The Bounty of Carroll County Summer Produce

The official start to summer is just a week away. On June 21, the summer solstice, we enjoy the most daylight of the calendar year. The sun reaches its most northern point in the sky at noon, and there are plenty of warm days ahead for the sun to provide the needed energy for local fruits and vegetable to flourish!

You can support your local farms by purchasing locally grown seasonal fruit and vegetables from farmers markets. They often have dairy products, meats, poultry and baked goods available as well.

Seasonal summer produce consists of many delicious and nutritious fruits, including apples, cantaloupes, melons, nectarines, peaches and watermelons, and vegetables including cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, corn, arugula, beets, lettuce, squash, tomatoes, green beans, soybeans (edamame), sugar snap peas, radishes, potatoes and zucchini. These fruits and vegetables are good sources of nutrients, such as Vitamins A, C and K, and minerals, such as potassium and calcium, fiber and phytonutrients.

Vitamins and minerals are considered essential nutrients because they perform many vital functions in the body. They are required for bone and tissue development, wound healing and metabolism, and they bolster your immune system in addition to countless other functions. They also convert food into energy and repair and prevent cell damage.

Fat-soluble vitamins (Vitamin A, D, E and K) are stored by our bodies in the liver and fat tissue. Water soluble (B Vitamins) are not stored in the body, so it is important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. Eating fruits and vegetables when in season and readily available is the most economical way to obtain adequate nutrients.

Raw or cooked fruits are a refreshing snack any time of year. Vegetables are versatile and can be enjoyed in salads or sandwich raw, sautéed or roasted. Take advantage of the warm weather by grilling fruits and veggies. It is an easy and fun way to cook the summer harvest!

Looking for a place to get locally grown fruits and vegetables? The Carroll Hospital Farmers Market opens on Thursday, June 21 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and will be open each week throughout the summer!

In addition to our farmers market, use these resources to find local produce year-round:

https://www.localharvest.org/westminster-md/csa

http://carrollgrown.org/farmers-markets/

http://www.carrollcountyfarmersmarket.com/Carrollcountyfarmersmarket_2016_dates.html

Barb Walsh is the community nutrition educator in the Tevis Center for Wellness.

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