing veggies for winter?

My favorite locally produced veggies in southern & central Alberta:

  • Sweet Corn
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Beets
  • Kale
  • Green/Yellow Beans – blanche, drain, freeze
  • Peas
  • Freezing:

  • Invest in a chest Freezer
  • Freezing is great to preserve nutritional value
  • Sweet Corn, Pumpkin
  • Beets – no blanching required
  • Canning:

  • Zucchini
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Drying:

  • Tomatoes
  • Apples
  • Cold Room or Refrigerator:

  • Pumpkins, Squash, Potatoes, Carrots (in a plastic bag)
  • Leave in the Ground all winter:

  • Parsnips
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