Why Does It Matter?
Eating locally supports local agriculture, requires the use of less energy to transport food, fosters a sense of community, makes less waste and it is better for you. So, if you are working on being a locavore (someone who makes an effort to eat food that is grown, raised or produced locally), it really helps to have a plan. Whether you are a Farmers’ Market newbie or a well-seasoned veteran, we have the low-down on what you can expect to find in-season and when in Indiana. That way, you can get to work planning on how to best take advantage of this year’s Farmers’ Markets right here in Hendricks County!
What Should You Do?
This guide will allow you to know when you can find your family’s favorites and also when the season will wane (this is when you can get the best deal on bulk purchases to preserve). We will focus on the local favorites…
· Strawberries and Blackberries – Don’t wait! These delicious little beauties are ready in June. Look for shiny, brightly colored fruits that are fragrant.
· Lettuce and Other Greens – An excellent source of vitamin A and beta carotenes, high in antioxidants and easy to prepare, greens are ready in June. Be sure to eat them soon after purchase for the best flavor.
· Peas and Cauliflower – Homegrown varieties are sweet and lovely. Eat these raw, cook them right away or freeze them for later. They are available throughout June and into July.
· Potatoes, Broccoli, Carrots, Cherries, Apricots, Cabbage, Blueberries and Beets – Farmers’ Markets have all kinds of varieties to choose from. Step out of your comfort zone and try something new. You will find all of these available beginning in mid to late June and continuing into July.
· Beans, Cucumbers, Melons, Sweet Corn, Peppers, Squash and Tomatoes – Jackpot! All of these wonderful local favorites are ripe at about the same time. Mid-July through August is when you can expect to be able to feast on this bounty.
Now that you know when to find your favorites, you might be looking for some recipes. Check out the following books: “Fresh From the Farmers’ Market” by Janet Fletcher and “The Feast Nearby” by Robin Mather. These are great reads that include some recipes for all of those local finds.
Also, don’t be afraid to take advantage of being able to ask the farmers you purchased your produce from for their advice. Very often, they can provide you with recipes and tips for preparing and preserving their harvest.
Next month we’ll share ways to effectively manage yard waste—everything from grass clippings and brush to leaves and firewood. See you then!